When I began this blog site I reviewed a book called Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Orestes and Erik M Conway. They have now published The Collapse of Western Civilization a sci-fi novel written from the point of view of 2093 and examining the failure of humans (us) to deal with climate change and the way we selfishly stuck to our unsustainable lives until 80% of the population were wiped out.
The book is thin, the ideas in it are enormous. Orestes is a historian and Conway a scientist. In their earlier Merchants BOOK they looked at the way that vested interests plotted against science to throw doubt over the discoveries of the links between smoking and cancer, the use of CFC's and the hole in the ozone layer and the human actives causing climate change.
The book was given to me today by my friend Fred Mendelsohn. He is a scientist and a concerned citizen. He and I have been together to talks at Melbourne University where very informed and brilliant scientists have spoken with a great deal of research and understanding about the mess we are in. After each of these I commented to Fred that these excellent events were the convincing talking to the convinced and that scientists needed to find out how to get to everybody bypassing the politicians and media owners who either don't or won't get it.
Oreskes and Conway write about this syndrome persuasively. They coin "human adaptive optimism" which presupposes that whatever lurks just beyond the horizon to threaten us our human inventiveness will fix it and we will continue to live in a paradise on earth. Like the Klein book (see below) they not only sound a warning trumpet but do so from the point of view of writing after the disasters have happened.
Our species has the ability to understand what is happening at the same time as ignore what is happening. These two skills will collide and for many of us in a future that is not distant but imminent.
"Mass migration of undernourished and dehydrated individuals, coupled with explosive increases in insect populations, led to widespread outbreaks of typhus, cholera, dengue fever, yellow fever, and viral and retroviral agents never before seen."
Just glancing down at the open letter below this parrot crows about getting rid of the price on carbon as if that is a rational triumph over voodoo instead of a disastrous backwards step into self-destruction.
The climate refugees that the writers foresee are on the move already. The book draws maps of Manhattan, Bangladesh and Europe from 2093 and after the big ice sheets are no more. This would be sobering reading if enough people could be bothered and if it wasn't countered by the deep pockets of the Merchants of Doubt who have short term profits in mind and will do anything to protect them even at their expense of their own inevitable demise.