Environmental perspective meets environmental apocalypse

On the first day of teaching college-level environmental science, I write on the board in large letters, "PERSPECTIVE."  This attention-grabber focuses students on what they need to learn to get a more complete understanding of environmental issues.  They need to discover not just facts and figures, but the sense of those facts and figures from environmental practitioners, both within and outside the ivory towers. 

Perspective is what Michael Shellenberger's bookApocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All (Harper, June 2020), provides at a time when perspective is desperately needed.  In addition to being a Time magazine "Hero of the Environment," and "the winner of the 2008 Green Book Award from the Stevens Institute of Technology's Center for Science Writings," Mr. Shellenberger is "an invited expert reviewer of the next Assessment Report for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." 

Apocalypse Never went to #1 in three categories last weekend on Amazon: Climatology, Environmental Policy, and Human Geography (Books).  So people are taking notice of this author's real-world perspective, and well they should.  I provided each of my two college summer interns with a copy of Apocalypse Never as a gift when they completed their internships.  I encouraged the students to consider the book's concepts along with what they learned from their environmental science and engineering training. 

Individual chapters address popular notions of impending worldwide woes that have been instilled in students and the public alike since at least the 1960s.  Catastrophic climate change, overpopulation, energy crisis, whaling, and plastics are among the pertinent topics carefully reviewed and evaluated.  Mr. Shellenberger relies primarily on historical and academic sources, although he includes interviews with recognized subject-matter experts and those impacted by untoward ecological and economic decisions. 

Apocalypse Never doesn't miss the unmistakable comparison of modern environmentalism with religious practice, noting that it "is the dominant secular religion of the educated, upper-middle-class elite in most developed and many developing nations.  It provides a new story about our collective and individual purpose.  It designates good guys and bad guys, heroes and villains.  And it does so in the language of science, which provides it with legitimacy." 

The book's section on "Environmental Humanism" not only gives a good synopsis of the book as a whole, but proffers a reasonable solution to the misinformation surrounding so much of what we think we know that may not be so

Apocalypse Never identifies familiar, large environmental organizations that accept substantial oil and gas funding while demonizing others for similar and often much less fossil fuel industry support.  These same organizations have waged decades-long campaigns to demonize nuclear power with false comparisons to "the bomb" and shady stats. 

Mr. Shellenberger recently formed a nonpartisan, independent research organization, Environmental Progress, that promotes nuclear energy solutions for much of what ails the environmental and economic conditions the world faces today.  From his many years of real-world experience in third-world countries with pleas from inhabitants in those countries, Mr. Shellenberger makes the case for humane, efficient raising of living standards for the poorest among us. 

His concern for the world's impoverished who could readily be lifted out of their misery through inexpensive, abundant fossil fuels, including the nuclear kind, is an authentic and admirable interest of Mr. Shellenberger.  Yet funding from the United Nations is focused on renewables and promoting energy efficiency to souls that have had to struggle with such "solutions" from their birth.  These folks long to progress to the good life that "progressives" have enjoyed thanks to a history of modern technology, which relies on fossil fuels.  Mr. Shellenberger observes that instead of doing what they can to help poor nations industrialize, many rich nations are "doing something closer to the opposite: seeking to make poverty sustainable rather than to make poverty history." 

Well said!  Neither people nor the planet prospers in poverty.  

Anthony J. Sadar is a certified consulting meteorologist and author of In Global Warming We Trust: Too Big to Fail (Stairway Press, 2016). 

On the first day of teaching college-level environmental science, I write on the board in large letters, "PERSPECTIVE."  This attention-grabber focuses students on what they need to learn to get a more complete understanding of environmental issues.  They need to discover not just facts and figures, but the sense of those facts and figures from environmental practitioners, both within and outside the ivory towers. 

Perspective is what Michael Shellenberger's bookApocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All (Harper, June 2020), provides at a time when perspective is desperately needed.  In addition to being a Time magazine "Hero of the Environment," and "the winner of the 2008 Green Book Award from the Stevens Institute of Technology's Center for Science Writings," Mr. Shellenberger is "an invited expert reviewer of the next Assessment Report for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." 

Apocalypse Never went to #1 in three categories last weekend on Amazon: Climatology, Environmental Policy, and Human Geography (Books).  So people are taking notice of this author's real-world perspective, and well they should.  I provided each of my two college summer interns with a copy of Apocalypse Never as a gift when they completed their internships.  I encouraged the students to consider the book's concepts along with what they learned from their environmental science and engineering training. 

Individual chapters address popular notions of impending worldwide woes that have been instilled in students and the public alike since at least the 1960s.  Catastrophic climate change, overpopulation, energy crisis, whaling, and plastics are among the pertinent topics carefully reviewed and evaluated.  Mr. Shellenberger relies primarily on historical and academic sources, although he includes interviews with recognized subject-matter experts and those impacted by untoward ecological and economic decisions. 

Apocalypse Never doesn't miss the unmistakable comparison of modern environmentalism with religious practice, noting that it "is the dominant secular religion of the educated, upper-middle-class elite in most developed and many developing nations.  It provides a new story about our collective and individual purpose.  It designates good guys and bad guys, heroes and villains.  And it does so in the language of science, which provides it with legitimacy." 

The book's section on "Environmental Humanism" not only gives a good synopsis of the book as a whole, but proffers a reasonable solution to the misinformation surrounding so much of what we think we know that may not be so

Apocalypse Never identifies familiar, large environmental organizations that accept substantial oil and gas funding while demonizing others for similar and often much less fossil fuel industry support.  These same organizations have waged decades-long campaigns to demonize nuclear power with false comparisons to "the bomb" and shady stats. 

Mr. Shellenberger recently formed a nonpartisan, independent research organization, Environmental Progress, that promotes nuclear energy solutions for much of what ails the environmental and economic conditions the world faces today.  From his many years of real-world experience in third-world countries with pleas from inhabitants in those countries, Mr. Shellenberger makes the case for humane, efficient raising of living standards for the poorest among us. 

His concern for the world's impoverished who could readily be lifted out of their misery through inexpensive, abundant fossil fuels, including the nuclear kind, is an authentic and admirable interest of Mr. Shellenberger.  Yet funding from the United Nations is focused on renewables and promoting energy efficiency to souls that have had to struggle with such "solutions" from their birth.  These folks long to progress to the good life that "progressives" have enjoyed thanks to a history of modern technology, which relies on fossil fuels.  Mr. Shellenberger observes that instead of doing what they can to help poor nations industrialize, many rich nations are "doing something closer to the opposite: seeking to make poverty sustainable rather than to make poverty history." 

Well said!  Neither people nor the planet prospers in poverty.  

Anthony J. Sadar is a certified consulting meteorologist and author of In Global Warming We Trust: Too Big to Fail (Stairway Press, 2016).