Four Must-Read Books to be a better environmentalist and conservationist

OPINION: Today’s environmental movement has become largely focused on climate change and alarmist statistical models based on disputed assumptions. But there is a real case to be made for the preservation and conservation of our environment. These books will help you distinguish the signal from the noise.

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4- The Skeptical Environmentalist, by Bjorn Lomborg

The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World:  Lomborg, Bjørn: 9780521010689: Amazon.com: Books

“In The Skeptical Environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg challenges widely held beliefs that the global environment is progressively getting worse. Using statistical information from internationally recognized research institutes, Lomborg systematically examines a range of major environmental issues and documents that the global environment has actually improved. He supports his argument with over 2900 footnotes, allowing discerning readers to check his sources.

Lomborg criticizes the way many environmental organizations make selective and misleading use of scientific data to influence decisions about the allocation of limited resources. The Skeptical Environmentalist is a useful corrective to the more alarmist accounts favored by green activists and the media”, from Lomborg.com

3- Apocalypse Never, by Michael Schellenberger 

Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All eBook:  Shellenberger, Michael: Amazon.ca: Kindle Store

“Climate change is real but it’s not the end of the world. It is not even our most serious environmental problem.

Michael Shellenberger has been fighting for a greener planet for decades. He helped save the world’s last unprotected redwoods. He co-created the predecessor to today’s Green New Deal. And he led a successful effort by climate scientists and activists to keep nuclear plants operating, preventing a spike of emissions.

But in 2019, as some claimed “billions of people are going to die,” contributing to rising anxiety, including among adolescents, Shellenberger decided that, as a lifelong environmental activist, leading energy expert, and father of a teenage daughter, he needed to speak out to separate science from fiction.

Despite decades of news media attention, many remain ignorant of basic facts. Carbon emissions peaked and have been declining in most developed nations for over a decade. Deaths from extreme weather, even in poor nations, declined 80 percent over the last four decades. And the risk of Earth warming to very high temperatures is increasingly unlikely thanks to slowing population growth and abundant natural gas.

Curiously, the people who are the most alarmist about the problems also tend to oppose the obvious solutions.

What’s really behind the rise of apocalyptic environmentalism? There are powerful financial interests. There are desires for status and power. But most of all there is a desire among supposedly secular people for transcendence. This spiritual impulse can be natural and healthy. But in preaching fear without love, and guilt without redemption, the new religion is failing to satisfy our deepest psychological and existential needs”, from Harper Collins

Quote from Apocalypse Never:

“The trouble with the new environmental religion is that it has become increasingly apocalyptic, destructive, and self-defeating. It leads its adherents to demonize their opponents, often hypocritically. It drives them to seek to restrict power and prosperity at home and abroad. And it spreads anxiety and depression without meeting the deeper psychological, existential, and spiritual needs its ostensibly secular devotees seek.”

― Michael Shellenberger, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All

2- Heaven and Earth, by Ian Plimer 

Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science - 9781589794726

“Climate, sea level, and ice sheets have always changed, and the changes observed today are less than those of the past. Climate changes are cyclical and are driven by the Earth’s position in the galaxy, the sun, wobbles in the Earth’s orbit, ocean currents, and plate tectonics. In previous times, atmospheric carbon dioxide was far higher than at present but did not drive climate change. No runaway greenhouse effect or acid oceans occurred during times of excessively high carbon dioxide. During past glaciations, carbon dioxide was higher than it is today. The non-scientific popular political view is that humans change climate. Do we have reason for concern about possible human-induced climate change?

This book’s 504 pages and over 2,300 references to peer-reviewed scientific literature and other authoritative sources engagingly synthesize what we know about the sun, earth, ice, water, and air. Importantly, in a parallel to his 1994 book challenging “creation science,” Telling Lies for God, Ian Plimer describes Al Gore’s book and movie An Inconvenient Truth as long on scientific “misrepresentations.” “Trying to deal with these misrepresentations is somewhat like trying to argue with creationists,” he writes, “who misquote, concoct evidence, quote out of context, ignore contrary evidence, and create evidence ex nihilo”, from Rowman & Littlefield

1 – False Alarm, by Bjorn Lomborg 

False Alarm by Bjorn Lomborg | Hachette Book Group

“Hurricanes batter our coasts. Wildfires rage across the American West. Glaciers collapse in the Artic. Politicians, activists, and the media espouse a common message: climate change is destroying the planet, and we must take drastic action immediately to stop it. Children panic about their future, and adults wonder if it is even ethical to bring new life into the world.

Enough, argues bestselling author Bjorn Lomborg. Climate change is real, but it’s not the apocalyptic threat that we’ve been told it is. Projections of Earth’s imminent demise are based on bad science and even worse economics. In panic, world leaders have committed to wildly expensive but largely ineffective policies that hamper growth and crowd out more pressing investments in human capital, from immunization to education.

False Alarm will convince you that everything you think about climate change is wrong — and points the way toward making the world a vastly better, if slightly warmer, place for us all”, from Basic Books

Quotes from False Alarm:

“When politicians and campaigners talk about extremely drastic climate policies, they don’t acknowledge, and perhaps don’t even realize, that those policies have a cost to society vastly greater than the costs of the damage they are trying to avoid…Climate policies have a small upside (that we should exploit) and a potentially very large downside.” -p. 160, 162-3

[…]

The fracking innovation was not intended as climate policy, but simply as a way to make the United States more energy independent and richer. But it also turned out to have a huge climate change benefit, because gas became cheaper than coal…This is the main reason why the United States has seen the largest reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of any nation over the past decade.” -pp. 170-1

― Bjorn Lomborg

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