Photo: The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, one of the world's longest suspension bridges, connects Brooklyn and Staten Island. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. - Photo: 2018

A Compelling Book on ‘Humanity’s Success in Ruining Nature’

NEW YORK (IDN) – Across the globe, geologists, climate scientists, biologists, chemists and physicists are alarmed, and if there are uncertainties these are whether danger is in the offing very soon or in a few years; about whether our prospects are calamitous or only troublesome.

The lack of dread among the general public about the risks of irreversible damage is worrying. Politics and Science operate on different time lines and with different urgencies. The open question is if the governments of the world’s dozen or so wealthiest countries are up to organizing a workable, equitable and sustainable global response before it is too late.

Against this backdrop, Jeff Goodell’s riveting book ‘The Water will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World‘ – published in the U.S. last autumn, and in Britain this month – deserves special attention, a reason for our long-time contributor Dr. Franz Baumann to review it.

The review Present at the Destruction: Humanity’s Success in Ruining Nature for the Los Angeles Review of Books begins as follows:

“In his urgent new book, Jeff Goodell takes readers on a tour of places likely to be swallowed up by the sea – among them Florida, New York City, Venice, Norfolk, Virginia, Rotterdam, Lagos, and the Marshall Islands.

The book tells the engrossing story of their likely demise, and how our inability to deal with climate change renders this tragedy increasingly inevitable. Many other places, too, will be swallowed up if humans don’t stop spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. And, alas, even if they do stop, there’s no telling when the sea will stop rising.

While keenly observing and poignantly describing rapidly-changing coastal ecologies, Goodell also reports with empathy and acumen on his conversations with a mix of scientists, engineers and community workers, real estate agents, activists and politicians.”

Baumann continues: “Some politicians, such as former President Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry, convey to Goodell their concern about climate change whereas, predictably, plenty of others, such as Senator John Barrasso, make clear their commitment to ignorance.

Representing the big coal state Wyoming, Barrasso introduced legislation in 2011 not only to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon pollution, but also to stop the agency from even studying what is going on with the climate.

Too many politicians, some concerned with other matters and some in hock to the fossil fuel industry, are in denial. And a sizeable number of them assure the general public – who, after all, want to be comforted – that climate change is either not a major concern or else a Chinese hoax, a liberal conspiracy and a job destroyer.

They claim that coal has a future, and that drilling for oil in the Arctic, in National Parks and off the East Coast, will make America great again, and that therefore no change is required to how we live, consume and produce. Just as chain-smoking, junk food and sugary drinks are not a health hazard but a birthright!”

Read more at: [IDN-InDepthNews – 04 March 2018]

Photo: The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, one of the world’s longest suspension bridges, connects Brooklyn and Staten Island. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

IDN is the flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate –

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