A memoiristic call to build a new ecological future.
In 2013, environmental nonprofit founder Rouse sold his financial planning business to devote himself full time to ecological activism, due to the threat posed by climate change. In this nonfiction debut, he weaves together his own story of his growing environmental awareness with a broader account of climate challenges facing the planet in the 21st century. He details his slow awakening as a “climate warrior,” citing his time as a Boy Scout—which makes him recall that “There was a time when service, duty, honor and obligation to something larger was more important than money and personal success”—his education in economics at Yale University, and even how he worked “to make our local community theatre more energy efficient” as president of a Rotary Club. He also pinpoints moments of deeper realization, such as the 2008 presidential election, which took place years after President George W. Bush expressed opposition to the Kyoto Protocol; he expresses disappointment at President Barack Obama’s climate-related policies. He includes sections describing the scale of climate threats, with helpful black-and-white illustrations, and lays out possible solutions—actions that could be taken collectively to bring about positive change by the year 2050, such as increased production of solar power and the development of carbon-free electrical systems. Although this book bombards the reader with depressing climate change facts and trends, it’s also a clear reflection of Rouse’s own private awakening, which give it a consistently uplifting tone. He effectively stresses that political will is the most necessary element to bring about substantive change, and he straightforwardly urges readers to exercise that will: “Speak the truth with those who can make a difference,” he writes. “You can influence fossil fuel in your role as a customer.” The book’s autobiographical elements are less compelling, but its overall tone of optimism ultimately carries the day.
A detailed and often appealingly upbeat series of positive climate change strategies.