Good Climate for Reading

May I recommend a few good books that I have had the pleasure of reading. 

Firstly, a gripping book by Clive Hamilton, “Requiem For A Species, Why We Resist The Truth About Climate Change.”  I read it in about three days on the train to and from work.  It had the same type of influence upon me as did his previous book “Affluenza“.  Thought provoking, insightful, truthful, occasionally depressing, and scary.  Here is an excerpt from the preface (hope he doesn’t mind);

“Sometimes facing up to the truth is just too hard. When the facts
are distressing it is easier to reframe or ignore them. Around the
world only a few have truly faced up to the facts about global
warming. Apart from the climate ‘sceptics’, most people do not
disbelieve what the climate scientists have been saying about the
calamities expected to befall us. But accepting intellectually is not
the same as accepting emotionally the possibility that the world
as we know it is heading for a horrible end. It’s the same with
our own deaths; we all ‘accept’ that we will die, but it is only
when death is imminent that we confront the true meaning of
our mortality.”

I read it because I wanted to understand why change is not happening, when we damn well know that we only have a few years to start reducing carbon emissions to avoid runaway climate change.  Know I have a better understanding of the barriers we all put up to resist the changes that are necessary to take the appropriate action.  The Requiem is not for all the other species we are killing in the 6th mass extinction, it plays for us, the human race.  All I can say is have a read.  Highly recommended.

The second book is by Gwynne Dyer, “Climate Wars”.  The book is written in a style of part factual, and part scenario.  The interviews throughout the book were personally performed by Gwynne with experts in the relevant fields.  It paints a terrifying glimpse of the not too future, where world leaders may be forced into conflict due to resource scarcity and the effects of catastrophic climate change.  A sobering premise, that followed on well from Requiem.  We have already seen conflict over resources over the last 20 years in the form of the first oil wars, but are yet to see much that is climate related, but I stand corrected if anyone cares to highlight one. 

Here is a quick review of Climate Wars by Amory Lovins;

“Anyone still complacent about climate change will find Climate Wars instructive and disturbing. These articulate insights into climate geopolitics by Gwynne Dyer are an important tool for understanding why the climate challenge is big, hard, and vital to human survival — yet soluble if we pay attention now.” –Amory B. Lovins, Time magazine’s Hero of the Environment, author of Capitalism as if the World Matters, and Chairman & Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute

The scariest conflict scenario in Climate Wars that I have read so far, was the full blown nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan over water scarcity in the headwaters of the Indus River.  It certainly sounded possible to this reader.  Overpopulation and lack of potable water could definitely lead to tension between any countries that share rivers and lakes.  Sobering to say the least, but researched well.  I am only three quarters through this book, but cannot put it down.

The third and final read is not really a book, but a catalogue.  Eden Seeds to be exact.  After all that doom and gloom, I needed a spiritual uplift, so I have taken to the seed catalogue in preparation for my spring planting.  I am hoping to try out a few new varieties this year, just for a change.

Come what may, as predicted in the first two books, I still hold hope that somehow we will get out of this mess, and I will continue to work with nature to provide my own food.  If anything, call it my own little bit of self inspiration!  My edible garden give me joy in an otherwise frightening world. 


  1. says

    On the whole, humans are a very simple species but we try to live like Gods and that’s our ultimate downfall.

    Market research has human simplicity down to an art form. We like new experiences, we like it to be centred ardound us and we like it to be as effortless as possible.

    That blueprint is very easy to pitch to an economic market, where slave labour and exploitation of resources can produce a very sellable end product to western civilisation.

    Try and do the same thing for self-reliance and simple living – shifting the labour and resources to the buyer’s hip pocket, and Westerner’s eventually return to the easier economic model.

    They only have to sell their future planet and the next generations resources to do it.

    Change is slow Gavin…I only have to look at my garden to realise that, LOL. I’m so frustrated that after all our earth moving, plant buying and many trips with the trailer to transport fertility to our property, that I still have pint sized returns.

    Actually I probably don’t have any return at this stage – it’s 100% cost burden while we still pay interest to the bank for the privilledge of living here.

    The reason people are slow to make the changes they require, is they’ve been living off the economic model for centuries. It’s driven up house prices so that those with a decades head start can make a profit, while those just entering the market are squeezed for every cent the bank manager can get.

    We’re living off an economic model that exploits one citizen to profit another. It’s funny that we’ve taken this long to question whether it’s morally correct. But whether we exploit another country or exploit our own citizens, it’s about making a profit to justify the system which runs it.

    If the change is going to come, we have to accept it may not all happen in our lifetimes. I’m planting some black walnuts soon, which I hope will feed several generations after me. I probably won’t see the best that tree has to offer, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t plant it.

    I agree with you that gardening is respite from the world’s current goings on. While we do not have control over other people’s choices, we can still plant a garden to feed the future.

    Of gods and monsters – of mice and men; let us return to the garden my friend. :)

  2. says

    “It’s the same with
    our own deaths; we all ‘accept’ that we will die, but it is only
    when death is imminent that we confront the true meaning of
    our mortality.”

    Great quote Gav. You have me thinking on being human. If it is a normal human quality to take life and what we have for granted (as the bulk of the population does). Is our very nature make it nearly impossible to save our world? Being human is killing us…………..hmmm you got me thinking!

  3. says

    Hi Gavin,

    I bought Clive Hamilton’s book earlier this year but am still having trouble with my concentration so haven’t read it yet. I got Climate Wars for my husband a few years ago but was banned from reading it by my husband because of the depression factor.

    I’d love to get stuck into those books plus a long list of several others including James Lovelock’s latest effort. My husband just finished reading it and disagrees with a few things Lovelock has to say. Given that I’m struggling to put togeher a weekly menu plan and shoppong list at the moment, I think it might be a while before I get to those books. Sigh.

  4. says

    I too find it hard to believe that change is sooooo slow. I try to do my little bit and slowly the people around me have stopped laughing at me and now as me how they too can start to grow their own food, change their habits. And again like you when I get very down I plant something, its like saying to the universe I believe there is a future. I will endeavour to get the books and read them. thanks for the review

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