Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All Hardcover – Illustrated, 23 July 2020
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“Environmental issues are frequently confused by conflicting and often extreme views, with both sides fueled to some degree by ideological biases, ignorance and misconceptions. Michael Shellenberger’s balanced and refreshing book delves deeply into a range of environmental issues and exposes misrepresentations by scientists, one-sided distortions by environmental organizations, and biases driven by financial interests. His conclusions are supported by examples, cogent and convincing arguments, facts and source documentation. Apocalypse Never may well be the most important book on the environment ever written.” -- Tom Wigley, climate scientist, University of Adelaide, former senior scientist National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
“We must protect the planet, but how? Some strands of the environmental movement have locked themselves into a narrative of sin and doom that is counterproductive, anti-human, and not terribly scientific. Shellenberger advocates a more constructive environmentalism that faces our wicked problems and shows what we have to do to solve them.” -- Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Enlightenment Now
"If there is one thing that we have learned from the coronavirus pandemic, it is that strong passions and polarized politics lead to distortions of science, bad policy, and potentially vast, needless suffering. Are we making the same mistakes with environmental policies? I have long known Michael Shellenberger to be a bold, innovative, and nonpartisan pragmatist. He is a lover of the natural world whose main moral commitment is to figure out what will actually work to safeguard it. If you share that mission, you must read Apocalypse Never.” -- Jonathan Haidt, author of Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
"The painfully slow global response to human-caused climate change is usually blamed on the political right’s climate change denial and love affair with fossil fuels. But in this engaging and well-researched treatise, Michael Shellenberger exposes the environmental movement’s hypocrisy in painting climate change in apocalyptic terms while steadfastly working against nuclear power, the one green energy source whose implementation could feasibly avoid the worst climate risks. Disinformation from the left has replaced deception from the right as the greatest obstacle to mitigating climate change." -- Kerry Emanuel, professor of atmospheric science, MIT
"The trouble with end-of-the-world environmental scenarios is that they hide evidence-based diagnoses and exile practical solutions. Love it or hate it, Apocalypse Never asks us to consider whether the apocalyptic headline of the day gets us any closer to a future in which nature and people prosper.” -- Peter Kareiva, director of the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA, and former chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy
"In this tour de force of science journalism, Michael Shellenberger shows through interviews, personal experiences, vignettes, and case histories that environmental science offers paths away from hysteria and toward humanism. This superb book unpacks and explains the facts and forces behind deforestation, climate change, extinction, fracking, nature conservation, industrial agriculture, and other environmental challenges to make them amenable to improvements and solutions." -- Mark Sagoff, author of The Economy of the Earth
"We environmentalists condemn those with antithetical views of being ignorant of science and susceptible to confirmation bias. But too often we are guilty of the same. Shellenberger offers ‘tough love:’ a challenge to entrenched orthodoxies and rigid, self-defeating mindsets. Apocalypse Never serves up occasionally stinging, but always well-crafted, evidence-based points of view that will help develop the ‘mental muscle’ we need to envision and design not only a hopeful, but an attainable, future.” -- Steve McCormick, former CEO, The Nature Conservancy and former President of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
"Michael Shellenberger loves the Earth too much to tolerate the conventional wisdom of environmentalism. This book, born of his passions, is a wonder: a research-driven page turner that will change how you view the world. I wish I'd been brave enough to write it, and grateful that he was." -- Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist at MIT and author of More from Less
"Will declaring a crisis save the planet? The stakes are high, but Michael Shellenberger shows that the real environmental solutions are good for people too. No one will come away from this lively, moving, and well-researched book without a deeper understanding of the very real social challenges and opportunities to making a better future in the Anthropocene." -- Erle Ellis, professor of geography and environmental systems, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and author of Anthropocene: A Very Short Introduction
About the Author
Michael Shellenberger is a Time magazine “Hero of the Environment”; the winner of the 2008 Green Book Award from the Stevens Institute of Technology’s Center for Science Writings; and an invited expert reviewer of the next Assessment Report for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He has written on energy and the environment for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Nature Energy, and other publications for two decades. He is the founder and president of Environmental Progress, an independent, nonpartisan research organization based in Berkeley, California.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
In the early 2000s, Shellenberger became disillusioned with what he saw as dogma and sentimentality in the environmental movement. Activists passed over clear, evidence-based solutions, sometimes even opposing them. This led him and fellow dissident Ted Norhaus to co-found the Breakthrough Institute and pen the heretical essay, "The Death of Environmentalism."
For the past two decades, Shellenberger has matured and proliferated his contrarian ideas into lectures, essays, tweets, books, and even his campaign for California governor in 2018. In a way, Apocalypse Never is the culmination of this apostasy.
It's clear that the author is a dedicated environmentalist. There are serious environmental issues, including climate change, but there are also serious issues in the environmental movement, such as the rejection of nuclear, a uniquely promising energy technology. His writing exudes a passion for both helping the environment and helping the movement accomplish its goals.
The writing is overstretched at times. On the topic I know most about, meat production, Shellenberger's chapter can feel like cherry-picking or missing the forest for the trees. There are plenty of exaggerations about animal-free food as a panacea, and I agree with the author's critique of the environmental benefits of "grass-fed," but there is also a clear moral impetus to reform the food system, for both climate efficiency reasons and to end the suffering of over 100 billion animals suffering on factory farms at any given time.
Still, the potential of Apocalypse Never is clear. In 1962, Silent Spring provided the environmental movement what it needed: national attention and awareness of the problems. 58 years later, there are some glaring problems with the modern environmental movement. The bottleneck is no longer simply more attention—it is advocating for tractable, evidence-based solutions that can address Earth's climate despite the turbulent political climate. Apocalypse Never directly addresses this challenge.
I don't know that I would agree with the author on many issues, but it is refreshing to hear from someone with expertise on the subject and not just drinking the Kool-Aid or bowing to the pressure from the power hungry fear-mongers.
I wish everyone would pull their heads out of (the sand ? other ?) wherever and read this book, especially students and educators who have blindly bought into all the propaganda.