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Monday, May 02, 2005

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Jared Diamond's new book, in which he claims a cautious optimism:

I already mentioned the seeming political impossibility of inducing First World citizens to lower their impact on the world. But the alternative, of continuing our current impact, is more impossible. This dilemma reminds me of Winston Churchill's response to criticism of democracy: "It has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." In that spirit, a lower-impact society is the most impossible scenario for our future---except for all other conceivable scenarios.

Yet the entire books rife with examples of not just other conceivable scenarios, but scenarios that have already happened. Of ancient people desecrating their environments to the point of no recovery. I fail to see how Americans will ever become environmentally conscious enough to act soon enough to prevent an environmental collapse in the world. We're even in denial about global warming.

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