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As The World Burns: Possibly the angriest book I have ever read

Updated on October 17, 2011

I'm really not sure how I feel about this book. While I agree with its message (that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, that no one really cares, and that the solutions proposed to save it are pittances that are not nearly enough), I'm not so sure if I buy its ultimate solution (that in essence humans should abandon their human culture in its entirety in order to save the world). This leaves me cleaved in half, thinking that there's nothing that I can do to save the earth and no way to get through to those who theoretically could.

This is the problem with "As The World Burns": it does such a thorough job of showing that using more energy-efficient lightbulbs and not producing as much garbage is, in the grand scheme of things, utterly useless, while simultaneously demonstrating that those who theoretically could cut down on global devestation (corporate leaders and politicians, for example) won't even if it is in their best interest that the whole book ends up being quite soul-crushing.

And this wouldn't even be such a big thing if the proposed solution was "radically modify your life," or even "destroy the corporate society that is destroying the world for profit." Even though those are probably significantly more extreme than the average citizen would be willing to do, they would at least be a concrete plan. But the solution proposed in this book is in essence to force humanity to revert back to being wild animals in order to be in tune with nature.

Which leaves me feeling guilty, doomed, and at a loss. Which, arguably, could have been the point of this book: to show that we humans have doomed ourselves with our rapacious stupidity, and there's nothing we can do about it except destroy that which makes us human. I'm not really sure what to do with that feeling.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      Maybe we should all live in a Mad Max type future. Won't that be fun.

    • doodlebugs profile image


      7 years ago from Southwest

      I don't agree with such doomsday scenarios but try to prepare for them anyway. I just switched out my whole home to LED's, (wrote a Hub about it), and reduced my energy bill by about ten bucks a month. Whether it saves the world or not, I don't care. It helps me survive by putting more money in my pocket.

    • anjperez profile image


      7 years ago

      @davidlev, i would like to rephrase the question, who will pay the price?... you can already take the hint from the gas prices and the taxes...(,")

    • anjperez profile image


      7 years ago

      davidlev, thanks for putting this hub. i will look for this book and read it. anyway, here's my hunch. we cannot just do anything otherwise because what we are living on right now was already a done deal 25, 50 or 100 years ago. it's like a contract, agreements that if you breach that, it will cost you more. so you wait till the contract ends because you can make changes or corrections. however, the bad thing is the correction needs to be done immediately which will cost them twice or more. if we want to act now, the question is, who wants to pay that price?


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