Dec 13 2006

Action, Not Hope

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 10:08 PM

I shared a couple of beers the other night with the important environmental writer, Tom Athanasiou, author of the seminal, “Divided Planet,” and more recently the co-author of “Dead Heat,” from Seven Stories Press. Athanasiou, whose latest ideas can be surveyed at ecoequity.org, is increasingly concerned about the effect of climate change on Africans. In Malawi, in September, I heard the concerns of ordinary farmers worried about unpredictable weather. I also met with the country’s leading climate-change scientists. Athanasiou’s projections are indeed sobering (even over beers) because he thinks that the climate situation is worse than even the pessmists like Al Gore say. In the rich “North,” immediate and dramatic action is at least possible to contemplate. The resources exist to make even radical adaptations in pursuit of preserving something of our way of life. But what of Africa? How can people and resources be mobilized against climate change at the same time as the battle against AIDS, government corruption and ethnic strife is also being fought? Athanasiou tells me he is at work on a new book. We can’t have it too soon. A gifted writer, Athanasiou is also unafraid of courting unpopularity. People want to hear a hopeful message, even about climate change. But according to Athanasiou, action must trump hope.

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