cover image What We Leave Behind

What We Leave Behind

Derrick Jensen, Aric McBay. Seven Stories Press, $24.95 (453pp) ISBN 978-1-58322-867-8

Industrial civilization is incompatible with life.... Unless it's stopped... it will kill every living being, begin environmental activists Jensen (""A Language Older than Words"") and McBay (""Peak Oil Survival""), introducing the recurring theme and thesis of this radical report on the state of Earth and call to action. The book contrasts natural systems of growth and decay, in which soil and life forms feed each other, with industrial civilization: essentially a complicated way of turning land into waste: garbage patches cover more than 40% of oceans and multitudes of fish and birds are being killed by plastic waste, now more abundant in the seas than phytoplankton. Jensen and McBay trash sustainability stars like William McDonough, who designs green buildings without questioning their unsustainable uses (truck factories and airports); the authors argue that we value our culture more than the planet that sustains it. The book is flawed by lapses into rants and rages, but Jensen and McBay's message that we need to grow up and put away the childish notion that we have the right to take whatever we want from nonhumans is eminently reasonable. ""(Apr.)"" .