Added my review of J. B. MacKinnon’s The Once and Future World over at Good Reports. I’ve read (and reviewed) a lot of these enviro-warning books over the past ten years. A lot. Currently I’m reading Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything, which is very good but only adds to the pile. The problem seems pretty obvious though, and I’m not sure there are that many real “deniers” out there anyway. Everybody knows that our current way of life is unsustainable. It seems impossible for us to do anything about it though. Or perhaps it’s like knowing that cigarettes are killing you but smoking anyway. Cognitive dissonance. Either way, the result is the same, whether we’re talking about the environment or the economy. Here is the first sentence of Jeff Faux’s The Servant Economy:
Historians who look back to our time will surely conclude that our problem was not that we didn’t know where we were headed, it was that we didn’t act on what we knew.
The problem is always what to do. All of these books come with suggestions for change, but they are invariably the weakest and least convincing parts. It makes me wonder what would be best for us: a soft, slow landing or a sharp shock to the system? Neither appeals to me, but one or the other is inevitable.