Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Next book

I have not read Val's suggestion, so The Blue Flower it is.

June/July's suggestion

Hi. Val has asked me to post her suggestion for June/July. It's "The Blue Flower" by Penelope Fitzgerald. If Valerie has already read it, Val will choose something else.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Notes of various sorts

OK, so that's sorted. Val to choose June/July, Valerie for August/September, and Helen S for October/November.

As to Field Notes... Like Valerie, I found it very informative, but scary. It seems so unrelenting. I did find the bit where the one town has turned things around to be deeply hopeful, but the problem seems to be getting people willing rather than able. I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse! Knowing we COULD be doing things that we're not... hmmm... I very much hope that we will produce a global response and not just retreat into self-interest. It seems such a waste to me - that humanity has so many skills which are not currently being devoted to this problem. I found especially chilling the following: "you know, somebody will visit in a few hundred million years and find there were some intelligent beings who lived here for a while, but they just couldn't handle the transition from being hunter-gatherers to high technology". And the other point that really struck me was the observation that normally with a scientific issue, the public are more panicked than the experts. Here, it's the reverse. So I'm glad I read it, given the situation is what it is, but it was scarcely comfortable reading. What about the rest of you?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Climate, the science

Elizabeth Kolbert's book can hardly be said to be enjoyable, but it is a lively and concise account of the fairly current science behind the climate change concerns. Much of the information is found in the DVD by Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth. Both highlight the problems of getting America and its soul mate Australia to cooperate. Both author and presenter are American. Interestingly, the American population are beginning to take their own initiative to change behaviours, maybe in a small way, in spite of their government. She presents a very persuasive argument to encourage us to take the almost overwhelming problem seriously. One could feel quite hopeless when the huge increase of coal to fuel the burgeoning Chinese economy is considered. However, I was left with the feeling that China has not closed its mind to seeking out solutions while still growing economically, so the scientists are on to it and solutions there are likely to be. But then, the irreversible temperature rise already in the pipeline could cause major flooding and extreme weather and....

It is a sobering thought that while we are in danger of thinking that whatever we do will be negated by China's economic expansion which is creating so much carbon dioxide, we happily allow our businesses to outsource to China for economic reasons, thus increasing the output of their coal burning power stations. A touch hypocritical I fear.