I rather enjoyed this book. It had several topics that made me think. For instance, one of the factors that was used at the bottom of page 17, was how if we cut carbon emissions to 0 today, the concentrations of it in the atmosphere would only drop 40% by the year 3000. Something else that caught my eye was the mention on the next page, that humanity could come to an end as soon as 2060. Personally I think that’s a bit dramatic, but I do believe that if we keep using up Earth’s resources at the rate we are, if not even more so as time goes on, that most of humanity will not be able to function as we do today probably by the year 3000 or sooner (that’s just a guess on my part).
Some things in this book though I had to almost completely dismiss. Mainly the things that Al Gore has mentioned in it, such as how by 2016 Earth’s deterioration will be irreversible. The reason I disregard the things he says, is because he has falsely predicted the end of the world twice. He’s just crying wolf in my opinion. Other things I had to take with a grain of salt. Like when he talks about Chernobyl on page 53, and has all of the different death toll counts, and how they range from 212 to 9 million. I have to think, what factors are they using? The initial deaths before everyone was evacuated? Predicted deaths due to radiation poisoning/exposure? Counting the total number of those evacuated as deaths? It isn’t said in the book what the method was, so I remain skeptical of it. Another example of skepticism I have, is on page 62 when he talks about hoe societies such as the Vikings, Mayans, and Easter Islanders chose their own destruction. I believe the concept, that civilizations can chose their own eradication if they chose, to be true. But those examples he used, I believe those to be false. The Mayan’s were invaded not of their own will, the Easter Islanders had their ways of life taken from them by Western arrivals, and I don’t know precisely what happened to the Vikings, but I don’t believe they voluntarily selected their own destruction.
On page 77 under the heading “Do We Control the Weather?”, I find a lot of that to be such radical thought to the point of total BS.There is nothing man-made about the creation of tsunami’s or earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions. Being a Geologist, I know this to be true. Those events are caused by Earth’s internal processes, and we have no impact on those at all. Earthquakes and tsunami’s are caused by sudden slippage of plates past one another, and volcanoes can be led to erupt by an earthquake as well, among other completely natural things. Hurricanes though, may be influenced by human activity. Warming ocean waters for example may lead to more frequent/more powerful hurricanes. Pages 80-81 continues the complete crap of human-caused earthquakes and tsunami’s. I actually got annoyed at the complete idiocy of it these arguments.
On page 91, the letter to the president by the Seattle Chief, I thought was actually very accurate to reality. It describes that everything we do to the Earth, will have some sort of an impact on our lives. We are not invulnerable to our own actions. Far from it. On page 93, Bruckner talks about how urban people sometimes seek rural escapes, and that reminded me of our discussions on wilderness, how we use it as an escape from the hassles of life. On page 128, he talks about GMO’s being a negative thing. What I don’t think he realizes, is that selective breeding of animals or plants is a form of genetic modification. There are also numerous possibilities that can come from creating GMO’s. The example used in the book talks about a modified mosquito that when breeding with other mosquitoes, actually makes them sterile, thereby eliminating the threat of malaria and yellow fever from mosquito bites. Finally, on page 168, Bruckner mentions James Cameron’s Avatar. A good chunk of this book made me think of that movie, and how they use everything they get, and how in touch with their environment they are. The native population seems like the perfect example of what ecologists wish we (humanity) were like.
So all in all, despite several points of disagreement and false beliefs that are mentioned in this book, I actually enjoyed it. More so than Desert Solitaire and The Meadowlands even.