The world encompuses a variety of places that have a unique set of of features whether that is the way the seasons change or lack of change, variety of biological life, temperature, etc. As mankind writes its way through history, will they decide to disconcern themselves with the man made damage to their environment and lead themselves to an inevitable fate or chose to make a change to the damage. This is what I saw as the purpose of Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway’s book, The Collapse of Civilization. One of the main problems with the issue of climate change is no one knows how to fully handle the capacity of the environmental impact that is expected. Usually when people talk about who is to blame for the lack of progress in climate change, they use the government but all of Americans to take responsibility for making change. The book's use of naming dates of the present now in a historical context can allow readers to understand more of the environmental impact they have created.
Reading this book, although fictional, gives the same impression as reading a textbook but from the future. In today’s era, looking back on history within the past 50 years or so is still pretty recent despite American’s push to move to the future. The point hit pretty early that it was from the future because it gave a name to the time around the 70s. The book read, “In the 1970s, scientists began to recognize that human activities were changing the physical and biological functions of the planet in consequential ways- giving rise to the Anthropocene Period of geological history.” (3) Personally it is a little startling thinking of this time only about 40 years ago, of which many people today were alive. Yet as we progress in the novel it becomes more frightening surpassing our time by 40 years to 300 years. To look at the futures unknown is much more frightening than looking what has already been done in the past. “The year 2009 is viewed as the ‘last best chance’ the Western world had to save itself,” (7). This was quite chilling because the time in reality has surpassed 2009 and yet Americans have yet to really make any drastic change still. It leaves one to question whether Western civilization can still be saved. At this point, reading this information might really awaken some readers to realize that the demise of Western civilization could be upon us is a damning point for some. Others while they may not be convinced of this fact, would at least have the idea in their minds that this could be real.
When working through the timeline of everything unfolding, it seems to quickly escalate but with the dates it keeps readers engaged to possibly a more realistic situation. One of the best parts of this book, is that the authors used valid predictions that are/were made in today’s age and then . An example of this is, “In 2001, the IPCC had predicted that atmospheric CO2 would double by 2050… that benchmark was met by 2042.” (24) The predicted information comes from real books and website, which can be more disturbing but also gives the idea of these predictictions becoming real.
So the use of dates and naming the times we live in now really helps to motivate readers at least be aware of the impact and hopefully to want to make change. Americans want the most control of their future possible, and I think this book helps to illustrate what some may consider a worst-case scenario. I think if a reader decides to read this book then they have some interest in the climate change and its effects, and this book further narrates that interest. Through science fiction, the information neither needs to be correct or . This is not like the story about those who could walk away from Omelas because although it speaks to the collapse of Western civilization, this would be a global catastrophe.