Top positive review
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Makes you think..........
on 29 April 2009
I bought this book because of my increasing unease about some of the contradictory and apocalyptic comments that were being made about climate change. Although I don't doubt the fact that the world is warming, and that humans are to a greater or lesser degree responsible, I am irritated and concerned about simplistic reporting of and commenting upon climate change issues by the media, politicians and various pressure groups. An example of this is the Guardian's '100 months to save the world' series of articles. I understand the premises behind this, (both the scientific basis, and the desire to force actions), but I find my own response is to oscillate between becoming completely fatalistic, and rejecting the whole argument, as the world (with or without us) clearly will still be there in 101 months. This book helped me to articulate to myself the reasons for this reaction.
From my lay-person's understanding of science, I know that there must be a lot of uncertainty about future predictions, and that we lack the tools to forecast in what specific (and to a degree localised) ways climate change will be catastrophic (or not), although we can anticipate many of the things that might happen. This book is about the disagreements about what might happen, and how these are played out through various cultural manifestations, which shape the way we think and act.
A lot of the disagreements have as their basis the relationship between science and wider society, and the fact that the choice of responses to climate change is inevitably political, and in some cases, ethical. With such complexity, there is a need for more, rather than less, critical thought. Blind allegiance to 'green' or 'eco' causes, without being ready to learn and debate will not get us there.
This is a well-researched, fairly academic book, rather than a straight polemical read. This is to its credit, although it can make the underlying ideas hard to put across.