The Unnatural World

David Biello. Scribner, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4767-4390-5
Like many before him, science journalist Biello explores the roots of the Anthropocene epoch, its global consequences, and possible solutions. He articulates the common-sense position that if planetary degradation is to be stopped, humans must be a part of that action: “The threat is us, the solution is in us. It takes a grown-up, rational species to recognize we are not alone and to provide for the protection of others, who have less control.” Biello focuses on a number of individuals with big, largely technological, ideas to save humankind, including a scientist who wants to fertilize the ocean to increase the growth of phytoplankton and thus soak up massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. He also examines efforts in China to build “circular economies” where waste is transformed into assets and society moves toward carbon neutrality. Perhaps most importantly, Biello points out that it’s not necessary to wait for a grand technological fix: “If there is a simple solution to our present problems, it might be summed up as: Empower women with clean power.” Biello presents some interesting anecdotes and introduces some creative individuals, but his conclusion that only “relentless work” will make the world better is underwhelming. Agent: Ethan Bassoff, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/05/2016
Release date: 11/15/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4767-4392-9
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