The best book on the environment, economy, and ecology

January 30, 2011 by Joshua
in Blog, Education, Nature

Everyone has something to say about the environment, the economy, and ecology. People believe in human caused global warming or they don’t, but they have something to say about it. They believe improving the environment will ruin the economy or save it or something. Everyone has something to say.

One major trend I see is based on the interests of the source. If the person speaking comes from the business world there is a good chance he or she will communicate that others’ environmental concerns are overblown, things aren’t as bad as they say, you should keep doing what you’re doing, and buying his or her product or service will make things better. If the person comes from a science or nature focused world, he or she will give you facts about the problems, possibly potential solutions, but not connect it with your life. I mean, he or she might suggest you turn off the lights when you aren’t in the room or switch to a smaller car, but you can’t observe the effects of those changes in the world — only to your life. If you liked bigger cars, they seem to make your life worse (until you learn to appreciate less waste).

Nearly every book on the topics I’ve read suffers from either self-serving business interests that disregard others or well meaning appreciation of nature that makes you feel bad. Limits to Growth is the best book on the subject I’ve read. It’s goal isn’t to give you answers — there are too many assumptions and beliefs for that — but to give you a way to think about it. It covers the topics I consider relevant in the ways that make sense. For some reason it’s the only book I’ve found that does so — all others mix in the flaws I described above.

It reasonably and thoughtfully looks at the relevant factors, explains its assumptions, and considers a range of those assumptions. The authors perspective is based in systems theory, a subject I’ll have to write about in a future entry, so their goal is thoroughness, of course accepting that the complexity of the situation is beyond human comprehension.

I hope to find someone to read the book so I can talk to him or her about it. The book doesn’t have a lot of math or science, but it has some. I don’t know how easy it would be to understand for someone who doesn’t know what a system of linear equations is. The authors don’t mention them, but they’re in there. Maybe the book is better not knowing.

Sadly few people understand much math or science, so I don’t know many people I could hope would read the book. Nonetheless, I recommend it to anyone and everyone. If you’ve read it, I’d love to talk about it.

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1 response to “The best book on the environment, economy, and ecology

  1. Pingback: » A vegetarian entrepreneur’s take on test tube meat Joshua Spodek

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