Absolutely worth owning whether you agree with it all or not
Jan 27, 2009
This book's impact on you will vary depending on your level of familiarity with the topic in general. I think The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream and The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies do a better job of making people (who may not otherwise) genuinely consider the implications of the oil-dependant lifestyle.
This book's attention to California and China makes perfect sense to me. Two of the biggest, most stagnant, traffic-jamming, polluting regions require some of the most critical, innovative thinking and solutions. Think of it like this: As California and China go, so goes the world... for better or for worse.
I like the way "the threat" of alternative fuels is shown to have sparked some of the cleaner trends in the oil/automotive industries. Some of the fuels chapter is lacking, though. It's tough to read a whole chapter like that yet never find the words "switchgrass" or "nanosolar". One could certainly say that one of the Modern Marvels Enviro Tech episodes, as well as a National Geographic issue from 2007 or early '08 (I need to flip through them to check the year) did a better job.
I also wonder why so much effort was expended trying to convince readers we're nowhere near Peak Oil. The Industrialized World is built on the premise of the path of least resistance. Trying to convince people we have 200 years worth of plentiful oil is going to make most people say "Okay cool. Call me again in 180 years when this is important".
I have issues with these and another part of this book, as may you. Still, I'd be happy to find out that it (and others) was being given and taught to every Jr. high and highschool science class/student in the USA. The sooner and more pervasively we get kids dreaming, wondering and thinking about these issues, the more chance we have of reaching those handful of the future's brilliant minds who may help us out of this mess.
On a side note, you'll find yourself thinking about Buckminster Fuller's dymaxion car throughout. The whole world suffers from not listening to him all those years ago.
Ok, so there are currently about 1 billion cars on the planet and in 20 years there will be 2 billion cars. And you think its hard to find a parking space now? The book lays out a very well researched and convincing argument that we must shift our current attitudes and move to much lower impact vehicles. Now. I try to stay pretty current in regards to energy conservation, energy use, etc... I learned a lot in this book. For instance I have often heard … more