Climate Change Pollyannas.

AuthorOrton, David
PositionGlobal Warming for Dummies - Book review

Global Warming for Dummies by Elizabeth May & Zoe Caron. Mississauga, Ontario: John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd., 2009, 362 pp, $21.99 US/$23.99 CN, ISBN: 978-0-470-84098-6 (paper)

Although global warming is connected to scary scenarios featuring soaring temperatures and worsening hurricanes and monsoons, it's also a link to a better future. Global warming is opening doors for the development of new types of fuels, leading the shift to reliable energy sources, and creating a vision of a greener tomorrow.

--May and Caron, p. 1.

This small band of deep ecologists seem to realize more than other green thinkers the magnitude of the change of mind needed to bring us back to peace within Gaia, the living Earth.

--James Lovelock, The Revenge Of Gaia, p. 198.

We must live at a level that we seriously can wish others to attain, not at a level that requires the bulk of humanity not to reach.

--Arne Naess

The book Global Warming for Dummies, by Elizabeth May and Zoe' Caron, has lots of information about climate change and its various nuances, particularly from the individual, "what you can do,'' perspective. The focus is on carbon dioxide, the main contributor to climate change. It explains the Kyoto Protocol, how it is supposed to work, carbon emissions trading, the different kinds of greenhouse gases and their individual and collective significance, etc.

In addition, this book gives an overall sense of the contributions of various sectors of society to greenhouse gas emissions. We are told that fossil fuels contribute three quarters of the problem regarding greenhouse gases, and that deforestation accounts for one quarter of the problem, (p. 2) Reading Dummies can raise the level of a person's general knowledge about climate change, notwithstanding the various criticisms raised in this review.

May is intelligent, passionate, hard-working, and on top of a wide variety of environmental information. But she also works within the industrial paradigm of values which she essentially accepts and lets guide her political judgments. May's career shows that she "works the system," and the society in turn rewards her with various accolades, because the system's legitimacy is not seriously threatened by her eco-politics. She and co-author Zoe Caron have chosen to play a Pollyanna role of promoting optimism in fighting climate change, when most of the government and corporate climate change initiatives being put forth are greenwash tokenism at best, which can...

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