Thursday 3 November 2022

Riders on the Storm by Alastair McIntosh

 Riders on the Storm by Alastair McIntosh

 Subtitled The Climate Crisis and the Survival of Being, this scholarly book from Scottish environmental campaigner Alastair McIntosh claims to offer a powerful vision for how to weather the storm holistically, including spiritual and humanistic approaches as well as science.  

But first he gives us the science, in great detail too. His approach is very thorough and interesting, but sometimes I felt that his language was too dense and too convoluted, despite him criticising official reports (from bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) for exactly these failings. The narrative starts with a detailed history of climate change, up to the present day, including some case studies, especially from the Scottish context. McIntosh then summarises current climate science and offers ways to recognise whether climate reporting and science is accurate or not (very useful in a world where we seem to be bombarded with information on the issue). He looks at issues such as consumerism, the interplay of climate change and pandemic diseases, the pros and cons of technological solutions to the climate crisis and examines the psychology of both climate alarmism and climate denialism.

It's a well researched, comprehensive book that concludes: 

"Such is the doom of climate change; a wake-up call to the human condition at this turning point in our biological and cultural evolution."

This book is very thought-provoking, but whether it offers any practical steps to a sustainable future is, however, debatable. 

Riders on the Storm by Alastair McIntosh, published (2020) by Birlinn

You can read my review of Alastair McIntosh's earlier book Hell and High Water on this blog here.


Larry said...

We all know the climate is changing but the question is can we save it? Riders on the storm reminds me of the 60's song by the Doors. I think I'll give it a play on Spotify today! I should probably get back to reading. I've become lazier when it comes to reading ever since they invented google.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Larry, I agree with your question entirely, that's the real issue facing us!

The book takes its title from exactly that song, and in fact quotes the opening lines in the introduction.