Jonathan Franzen — alarmist or prophet?

Scary smart?

“Making New York City a green utopia will not avail if Texans keep pumping oil and driving pickup trucks.”

Jonathan Franzen, The New Yorker

I just read Jonathan Franzen’s fascinating essay on climate change in the New Yorker. For the first time, I’m actually scared. Franzen argues compellingly and mercilessly that climate change is INEVITABLE and what we need to do is not pretend we can avert it, but only prepare for it.

Read this now

I think Franzen is both clever and cautious. Clever in his tone and cautious in his pessimism. Of course this is a perspective that we should at least entertain. As to the line of good hope, are we there yet, or did we already pass it? Climate is changing, and because so many polluting countries have NO INTENTION of stopping emissions, we need to be pragmatic. Sure; but have we already failed? is there no hope of turning back the hands of the clock?

I’m not sure. I think we need to think about the issue harder. Maybe preparation, and diverting resources to that can be the first step, and then we can roll up our sleeves again and get down tot he business of preventing further catastrophic change.

What do you think?

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