A Better World is Possible
Review by Francesca Baker
“Catastrophe is inevitable,” says author Bruce Nixon. Climate change, peak everything, destruction of the ecosystem, poverty and economic injustice, violence, war, terrorism and the threat of nuclear annihilation: the combination of them all threatens to engulf our world. These problems are not ones that can be solved by plasters and short-term measures, but a change in perspective; a “whole system change,” in Nixon’s words.
In this punchy and powerful book, climate change and sustainability activist Nixon argues that a global perspective of growth and prosperity that focuses purely on money will only lead to disaster. “We need a shift from an economy that consumes us to one that serves people and planet,” he states, and it is malaise and ‘system blindness’ that stops real change being made. Despite knowing that we are already consuming 30% more than Earth can provide, that 87% of the UK population believes the country is ‘too materialistic’ and that the global population is set to soar, change is slow in coming.
Nixon’s book recognises that alternatives to the current economic and political structures exist, that wealth disparities and debt are not inevitable, and that environmental destruction is not an enabler of human progression. He saturates the book with facts and figures to prove this.
With resources and suggestions for action at the end of each chapter, the book offers hope and an alternative to grim reality, if people are willing to act. What marks this book out from others on the same themes is the stark clarity with which it displays the interlocking relationships between the various crises faced by humanity; climate, energy, food, and financial.
Its message that sustainable development and environmental support is not something that can be pursued as a side project or only when convenient, but is necessary to meet the needs of generations of people, plants and places, is one that is gaining traction and even becoming ‘fashionable’. Nixon’s book is an easily digestible discussion on the subject.