Here on Earth

HereonEarthI finished reading Tim Flannery’s Here on Earth a couple of days ago.

It lays out a fascinating history of our planet, the flora and fauna and their effects on it (including mankind, of course) and what we need to do to ensure our own species survives. We’re the only ones with the intelligence and understanding to change our ways.

His recipe for global cooperation – a shared ‘mneme’ which acknowledges the harm we’re doing and how to reverse it – is plausible in the abstract. But the book contains all the seeds (no pun intended) of why this is a tall order.

As a provocation, the book is excellent. If you’re of a defeatist mind-set, you could end up very depressed by it. Especially if you have children and grandchildren. On the other hand, if you have a grain of imagination, it could start you thinking very seriously about how we get from an unacceptable ‘here’ to a desirable ‘there’.

It will mean change, and that’s the threat to religions, nations, different strata in society, business, politics, and so on. All have to find ways to put our common interest ahead of their own.

The book is very readable for the most part – at its best when describing our world and its mechanisms and, understandably, at its weakest when suggesting a way forward.

But, unlike the alarmist books which simply annoy, it gets you thinking. And, for that reason alone, I think it’s worth a read.

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