A frank instruction on how to achieve global sustainability through reform.
In this book, Taylor (Saving Civilization, 2013, etc.), an avocational archaeologist, takes aim at the indoctrination of our species by religious, political, and economic special interest groups. He also stages philosophical battles between rationality and delusion, faith and reason, and, most intriguingly, between technological progression and social conservatism: “We have learned to incorporate progressive technology into our material cultures incredibly well, but we have failed to adopt the progressive, sustainable social behavior commensurate with these developing technologies into our social cultures.” He probes familiar threats, such as overpopulation, pollution, environmental degradation, rampant capitalism, and eroding educational systems, in ways that might read, depending on one’s own party affiliation, like an inspired, progressive call to arms or as socialist-atheist-vegan propaganda. Along the way, Taylor offers up a succinct, prosaic prose style, and if his book begins to feel like a beginner’s handbook to worrying about one’s grandchildren, it’s because it serves up foreboding reminders, such as that “there may be a ‘global collapse’ of harvestable fish species by 2050” or that it takes “5,214 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef” or that we’re on pace to reach absolute atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations much sooner than one cares to imagine. The author seems most comfortable when taking down religion, lending more pages to debunking the story of Noah’s Ark than he does to the negative impact of political and economic special interests. As a result, he perhaps misses an opportunity to unsnarl systemic issues that may impact readers more directly, though it’s undoubtedly juicier to note that “George W. Bush and Osama Bin Laden prayed to—and assumedly believed they were receiving guidance from—the same god, at the same time.”
A lucid, albeit repetitive, addition to the growing collection of first-step manuals for postponing human extinction.