An impassioned plea for environmental action that looks ahead to a dire future for the planet.
In this debut political book, Heintz, a retired professor emeritus from the California College of the Arts, issues a warning call to readers who are concerned about sustainability, climate change, and the future of life on Earth. He addresses the cognitive challenges of comprehending and responding to a massive, worldwide crisis. The wide-ranging narrative addresses both the substantive facts of climate change, such as higher temperatures and effects on commercial agriculture, and the political aspects, including resource scarcity and the difficulties of existing power structures. The book presents several potential climate change scenarios, offers an account of 20th-century American political history regarding the issue, and presents potential strategies for mitigating and reversing negative effects. Although each chapter has a unifying theme, Heintz also fills the narrative with tangents; indeed, many are labeled as digressions in the text. As a result, readers continually encounter new topics as the book emphasizes the links between environmental justice and economic, racial, and political justice. Each section opens with a glossary that’s both useful and idiosyncratic (“Subtle Information: A term coined by your author, for Marshall McLuhan’s idea that The Medium is the Message”). Heintz has a tendency to capitalize common nouns (“this Crisis”) and rely on typography for emphasis, which he acknowledges in the introduction (“BTW, By The Way, you WILL notice that I Capitalize and Italicize and Bold some words and phrases, in an un- con- ven- tional manner”), but this is likely to grate on readers who are accustomed to more standard formats—as will the author’s take-no-prisoners attitude toward skeptics (“If you can’t admit that we can be spectacularly stupid, as individuals and in groups, you may not be smart enough for the rest of this book”). The book also accepts unproven theories at face value, such as “The Bush family secretly bought up all the water reserves in southern Argentina.” Overall, however, the author’s treatise on climate change is comprehensive and frequently persuasive, even if its hyperbolic tone limits its effectiveness.
An enthusiastic and highly unconventional analysis.