What do you get from reviewing four books on the same sustainability topic, instead of relying on one?
Most book reviews are published to alert the reader to a book they might be interested in reading, and offer the reader just enough information to judge for themselves. Publications on sustainability or green business regularly review new books, but they do not follow a standard practice in many disciplines of comparing and contrasting books on the same topic. We wanted to explore what those engaged in “sustainability” can learn from that. To do so, we have chosen important works for a general audience about what many consider to be the focal point of planetary sustainability: understanding, and reducing or coping with, climate change brought on by global warming. They are:
- Bill McKibben, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
- Clive Hamilton, Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth about Climate Change
- Mark Hertsgaard, Hot: Living through the next Fifty Years on Earth
- James E. Hansen, Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to save Humanity
Each of these books demands attention individually, and contributes significantly to the issue. We think that there is added value in viewing them as a group. They were all written at about the same time, close to 2009, but by authors with very different backgrounds and home bases. While each book has a provocative title and their themes are challengingly dismal, writing a book is an inherently optimistic exercise, especially so when the author recommends remedies to problems identified. We extend their optimism by suggesting that their individual calls for action can be amplified by taking them as parts of a compelling whole.
Next page: Sky high, literally and figuratively