North America in the Anthropocene

Robert William Sandford. Rocky Mountain (PGW, U.S. dist.; Heritage Group, Canadian dist.), $16 (168p) ISBN 978-1-77160-180-1
In six chapters, Sandford (The Climate Nexus) lays out the climate challenges facing humankind, and North Americans in particular. He concludes with a call for more effective action. Beginning with the need for water, Sandford details the implications of climate change, including mass extinction and widespread political and economic instability. While acknowledging global efforts such as the Paris agreement, Sandford is quite clear that the steps taken by various nations fall far short of hopeful rhetoric, and if humans continue to substitute talk for action, the consequences could be dire for both human civilization and wildlife. Written in a straightforward style, this manifesto is short but heartfelt. Humans have embraced the ability to alter the Earth, Sandford observes, so we must also embrace the responsibility to do so wisely. Sandford’s sincerity cannot be doubted, but the solutions he suggests assume a context in which international cooperation is deemed desirable by national governments. Events such as the 2016 U.S. election and the British vote to leave the European Union point to a wave of isolationism that would appear to make such efforts impossible, in which case Sandford’s work predicts that humans will face chaos and worse. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/12/2016
Release date: 11/01/2016
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