I first read about Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning, by George Monbiot, on several of the book blogs I keep up with. I heard about the marketing associated with the book: how Random House shipped free copies of it along with fluorescent lightbulbs to reviewers. I heard about how everyone should read it because it offers practical implementation guidelines on how to save energy.
After reading the first quarter of the book, I was agreeing with this point of view wholeheartedly. It’s not often you can find such a practical book offering solutions to climate change that address all humanist, environmental and economic aspects of the problem while attempting to allow us to retain our comfortable lives.
By going at the problem honestly, directly and with references for nearly every statement he makes, Monbiot exposes the outright lies put out by corporations and governments, by organizations that sound grassroots but are really not; he discusses how to fix up our homes, what energy sources we could turn to, and how to revise our transportation to reduce emissions. The entire book is a case study on how to fix our planet. Never mind that the book claims he is “one of the world’s most influential radical thinkers” – anyone with any sort of power to influence the masses must read this book and begin implementing the changes he proposes.
It won’t be easy. It’ll still make us a bit uncomfortable. But following these guidelines (ie: self-restraint), we will be far less uncomfortable than we will be well within the century when the worst of the climate change effects finally begin to hit the wealthier nations (which up until then will actually “enjoy” the effects of global warming with its milder winters and summers).
Make no mistake. Global warming is happening and we are the only ones who can exercise self-restraint – something the Western nations are not well-known for. Nevertheless, it must happen soon or we’ll be suffering a lot worse than our epidemic of overweight.