Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Curbing the Apocalypse

Back in September of last year I wrote a post on climate change and complained about there being a lack of good speculative fiction dealing with the issue. My friend and frequent collaborator, Ahimsa Kerp, politely suggested I read The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (it only won the Hugo and Nebula awards—how could I possibly have known about it?). The book is set in the near future when the global oil supply is for all intents and purposes gone, and rising temperatures have resulted in higher sea levels and a global food crisis. Huge agricultural corporations hold the world hostage with their genetically altered seed supplies, and combat independent nations with designer pests and blights.

When you consider the mounting evidence of climate change and hear more and more about real-life corporations like Monsanto snuffing out local farmers to gain a monopoly on the world's seed supply, Bacigalupi's vision seems awfully prescient. Reading this great novel, along with having recently read Bill McKibben's Eaarth and State of the World by the non-profit World Watch Institute, I can't help but feel a greater urgency to make changes in how we live—to try and save the world from ecological disaster, or if nothing else, be more prepared when the apocalypse does arrive. So, without further ado, I present to you:

How to be Self-reliant and Environmentally Responsible (without being a pussy or dirty hippy, not that there there's nothing wrong with that...)