Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Prophet of doom

The End of the End of the Earth - Jonathan Franzen (Fourth Estate £16.99) - It only took me a couple of sittings to devour this collection of essays, such was the relevance of the prose concerning  the impact us humans are having on our environment. Franzen is a passionate birder and wrestles with the double standards many of us pampered first worlders have; for example our profligate use of fossil fuels at home, or when travelling abroad and our resulting carbon footprint.
  Climate change features strongly throughout these essays which Franzen considers is already a done deal. He argues that we are not going to change our way of life sufficiently to halt the global temperature rises that will ultimately seal our fate; whatever green endeavours we conjure up to prevent climate change will be akin to King Canute trying to stop the tide coming in.
  In the short term however there are more pressing issues facing the destruction of birds as exemplified by the essay entitled May your life be ruined. Here he describes a birding trip to the Balkans and north Africa where he witnesses the wanton large scale destruction of migrant birds, singling out Albania and Egypt as the worst culprits amongst many candidates; little wonder then that so many of our summer visitors have disappeared in such a short period of time, as many of us on the `wrong` side of 50 will attest.
  "Human beings are universal killers of the natural world and coming soon, some hellish overheated tomorrow, is Judgment Day", he states.
  In the words of Private Frazer, "We`re doomed, we`re all doomed"!!!

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