As the World Burns

More lunchtime blogging to bring you:

37. As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial: A Graphic Novel by Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan (Seven Stories Press, 2007).  I really enjoyed this, even though it is incredibly unsettling.  The book punches you in the face from the first page and doesn’t really let up.  Although there the plot is ostensibly about aliens who come to literally consume the Earth, the point of it is really to drive home that changing our lightbulbs and recycling our soda cans simply will not be enough to save the environment.  What we really need to change is the system at large, because industry is responsible for most of the environmental damage in the world.  And changing the system means changing our lifestyles, in a big way.  The satire is blunt, but effective, and there are some panels that are hilarious.  McMillan’s art, like the writing, is simple but effective.

The book would make a nice counterpoint to An Inconvenient Truth, because it is attacked for not going far enough (as are most mainstream environmentalist actions, for that matter).  You might, like me, be left wondering what to do; the book essentially calls for outright revolution.  Which, okay, fair enough.  But from where?  This is, I think, more for thought-provoking than anything else, but it does an exceptional job of challenging conventional wisdom that has led us all to think that if we all just individually consume smarter, we can avoid catastrophe.  This means it will disagree with the new breed of “shop green” books that’s exploded this season, and makes it all the more valuable.  Definitely belongs on any Earth Day/green living table display.

A related book that just came in and looks AWESOME is Planetwalker, by John Francis (National Geographic, 2008).  Just flipping through and reading random sections, I was astonished by how amazing this guy is.  Check out his website, too.


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