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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eloquent, Beautiful, Shattering, May 19, 2000
This review is from: The End of Nature: Tenth Anniversary Edition (Paperback)
If I could recommend only one book to family, friends and neighbors about the gathering environmental darkness, this would without question be it. The End of Nature, now about ten years old, was generally dismissed by the intelligensia, (notably Christopher Lasch of Harper's), who described it as a "tear-stained" work of "rural piety", not incidentally missing the point entirely. This is not a garden-variety work of environmental apocalypticism, though McKibben does allow that the odds in favor of just such an ecological and social collapse are pretty good. The "successful" alternative future he describes is equally, if not more horrible.
If, by dint of technology and sheer ingenuity, we manage to avoid the consequences of the ongoing overshoot, what then? Imagine, if you can, a world in which we, our pets (and pests) and a carefully selected handful of bioengineered plants and animals live on, and in which almost everything else dies. Without wilderness, without even a semblance of connection to our origins, we probably could continue some form of human civilization. The question, however, is why, as individuals, we would want to.
The groundwork for this sort of dessicated world is already well-laid, given our very American demands for paved roads and air conditioning everywhere we go, along with our ceaseless demands for more stuff - and make that bigger and cheaper, too. McKibben does harbor some optimism that we can choose to take a more difficult path. I only wish I could share that optimism. Read and remember this important book!
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