Crise Climatique — Liste de lecture

[Ce contenu est pour le moment disponible en anglais seulement]

For reference, the climate-change-related books I have been reading in 2019, and recommend as interesting, with a quick description of each.

The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World, Jeff Goodell [What even the more moderate levels of sea level rise predicted from global warning will do to humanity’s cities closest to sea level]

Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future, David Grinspoon [An objective, relatively optimistic, big-picture book of the past, present and future interplay of humans and the Earth from the point of view of an astrobiologist/plantary scientist.]

Beyond Outrage: Expanded Edition: What has gone wrong with our economy and our democracy, and how to fix it; also The Common Good. Robert B. Reich [“America’s economy and democracy are working for the benefit of an ever-fewer privileged and powerful people. But rather than just complain about it or give up on the system, we must join together and make it work for all of us. … Reich argues that nothing good happens in Washington unless citizens are energized and organized to make sure Washington acts in the public good.” — Amazon]

Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Future of the Earth, Craig Childs [“A writer increasingly celebrated as the 21st-century bard of the American Southwest…naturalist, adventurer, desert ecologist, and frequent contributor to National Public Radio’s Morning Edition…” — Amazon. Nine chapters, each on a different disaster scenario (desertification, ice collapses, seas rise, civilizations fall, cold returns, species vanish, mountains move, cataclysm strikes, seas boil). He intersperses recounting a relevant adventure/trip, generally very extreme, with talking about the science/factors etc behind that sort of disaster.]

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, Elizabeth Kolbert [Interweaves the stories of the 5 biggest geological era mass extinctions, the stories of the species we have driven extinct during prehistory/history, and the present and future story of what we are doing to nature and the environment.]

The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be, J.B. Mackinnon [From an award-winning journalist and non-fiction writer, a charming, poetic, and wistful look at nature in the past, present and future. While not lacking in interesting and useful facts, I see this book as above all a cry from the heart to our hearts. The story, told from the point of view of a thoughtful nature lover, of how what we know as nature is sliding and mutating from generation to generation, less easy to see in a single human lifetime let alone moment to moment, but very strikingly over a few centuries (and sometimes much less), when we compare accounts and records of both biodiversity and sheer biomass in different epochs of the past. The author also links in projections, worries, and hopes for the future.]

The Secret Wisdom of Nature: Trees, Animals, and the Extraordinary Balance of All Living Things -— Stories from Science and Observation (The Mysteries of Nature Trilogy Book 3), Peter Wohlleben [Relaxing, compared to most books on this list, and very interesting. “A thought-provoking exploration of the vast natural systems that make life on Earth possible… describes the fascinating interplay between animals and plants and answers such questions as: How do they influence each other? Do lifeforms communicate across species boundaries? And what happens when this finely tuned system gets out of sync?” — Amazon]

Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, Naomi Oreskes + Erik Conway [The intriguing and infuriating story of how corporations and right-wing governments, aided by a handful of right-wing scientists, manufactured and distributed doubt and lies to slow down public and governmental reactions to cigarette smoking, acid rain, the ozone hole, secondhand smoke, and global warming. Also about the devastating personal attacks rained down on climate scientists and environmentalists in order to put their statements in doubt or shut them up.]

The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, Florence Williams [Reporting on studies showing how good even a little exposure to nature is, for humans.]

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, Paul Hawken [A “coffee-table” type guidebook to solutions to global warming.]

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, Naomi Klein [Exposé on climate change vs contemporary conservatism and capitalism; how globalization and the WTO made things worse — two-fold, with countries suing each other each time a renewables project is tied to local industry use; and with 1st world consumption shipped offshore to be produced cheaply and dirtily — “By 2007, China was responsible for two thirds of the annual increase in global emissions…. between 2002 and 2008, 48 percent of China’s total emissions was related to producing goods for export.” Exposés also of “Big Green,” the hope that “Green billionaires” will save us, and of SO2 umbrellas. And about solutions: protests, divestment, and so on.]

The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions, Pete Brannen [Another book like The Sixth extinction, about past and current extinctions.]

Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change, George Marshall [Discusses the psychology/sociology behind us not doing much about climate change, from denial and lying to ignoring and thinking some one else is taking care of it; and what can be done about it]

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, David Wallace-Wells [Starts with the shocking yet easily verifiable fact: CO2 emissions 1991-2018 inclusive = 809 billion tons which is more than the 803 billion tons produced 1751-1990; i.e., “we” have produced more than half of these emissions while “we” had some idea already that it was a bad idea. A scary picture indeed of life in the 21st century if we don’t have a massive acceleration of our transition off of fossil-fuels, ASAP. As in, so far, despite lovely progress in renewables, world usage of fossil fuels still only goes up, and steeply at that; without lots of change we are racing ahead to more and more fires, floods, mudslides, air pollution, heat death, global hunger, global drinking water shortage, dying oceans, plagues returned via melting ice, economic collapses and climate wars. “both a meditation on the devastation we have brought upon ourselves and an impassioned call to action.”]

The End of Nature, Bill McKibben [2006 reprint of 1989 famous book from founder of “This impassioned plea for radical and life-renewing change is today still considered a groundbreaking work in environmental studies. McKibben’s argument that the survival of the globe is dependent on a fundamental, philosophical shift in the way we relate to nature is more relevant than ever.”]

Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?, Bill McKibben [April 2019 book from author just above); story of the bleak present/future and possible solutions]

We are the Weather (Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast), Jonathan Safran Foer [An impassioned call to reduce our consumption of meat, dairy, and other animal products — go vegan, at least for breakfast and lunch — both because of the huge impact animal agriculture has on climate change and environment, but also because it is one of the biggest changes we can make immediately.]

Factfulness (Ten Reasons We’re Wrong about the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think), Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund [The surprising truths that data tells about how we are actually making progress with issues such as world poverty, infant mortality, global democracy, global population explosion/birth rate, plane crashes, and so on. And how the factual truth is very different from the picture in the heads of the vast majority of us, between dated views and a solid diet of news, where catastrophes and horrors make better reporting than slow, incremental progress. Why did I include this book? To shine some light amidst the gloom: with the magnitude of the issues facing us it is important to maintain hope by seeing that humanity is after all very capable of humanitarian progress. And to focus our efforts: even in such an upbeat, optimistic book, climate change is still singled out as one of the most pressing global risks facing us today.]

inconspicuous consumption (the environmental impact you don’t know you have), tatiana schlossberg [The surprising environmental impacts of Internet usage, ecommerce; denim, synthetics, rayon and cashmere; food; and so on, told with wry humor].

And some more, that I haven’t yet written descriptions for, and some from my yet-to-read list:

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress, Steven Pinker

The Green New Deal: Why the Fossil Fuel Civilization Will Collapse by 2028 and the Bold Economic Plan to Save Life on Earth, Jeremy Rifkin

On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal, Naomi Klein

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed and Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, Jared Diamond

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