Monbiot, George. HEAT: How to Stop the Planet from Burning. 2006. Doubleday Canada.

Heat by George Monbiot: A Book Review by Theresa Wolfwood

Photo © Theresa Wolfwood.

Monbiot, the brilliant and prolific writer for the UK Guardian, blazes out his excellent ideas for saving our environment from global warming. In the special preface to this Canadian edition, he tells us that Canada is one of the highest producers of greenhouse gases.

“You think of yourselves as a liberal and enlightened people….But you could scarcely do more to destroy the biosphere if you tried…The sustainable limit for carbon dioxide emissions is…one—sixteenth of what you currently produce.”

Much of what he writes many of us already know — the scenario for global disaster has been well—articulated by many writers. But Monbiot is not just giving us excellent information — he has an action plan that will enable countries like Australia, USA, UK and Canada to reduce emissions drastically without forcing us to live a Pleistocene lifestyle. He says we can cut our emissions by 80% without going back to pre—history.

He takes on all the corporate liars, the conniving governments as well as wild predictions from some environmentalists — many of whom make action so unattractive that most people choose to ignore the evidence of global catastrophe and continue to live a Faustian contract with fossil fuels.

Feasible, conceivable, practical and thoughtful action ideas are what are needed and Monbiot’s well documented strategies are what make this book so valuable —from confronting governments and corporations in denial to changing our transport, building and heating practices we can still live a comfortable life and not commit our descendents to peril. It is not just do—it—yourself saving that will help; it is political action and change that is needed.

He writes, “This book has an overtly political purpose. It aims to encourage people to not only change the way they live but to force their governments to make such changes easier…My purpose is to equip you with the political tools you need — the arguments, technologies and ideas for implementing them — to turn one of the most polluting nations on Earth into a place which commands the rest of the world’s respect.”

If I had to recommend only one book of the many on climate change & global warming — this would be it. Read it and be prepared to act no matter how difficult it may be.

He ends with this warning about the campaign against climate change. “…it is a campaign not for abundance, but for austerity. It is a campaign not for more freedom, but less. Strangest of all, it is a campaign not just against other people, but also against ourselves.”

Filed under Book Reviews, George Monbiot