What is this new world we are building and why on Earth do we keep defying nature? If these questions keep you up at night take a carbon-free walk to your local bookseller and get yourself a copy of Elizabeth Kolbert’s “Under a White Sky.” The book’s subtitle “The Nature of the Future,” is a key aspect here and also an endlessly fascinating look at both sensible, short term ideas paired with what feels like End Time plans. In other words, imagine looking at our leaders and saying “Well, I guess we have to try THIS now.”
But what has become deniable is science itself, at least for many of these same leaders. Science isn’t convenient. Science is your know-it-all friend who refused to let you cheat off her in the physics final. Science doesn’t play well to undereducated audiences who care more about American Idol than invasive species, melting polar caps and carbon emissions. If only we could make data sexy and give it a clothing line.
Kolbert won the Pulitzer for “The Sixth Extinction,” a wonderful book about potentially horrible things. She writes wonderfully, mixing first-person story with journalistic coverage of her subjects and assignments. This is a book that ended too soon. A metaphor? Let’s hope not. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, both of these books actually, and recommend them for anyone wanting to know more.