December 2002 A Conscious Evolution Newsletter
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Volume 1, Number 4

Opinions presented in Metamorphosis are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others associated with the newsletter.

Book Review:

2030: Confronting Thermageddon
In Our Lifetime, by Bob Hunter

reviewed by Terri Smallwood

In 2030: Confronting Thermageddon In Our Lifetime,
Bob Hunter draws on his lifetime of experiences as a writer, an activist and a self-confessed “energy junkie” who likens his, and the rest of the world’s, reliance on coal and oil to mainlining drugs. The book is nonfiction, but written in an accessible and almost story-like fashion, weaving the hard science about climate change with anecdotes from over 30 years of front-line experience as one of the founding members of Greenpeace. In a direct, journalistic manner, Hunter presents the cold facts that illustrate the lack of political and corporate will to begin the process of weaning from our culture from oil dependence. He does this without coming across as holier-than-thou, even describing himself as an “energy mammoth.” And he makes it clear that despite a lack of direction from the top, individuals do have the ability to empower themselves to fight climate change and global warming.

Much of the book is written as a letter to Hunter’s grandson, Dexter, who will come of age in 2030, the year that environmental scientists predict that the burning off of the planet’s ozone layer and the melting of the polar ice caps will have become so extreme as to be irreversible. The effects of these changes would be apocalyptic in nature. Hunter, as media-savvy as he is eco-smart, coins the term “Thermageddon,” a loaded phrase that doesn’t pussyfoot around the problem the way the ubiquitous “global warming” or “climate change” do. Writing to Dexter, he says, “There is no need for me to qualify the prediction that your fate will be shaped overwhelmingly by a change in biosphere, a horribly debased stripped, bleached, leached world. I don’t know which term will become the chosen phrase to describe the overall effect, but if Thermageddon doesn’t take, I suspect it will sound something like industrial weather, climate decay, climate collapse, climate rot, climate cancer, climate tumor - sub-human mutant world.”

Don’t be fooled by the occasionally distracting hyperbole. Hunter knows his stuff. Even the most conservative findings of teams of international scientists are enough to prove Hunter’s contention that we are standing on the brink between a near-miss and an irrevocable ecological disaster. He compares the fight to stop the petroleum giants - and the governments that support them - to the fight to ban nuclear testing, a fight for which he stood at the forefront as a member of the crew of the Phyllis Cormack, a fishing vessel sent to Alaska in 1971 to protest American nuclear testing. A Vancouver-based journalist at the time, Hunter recognized the value of the dramatic television footage of a small fishing vessel heading into a military testing zone. He knew the power of images has often been key to capturing public attention, just as the spectacular and compelling footage of a mushroom cloud bursting over the Arizona desert had been significant in mobilizing Americans to press for an end to tests in that southwestern state. Now, Hunter bemoans the lack of equally dramatic media images to urge us up from our T.V. sets, out of our SUVs, and off of oil’s slick teat.

Despite the dire imagery and the tight timelines, Hunter does offer hope. He contends that it is not yet too late to stop the tide, and drawing upon the successful efforts by grassroots organizations and strong-willed individuals to stop nuclear testing and commercial whaling, Hunter urges his readers to begin their own efforts at energy conservation now. It is an uphill battle and Hunter freely admits that. He writes:

“Don’t judge me by my words, which are many,” someone said, “but by my actions, which are few.” And that should be said about all of us here, now, in the belly of the beast, mainlining coal and oil. My vow to you, Dexter, is that I am coming off the stuff as fast as I can. It took me years to learn to stop smoking. It will take a while to learn to stop climate-wrecking.