Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thomas Friedman's 'Hot, Flat and Crowded' scarier than anything by Stephen King

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - Forget the scary movies on the circuit and whatever the latest Stephen King novel offers up to give you a fright.

Instead, have some real life terror. Read Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman, a book that chronicles a future that is, well, terrifying.

The New York Times columnist has spent years traveling the globe, observing the economies of the world and now has come to the conclusion that global warming, the exponential growth of the earth's population and the flattening of the world are combining to deliver a catastrophe.

No, make that a series of catastrophes.

Friedman book
Book jacket

am only half-way through the book and already I am convinced we made a mistake by not paying more attention to Paul Ehlich's The Population Bomb, written decades ago. His predictions of famine and other problems were averted thanks to a green revolution and advances in technology.

It won't happened again, he says.

Friedman's contention isn't just that the world is already overpopulated and headed to more crowding. He says that the biggest problem we face is that most of the world is working towards - and well on its way - to becoming just like Americans, in energy consumption and in attitudes about the environment.

Polar bear
Polar bear on his personal ice floe

Friedman's scariest passages relate to global warming, and, as the movie The Day After Tomorrow predicted, climate change is happening faster than even the most gloomy of doomsters predicted just a few years ago.

Let's hope it doesn't happen as fast as it did in that film.

Hot, Flat and Crowded is recommended reading.

At least I think so.

The Day After Tomorrow
Scene from The Day After Tomorrow

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