How to Save our Planet | Reflections & Clips

Mark Maslin. How to Save Our Planet: The Facts. Penguin Life, 2021. (243 pages)


REFLECTIONS


The incredibly frustrating epistemic dilemma of our human psychology is that we don’t believe facts. Rather, we construct our worldviews based on stories and narratives. We are the “storytelling animal.” As such, when there are “facts” that “disagree” with “our story,” we demur and recoil. And so, in all honesty, a book like this can feel…well, “factual” and not very compelling (though it is fun and provides great knowledge for impressing at a party). Add to that the limits of human rationality, and the observation that we are in the throes of what feels like a never-ending public philosophical debate on the very definitions and merits of “facts” and “truth” and “reality,” and well, we’re just one hot [pun intended] cognitive and epistemic mess.

But facts actually do tell a story. Facts, when woven together, tell a story about life, the past, the future, and our responsibility. In other words, narratives could very well be emergent phenomena from the conglomeration of the facts. Especially if those facts are arranged, as they are in this book. And so in some paradoxical mystery, our narratives are both a rejection and composition of…the facts.

And so, what @ProfMarkMaslin has given us is not just a book of facts. He has given us a plot. What’s the story I’m hearing? We can do this! We really can! We truly can halt global warming and create a sustainable and regenerative world for all people, even while we at the same time mitigate the damage already done to date. We have the technology, the know-how, and the moral imperative. What seems to still be missing is a globally shared story that can unite us all together in solving this problem. Perhaps what the world needs, to construct that global story, is, well, a conglomerated arrangement of the facts.


CLIPS


PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 1: HISTORY OF OUR PLANET

Facts and figures about the origin of the Universe and Earth, our unique planet. This chapter provides you with background knowledge of our precious planet, the evolution of life on Earth and the emergence of modern humans.

CHAPTER 2: HISTORY OF HUMANITY

Facts and figures about the development of human society. This chapter provides you with background knowledge of the whole of human history from the hunter-gatherers through to the reign of consumer capitalism.

CHAPTER 3: STATE OF OUR WORLD

Facts and figures about the huge human impact on Earth. This chapter provides you with insights into the state of our planet, both in terms of the environment and our global human society.

CHAPTER 4: TAXONOMY OF DENIAL

These are confusing times, with a lot of misinformation and fake news about climate change and environmental destruction. This chapter provides you with an insight into the tricks used by climate/environmental change deniers to dissuade you from taking rapid action.

CHAPTER 5: POTENTIAL FUTURES – NIGHTMARE OR ECOTOPIA?

This chapter provides you with a clear vision of how bad the world could be if we do not deal with climate change and environmental degradation. It also provides an alternative vision of what the world could be like if we do everything possible to alleviate our climate, environmental and social crises.

NIGHTMARE — YEAR 2100

ECOTOPIA — YEAR 2100

CHAPTER 6: POWER OF THE INDIVIDUAL

We have the power to control our own lives and influence those around us — this chapter provides a clear set of positive actions that you as an individual can take. Individuals are our powerbase for change.

CHAPTER 7: CORPORATE POSITIVE POWER

Businesses control our lives: what we eat, what we buy, what we watch and even who we vote for. This chapter discusses how we can harness the positive power of corporations, so we can change the world. Companies are one of our major weapons of change.

CHAPTER 8: GOVERNMENT SOLUTIONS

Governments look after our safety and our wellbeing. They control the aspirations of civil society through the rule of law and the development of policy. This chapter discusses how regulation, taxation, subsidies and incentives all play a role in how governments can make our societies more sustainable and ultimately reduce our carbon emissions to zero. Governments drive innovation.

CHAPTER 9: SAVING OUR PLANET AND OURSELVES

This chapter summarizes what we need to do by 2050 to create the future we all want, firstly, by stabilizing the climate, and secondly by protecting the environment for the wellbeing of all life on Earth, thereby enabling the 10 billion humans there will then be on Earth to have the best possible life.

AFTERWORD

The new world post Covid-19.

But the genie is out of the bottle and citizens all around the world have been shown that there can be a different relationship between government, industry, civil society and our planet. A relationship where health and wellbeing are put before economic gains for a country or a small minority of individuals. (180)

‘The future awaits those with the courage to create it.’ (184)

I hope this book shows that all of us, if we have the courage, can create a better, fairer, safer future for all. (184)

About VIA

www.kevinneuner.com

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