Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dangerous World

A very odd Earth Day locally this year, with the blizzard on the weekend, snow still falling and a wind chill temperature this morning of -20! It certainly makes the many, many books warning of environmental catastrophe seem entirely plausible. Scaring people to death probably isn't the best way to get people to change their light bulbs and stop idling outside the 7-11. But like a good horror movie sometimes a fright is a good thing. I chose a couple of doomsday-style books for my Earth Day Gazette Great Reading picks (published tomorrow, April 23):

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. In this intriguing “what-if” book, science journalist Weisman thinks about what would happen to Earth if the human species suddenly disappeared. An oddly hopeful book about our enduring planet.

World Made By Hand by James H. Kunstler Kunstler’s non-fiction look at peak oil, The Long Emergency, was a dire, almost hysterical prediction of a bleak future when demand for oil exceeds supply. This novel is a fictional vision of that post-apocalyptic future, focusing on a town in upstate New York struggling to survive.

Nova Scotia-based writer Marq de Villiers has sounded the alarm about environmental catastrophe in works like his award-winning book, Water: the Fate of Our Most Precious Resource. He was on CBC Radio's The Current this morning talking about his new book, Dangerous World: Understanding Natural Calamities and Protecting Human Survival (listen to the interview [here]). The book takes a reasoned look at current and future dangers to humanity, countering the alarmist approach of some books.


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