Kirkus Reviews QR Code
WHOLE EARTH DISCIPLINE by Stewart Brand Kirkus Star

WHOLE EARTH DISCIPLINE

An Ecopragmatist Manifesto

By Stewart Brand

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-670-02121-5
Publisher: Viking

A comprehensive, forward-thinking blueprint for sustainable living.

Brand (Clock of the Long Now, 1999, etc.), who won a National Book Award for his groundbreaking Whole Earth Catalogue in 1972, provides readers with the most necessary survival tool in this era of increasing climate change: well-researched, accurate information and a guide with which to use it. Our ability to combat the greenhouse gases that threaten earth’s delicate ecosystems have reached a breaking point, and only concerted, global efforts that have been properly analyzed for macroeconomic value—as opposed to, say, drilling for oil offshore or burning “clean coal”—can stave off a further increase in global temperature that will precede a catastrophic climate crisis. The author proposes that a drastic re-evaluation of “green thinking” is required to accomplish this, claiming that the recent environmental movement is muddled in their message and has even been a hindrance to certain eco-alternatives, such as nuclear energy and genetic engineering. As people continue to migrate into cities and technology pervades even the poorest of slums, an agricultural revolution would offer a chance for farming to become a profitable urban enterprise and nature to reclaim rural areas. Brand writes with clarity, directness and wit, and despite his obvious partisanship toward environmentalism, he never proselytizes. His long career precedes him, and those who have followed his crusades over the years will find his admissions of error in some past arguments—specifically the viability of nuclear power—refreshing. Also inspiring is the sheer amount of knowledge he imparts on dozens of issues. He deftly reflects on the subtle differences in biotechnical, scientific, ecological, political and sociological arguments and refrains from tiresome parable. His message is clear. We have passed the point of no return where climate is concerned, and drastic, well-planned and innovative measures to combat total ecological collapse must be implemented now.

Breathtaking in scope and implication—a must-read.