Kristiana's Reviews > Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America

Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman
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's review
May 14, 2010

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bookshelves: non-fiction
Read from May 10 to 14, 2010

"To talk about climate change is not to talk about politics."


I care deeply about the environment. I make changes to my life when I learn new things. I try hard to do my part, I don't try to assume that I can change people's minds, but I do what I can because of what I learn. Maybe I've gotten a little soft around the edges of my convictions, because I don't always try to recycle as much as I can. I don't want to be a burden to those around me. So how do I stop that kind of thinking?? Start listening to Hot, Flat and Crowded. I immediately had a renewed energy to be more annoying to those I live with, to learn more about recycling, to recycle EVERYTHING I can. Why put stuff in a landfill?? Why be lazy?

Overall this book lays out a compelling argument for America's need to change the way they view the environment and its resources. Friedman also explains why change is so hard to come by through legislation. He argues that in the long run being 'green' is the best option for everyone and that the cost now will outweigh the cost of running out of resources.

He discusses the need to bring electricity to Africa, but doing that will only increase the energy problem... He argues that it is unreasonable for us to try to limit other countries in their growth because of their cost on the environment when America has been able to grow without thinking of the consequences for years. All the more reason that America should focus its resources on the ever growing energy and resource problem that will arise as poorer nations join the 'flat' world increasing the environmental problems at hand.

Friedman's last argument compares the Civil Rights movement as an example of how Americans need to push politicians into action. He said we cannot be driven to too much despair or hope because both extremes will prevent us from acting to make a difference. '10 easy steps' to saving the planet isn't real change. The 'green' movement is really just a consumer ploy at the moment and we should really be trying to do as much as possible and not just the bare minimum.

It is a compelling argument, one I believe in, but it's still confusing where to start without becoming a lobbyist or working for the EPA.

My immediate reaction is to be saddened by all that is not being done and the 'everything will turn out okay' attitude some seem to have, but I am ultimately encouraged that change will eventually come, probably when it is too painful to avoid. I can continue setting my course in the direction I am challenged to go.

Good quotes:
"the future is with us, it's just not widely distributed yet"

"green is still an option, but not necessity"

"yes to wind turbines, but not in my back yard"

Personal implications of reading:

The book definitely renewed my theory of why have kids if we're slowly running out of natural resources and ice caps and fresh water dolphins' It sounds like a sci-fi movie where we must move to mars. Those aren't real options right now, and then we will just destroy that planet. I saw Pandorum and Wall-E, and I don't want to leave an unsustainable planet, or even house, to my pretend children.

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