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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An education and a necessary corrective, 17 Mar 2011
This review is from: Here on Earth: A New Beginning (Paperback)
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Reading the reviews to date, I'm somewhat intimidated by them, so much so that further comment might seem redundant, given their comprehensive nature.

I like the idea of mnemes, regardless of spelling, and I would suggest that this book ought to be required reading for every child over the age of 11, not just in the west, but anywhere the book can be distributed. This is also a book that ought to be read with Ian Morris "Why the West Rules" and Susan George's "Whose Crisis, Whose Future". Taken together these books make for a more unified narrative than can be expected of any one volume.

The spirit of optimism, the cornucopia of ideas, of possibilities, and the simple belief in our better selves, make this book a powerful antidote to many of the doomsayers and a very necessary corrective to the Darwin-Dawkins settlement. Having said that, we are running out of time, and just as power generation now and into the future needs to embrace a mix of fossil and nuclear fuels together with renewables, so any attempt to rein in existing environmental instabilities, needs to include and engage with techniques of population management as part of the mix. This appears to be one of the last great taboos in our society and we need to get over it and start to act. Tim Flannery speaks of a projected declining global population from 2050 onwards, yet acknowledges the uncertainties inherent in these projections. If the projections are wrong and there is no substantive change in human reproduction, world population will stand at a little over nine billion. Long before then, I would suggest that life as we know it, in the west, will have become largely untenable. To the extent that I have understood them, neither James Lovelock or Jared Diamond appear believe that we can emerge from the current situation with global civilisation intact. We have it seems, already run out of time, particularly with respect to the climate change tipping point.

Crucially, Tim Flannery scarcely takes account of both the power and the intellectual inertia of the people with the means to implement the many good ideas presented in the book, never mind the blind self-interest, outright hostility and determination to adhere to the winner takes all philosophy of this group. To all practical intents and purposes this includes bankers, the very rich and politicians, pretty much all of whom subscribe to various flavours of social Darwinism. Susan George is very strong on the influence of these groups and the global institutions that are their creatures, institutions that militate against a fairer, more equitable social paradigm for a global society.

As I suggested at the beginning, Flannery's ideas constitute a new and vital mneme in themselves and if we can introduce this book to the worlds children, they will be in a much stronger position to both influence and deal with the outcomes that inevitably lie ahead.
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Initial post: 16 Feb 2013 11:22:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 16 Feb 2013 12:01:15 GMT
Susan George's 'Whose crisis whose future' was I'm afraid comprehensively trashed in three *** reviews, but thanks for alerting me to Ian Morris, whose crassly titled 'Why the West rules - for now' is clearly another baggy monster even non-Jared Diamondists like me would be ill advised to ignore
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