Subtitled 'How Trying to Save the Planet is making our Climate Problems worse' this has to be one of the most depressing books I've ever read. Chapter by Chapter Owen dismantles the optimism behind green technologies and lifestyle approaches including solar power, energy efficiencies, wind power, 'back to the land rural living' and electric cars and shows that all of them in fact encourage consumerism and therefore increase the amount of resources we use, therefore making our environmental problems worse.
His conclusion is that only by vastly cutting down on the amount we travel and the amount we consume can we even remotely hope to prevent rampant climate change from destroying life as we know it.
I have always believed that consumerism is the main problem but just because I can see the truth in what Owen writes in this book doesn't make it any less depressing.
Owen concludes the book by saying:
'What's proven impossible, at least so far, is to commit to taking steps that would actually make a large, permanent difference on a global scale. Do we honestly care? That's the conundrum.'
And this book offers no answers (apart from the implied answer that everyone in the world needs to immediately commit to frugalism and voluntary simplicity).
Personally I'd like to think that towns such as Güssing in Austria could be showing us the way forward. I also would have liked the book to have taken a more holistic approach taking biodiversity into account much more than it does.
The Conundrum by David Owen published by Shortbooks.
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