A dour assessment of the current state of green technology.

A critical look at the modern environmental movement and the promises of green, renewable technology.

All technologies come laden with costs that are never factored in, including damage to the environment in producing the workings of machines and commodities. “No technology is neutral,” write the authors. From that inarguable first tenet, they go on the attack. Even so-called environmentalists, they argue, are human-centered, and building things such as solar energy cells and wind towers are ineffective stopgaps meant to maintain wealthy lifestyles with minimum inconvenience. The real object of saving the world should be…saving the world—the spotted owls, the fish, the “last scrap of forest,” etc. As long as the emphasis is on humankind and trying to salvage what remains of civilization, the environmental movement will be thwarted in its stated task of healing the planet of the wounds industrial civilization has inflicted. Many of the authors’ points are cogent and well taken: Renewable energy sources have yet to do much to power the world, and producing solar cells and wind towers requires numerous rare metals—lithium, cerium, neodymium, yttrium, and the like—that are environmentally destructive to secure and do not easily lend themselves to recycling. The authors dismiss the longing of futurists and engineers for “technologies that haven’t been invented yet”—though by other accounts, there is hope that such things as capturing the energy from tidal flows and deep-sea thermal vents may bear sustainable fruit. Unfortunately, the hectoring tone will likely repel more readers than draw them in. The authors are knowledgeable on many of the most significant issues we face, and there’s useful information here, especially for diligent activists. However, the authors’ tendency to yell at the choir and curtly dismiss any arguments advanced by “mainstream environmentalism” may dampen the appeal to general readers.

A dour assessment of the current state of green technology.

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-948626-39-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Monkfish

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021


From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020


A wide-ranging collection of testaments to what moves the heart.

Black Americans declare their love.

This anthology brings together dozens of love letters by prominent Black Americans. The entries, interspersed with illustrations, address an eclectic mix of topics arranged under five categories: Care, Awe, Loss, Ambivalence, and Transformation. In their introduction, editors Brown and Johnson note the book’s inspiration in the witnessing of violence directed at Black America. Reckonings with outrage and grief, they explain, remain an urgent task and a precondition of creating and sustaining loving bonds. The editors seek to create “a site for our people to come together on the deepest, strongest emotion we share” and thus open “the possibility for shared deliverance” and “carve out a space for healing, together.” This aim is powerfully realized in many of the letters, which offer often poignant portrayals of where redemptive love has and might yet be found. Among the most memorable are Joy Reid’s “A Love Letter to My Hair,” a sensitive articulation of a hard-won sense of self-love; Morgan Jerkins’ “Dear Egypt,” an exploration of a lifelong passion for an ancient world; and VJ Jenkins’ “Pops and Dad,” an affirmation that it “is beautiful to be Black, to be a man, and to be gay.” Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts’ “Home: A Reckoning” is particularly thoughtful and incisive in its examination of a profound attachment, “in the best and worst ways,” to Louisville, Kentucky. Most of the pieces pair personal recollections with incisive cultural commentary. The cumulative effect of these letters is to set forth a panorama of opportunities for maintaining the ties that matter most, especially in the face of a cultural milieu that continues to produce virulent forms of love’s opposite. Other contributors include Nadia Owusu, Jamila Woods, Ben Crump, Eric Michael Dyson, Kwame Dawes, Jenna Wortham, and Imani Perry.

A wide-ranging collection of testaments to what moves the heart.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781638931201

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Get Lifted Books/Zando

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023

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