The impact of human activity on earth’s ecosystems has been an issue for at least fifty years, but it is only recently that the magnitude of the problems we face have become appreciated outside of the scientific community.
Newspaper articles can be immensely confusing, with every week bringing conflicting stories about whether this or that problem is real, and whether this or that solution is going to fix everything or not.
On climate change we strongly recommend a short Penguin paperback called “How we can Save the Planet” by Mayer Hillman. Anyone who is serious about the future of humans on planet earth will probably want to own a copy. It costs £8.99.
Also highly relevant is George Monbiot’s book Heat, published by Penguin. It’s a bit more pricey at £17.99 but should be available from your local library. There’s a detailed review of the book in the Energy Bulletin.
If you are still at the stage of worrying that the notion of human-induced climate change may be just another armageddon myth designed by people who hate progress, then check out the following links and articles;
- modern temperature trends, comprehensive essay covering the cooling predictions of 1970s, Medieval Warming, and what the IPCC did to the hockey stick curve
- a page about ‘contrarians’ on Steven Schneider’s website
- a guide to facts and fictions summary by the Royal Society
If you have looked into the subject a bit, and are left wondering whether it is actually possible for a human population heading for 8.9 billion to live sustainably and peacefully on earth then you might want to read James Martin’s book The Meaning of the 21st Century. It’s 400 pages, attempts the ambitious task of looking at all the challenges facing humanity, and is surprisingly readable. You’re unlikely to agree with all of what Martin says but nevertheless it is highly informative. A paperback version is now available at £8.99. Martin’s conclusion is that the 21st century is make or break. Humankind is technically capable of looking after the planet and devoting itself to preventing war and building a rich cultural existance. The only question is will we?
If you want to find out more about peak oil, and what the implications are for future energy sources, then we recommend you to look at Richard Heinberg’s books, either The Party’s Over or Power Down. If you like technical information then look at The Oil Drum: Europe.
Many people say that action is pointless, that “people” will not be prepared to make any changes. But our experience is that once people are aware of just how real and serious the human damage to our environment really is, the only course of action that has any meaning is to get involved in making changes.
Perhaps the argument that change is pointless is just another form of denial. There is ample evidence that all but a tiny minority of human beings are altruistic in our behaviour given the right conditions. James Surowieki’s book ‘The Wisdom of Crowds’ gives fascinating information about this.
And remember, the only person who can change what you do is you – so what are you waiting for?
We are grateful to Sustainable Redland allowing us to make use of this page.