“Reading is equivalent to thinking with someone else’s head instead of with one’s own.”
Usually with summer comes the chance to take some much-needed vacation time. Whether it’s camping, trips to the cottage, or hanging out at the pool, with vacation usually comes more free time than the hustle and bustle of the busy work week allows.
With my vacations, I always find more time to read than I can otherwise, and as a result I usually get a few good books read. Not everybody necessarily wants to read as much as I do, but chances are you’d enjoy at least a little opportunity. (Let’s face it: if you weren’t readers, you probably wouldn’t be here right now.)
So I’ve found a few books to offer for those who want to get some reading done, and perhaps enhance their understanding of the environment and global warming at the same time. One is a classic, one contemporary, and the third is a novel, albeit one that has a warning for us all.
1. Silent Spring. The classic book that launched the environmental movement is now fifty years old. Rachel Carson’s book pointed out many of the concerns for the environment related to pesticide use. It goes into great depth about our desire to control nature and the potential hazards associated with that. Although pesticide bans have helped this problem to some extent compared to when the book was first published, its core message is still pertinent today. Our desire to derive fossil fuels from every last orifice on this planet has repercussions that too many of us ignore. Controlling nature never looked so unappealing.
2. Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout. The subtitle of this book was particularly appealing to me: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist. Author Dr. Patrick Moore was a co-founder of Greenpeace but after fifteen years he left it to take a more science-based approach to environmentalism. That speaks my language because my whole goal is to be practical, sensible, and science-based, avoiding ideology as best as possible. This book was recommended to me by the federal Minister of the Environment, the Hon. Peter Kent, because he thought my journey toward environmentalism had a lot in common with Moore’s. I can only hope the comparison is worthy.
3. Polar City Red. When the space race started in earnest in the 1960′s, science fiction reflected the times with sources of entertainment such as Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey. For decades Michael Crichton did an excellent job of taking the threshold of science and creating scary science fiction with books like Coma, Jurassic Park, and Prey, warning us of what world our follies might create. So as the dawn of the climate crisis is upon us, it only makes sense that someone would create science fiction that can give us a glimpse of the horrors our planet may be facing if we continue with business as usual. Author Jim Laughter does a great job describing what a future dystopia will have to contend with as our planet contends with global warming taken to the extreme. A piece of fiction, but much to be learned nonetheless.
If you’re a reader and looking for some good book suggestions, I expect that any of these will have something to offer.