Fighting for Love in the Century of Extinction: How Passion and Politics Can Stop Global Warming

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UPNE, 2007 - Nature - 164 pages
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The central idea in Fighting for Love in the Century of Extinction is simple: Unchecked, global warming threatens to destroy one of every two animals, birds, plants, reptiles, forests, fish and other creatures alive today on the earth. This looming ecological collapse will only be arrested if we can articulate and embrace what the natural world means to each of us, and then fight a series of hard political battles to preserve creation. On a subject about which it is easy to feel despair, Goodstein offers a realistic, ambitious, and hopeful political solution to avoid a century of mass extinction, a vision grounded in a moral view that embraces the interconnection of all life forms on the planet.

Emerging from his work as both an economist and a leader in the clean energy movement, this passionate book sets a new frame for helping Americans understand global warming as the challenge of our generation.

Weaving personal narrative with scientific facts, Goodstein begins with an overview of the current global warming crisis. In Chapters 2 and 3 (“Wealth” and “Knowledge”) he explores the question of whether the scale of mass extinction we are beginning to witness in the 21st century has more ominous implications for human welfare than it did in the 20th century. By destroying so much of creation,will we destroy the foundation of our own material prosperity? By tearing out so many pages in the book of life, are we depriving future generations of a vast store of knowledge? In “Spirit,” he stresses the need to re-spiritualize the way we talk about the natural world. Without an effective moral language that reflects our deeply felt love of nature and its diversity, effective political action is impossible.

“Politics” argues that if we are to hold global heating to the manageable, low end, Americans must stabilize emissions of global warming pollutants and begin to invest tens of billions of dollars every year in clean-energy technology solutions for the future. Stabilizing the climate requires strong leadership from the federal government —we must elect clean-energy leaders into the Senate, the House, and the Oval Office in the next few years. How to do this, by becoming involved in electoral politics, is the subject of the final chapter,“Solutions.”

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About the author (2007)

EBAN GOODSTEIN is Professor of Economics, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon and author of The Trade-Off Myth: Fact and Fiction About Jobs and the Environment (1999) and Economics and the Environment, now in its fifth edition. He is the Project Director of Focus the Nation, a major educational initiative that coordinates teams of faculty, students, and staff at over a thousand colleges, universities, and high schools in the United States, to engage in a nationwide discussion on “Global Warming Solutions for America.”

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