Ok, so I’m one of those, and I genuinely believe that Global Warming is out to get us and that if we don’t do something soon, that we’re all going to die in a fiery pit. So a book like Seven Wonders, which claims to contain ‘everyday changes’ that I can make, gets me pumped. Especially when it’s 120 pages, and little bigger than my hand. (Paper-saver? I think so!!
Except! EXCEPT!!! Very few of the ‘things’ are ‘things’ I could do. Sorensen, when you keep saying things like ‘governments should do this’ or ‘industries should implement that,’ you are being informative but not entirely helpful. I am neither a government nor an industry. Furthermore, few of the ‘things’ are things I would do. We’ve all switched from clotheslines to dryers for a reason. I live in one of the rainiest climates going (are there too many ‘i’s in ‘rainiest?) but even when I was in Mexico in a house without a dryer, hanging my clothes was a pain in the ass.
Of course, I can and do run most of my errands on foot or by bus (less because Global Warming sleeps under my bed, and more because I’m a terrible driver), and I probably should eat more locally-grown foods and ship fewer mangoes in from the Phillipines for my afternoon snack. Duly noted.
But then, in the middle of a chapter on condoms, where he’s all, Bla bla bla condoms means fewer people born which means lower populations which means fewer carbons released etc, he digresses to talk about how condoms also keep people from getting AIDS (which leads to death) and STD’s (which lead to infirtility, miscarriages, and sometimes death) and means fewer women will die in childbirth (because fewer women are getting pregnant, see [note: dying in childbirth leads to death]). And I’m going to say this out loud on the internets and you are going to call me a cold-hearted bitch and never speak to me again, but hear me out: things that lead to death are good for the global warming crisis. HEAR ME OUT BEFORE YOU JUDGE! I’m not saying that, Awesome, AIDS should run rampant and women should die in childbirth because hey! Fewer CFCs! What I’m saying is that Sorensen dedicates a whole chapter in his book to condoms because they slow the population growth, but when he points out that they also slow population death, he kind of cancels out his own argument. Which is NOT to say that a woman dying of AIDS and a child being born into a family that neither wants it nor can support it is the same, from a human standpoint, as that woman NOT dying and that child NOT having been conceived. Alls I’m saying is that from the statistical standpoint of carbon emissions and global warming, FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS BOOK, it’s +1, -1 either way. I need to stop talking.
Great idea, poor execution. Sorensen spent ten minutes on Wikipedia and then wrote this while hungover.