It's been a glum time at work lately. A co-worker was sick for a long time. Last week, he passed away. In our department, we could count on him to cheer people up when things went wrong. So now we miss him all the more.
I'm in no mood to write a book report, but of course I already have plenty of them saved up. Here's one that's appropriately glum: Whole Earth Discipline.
This book told me that we're doomed.
In another 20-30 years, our climate will have snapped into a bad state. Droughts will hit some areas; floods will hit others. We won't be able to grow food.
If we stop burning so much coal and switch to nuclear, then maybe we can last 50 years instead, and maybe we can create some more resilient food sources... so maybe our civilization will just have a soft crash and we can come back in 500 years. But we'll also leave around buried piles of radioactive waste, which will be bad news for that nascent civilization.
So... this book told me that we're doomed. I hope it's wrong. It's pretty well-written, and talks about a few interesting topics for folks who want to save the world:
- nuclear energy
- genetic manipulation of crop foods
It also talks about Jimmy Wales' fable of the steak knives, a way to think about our tendency to concentrate on the wrong security risks.