Steve’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
By nature, I’m a doom n gloom kinda guy; just ask my friends. And Gilding’s book starts out that way; the picture he paints of the Earth’s near future isn’t a pretty one, not one bit. But it’s accurate, and there’s nothing we can do to stop the Great Disruption that he predicts.
Gilding draws upon the science of climate change to warn us, again, that the end of civilization ‘as we know it’ is upon us. The clues are all around us: economic crashes, unstable oil prices, depleted soil injected with poisons to produce cancerous food, revolutions, refugees, war, and an addiction with economic growth. It is this addiction, that in the end, will drive us over the cliff. Infinite growth is a mathematical impossibility in a world of finite resources. Consumerist-Capitalism is dead, and it’s time to bury it.
Gilding doesn’t just rely on the ‘science’ to make his case; even the ‘forefathers’ of our capitalist system, John Maynard Keynes, John Stuart Mill, and the man who arguably started it all, Adam Smith, all pointed to the end of growth and a time when we would exploit our resources beyond what they would supply. That time has come. To argue otherwise might make you feel better, but it won’t change the facts. The only real question left is, “What the hell do we do now?”
Luckily, Gilding isn’t just a doom n gloom kinda guy—neither am I, anymore—he’s actually an optimist. Gilding does NOT think we will slip into chaos. Gilding draws on the example of WWII, when freedom-loving peoples all over the world banded together to defeat the threat from fascist dictators. Even then, our grandparents and great-grandparents waited till it was almost too late, as we have done. But just like them, Gilding argues that when the crisis finally hits home, we will be moved to swift action to deal with the real dangers of climate change, and that during that process, we will find a way to build a better, more balanced, happier world.
If you want my opinion—and I’m sure you do since you’re reading this damned review—I think he’s dead on. We WILL wake up in time to save the Earth, and our place on it. How will that happen? Mostly, it will be the job of you and I, the little people of the planet, just like it was for the Greatest Generation, when Hitler came knockin’. Yes, our governments, and the business sector will play a major role in the early process, because they won’t have a choice; they’ll either get it done, or be replaced. But most of the work falls to us, the ordinary, average people of the world. Read the book! Then let’s get to work!