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Climate Change: Three Books Everyone Must Read

Books? Who read books these days when information is available on our fingertips? Take out the super-smart mobile phone, click, read, talk, impress people, forget and repeat! That’s all we do in this information overloaded era. But do we ruminate on what we have watched or read on our mobile phones? Do we try to implement or take action on the information we have received and transmitted? Surely not! We don’t have time, right? And climate change? OH MY GOD! I don’t believe in that. So why should I read those books? Because, your belief should not be illogical. It should be made only after thorough contemplation on the acquired information. Actually, if you do not want to believe in something, try reading and thinking more to get more reasons to support your beliefs. So if you do not believe in climate change, here I suggest three books to read, ponder over, comprehend and then form an opinion about the whole issue:

Silent Spring (Rachael Carson, 1962) – This book became an inspiration for the environmental movement and a bone of contention for chemical industry. Du Pont was among the first opponents of the book.

The book starts with a romanticized description of a world living in harmony with nature. This utopian portrayal is followed by a horrific story of “Some evil spell that had settled on the community: mysterious maladies swept the flocks of chickens; the cattle and sheep sickened and died. Everywhere was a shadow of death. The few birds seen anywhere were moribund; they trembled violently and could not fly. It was a spring without voices. The apple trees were coming into bloom but no bees droned among the blossoms, so there was no pollination and there would be no fruit.” Carson repeatedly stresses the fact that this malady was not natural but man had done by himself, for himself. For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemical from the moment of conception till death. Throughout the book, she talks about synthetic pesticides and insecticides which have been thoroughly absorbed by both the animate and inanimate world and target more than just the insects. She called these chemicals as ‘Elixirs of Death’. The publication of this book created an outcry which forced the government to ban DDT (a deadly pesticide) and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws related to land, air and water. Eloquently written, this book is worth a read to dig deeper about how human and only human is responsible for the changes in land, air, water and the whole climate.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (Naomi Klein, 2014) - “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

In her most provocative book yet, Naomi Klein expose the hidden truths about the global warming debate. The real problem is not climate change, but it is capitalism. Our increasingly luxurious lifestyle, addiction to profits and growth is what digging our graves every minute. We think free market is the best way for the welfare of all. She talks about the bizarre behavior of various trade organizations which have challenged different green energy programs and schemes throughout the world. Interestingly, she relates free market fundamentalism to the rise in global average temperature. She talks at length from neoliberalism, trade agreements, free markets, extractivism, and fake environmentalism of big businesses to renewable energy, sharing of sky and saving the planet. The author argues, “Climate change isn't an issue to add to the list of things to worry about, next to health care and taxes. It is a civilizational wake-up call. A powerful message—spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions—telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet. Telling us that we need to evolve.”

Klein intellectually knits together politics, geography, economics, ethics, ecology and activism to solve the climate change problem. It is indeed a book to read, ponder over and absorb to the fullest.

Hot, Flat and Crowded (Thomas L. Friedman, 2008) - The book proposes that the solutions to global warming and the best method to regain the United States' economic and political stature in the world are to embrace the clean energy and green technology industries. Friedman explains how global warming, rapidly growing populations, and the expansion of the world’s middle class through globalization have produced a dangerously unstable planet--one that is "hot, flat, and crowded." He also shows how the very habits that led us to ravage the natural world led to the meltdown of the financial markets and the Great Recession. He argues, “When the balance sheet of a company does not capture the true costs and risks of its business activities, and when that company is too big to fail, you end up with them privatizing their gains and socializing their losses.”

This environmental opus of the Puliltzer Prize winner author, Thomas Friedman paints a true picture of how screwed we are! It is not a quick read but is definitely illuminating.

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Sources of Information

  • Silent Spring – Rachael Carson, 1962

  • This Changes Everything: Climate Change vs. the Capitalism – Naomi Klein, 2014

  • Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America – Thomas L. Friedman, 2008



About the Author: Garima Gupta

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