NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Wednesday, January 21, 2009

HOT, FLAT AND CROWDED

by Thomas L. Friedman



It was an accident that I finished up Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America on the day of Barack Obama's inauguration, but it also seemed appropriate. I spent much of this book feeling like we're doomed. Humans on the whole are too selfish to care about the damage we are causing. Far be it from us to inconvenience ourselves for the sake of some polar bears and villages of poor people we'll never see. I was pretty down. Then came Jan. 20, 2009. Say what some will about Obama, here are my feelings: He may or may not be as extraordinary as many of us think he is and he may be nothing but a lot of rhetoric. But that rhetoric makes me personally want to be a better person, to care for others and our planet. He makes me want to live as one nation and one people while embracing our differences, and he makes me want to learn and intellectually explore beyond my comfort zone. And it appears there are at least a few million others all over the world who feel the same way. How can that possibly be a bad thing?

And how is that related to this book? Fixing the problems on this planet, environmental and otherwise, will take more than a few activists. It will take more that just the government and more than just America. It will take all of us, everywhere. And for that, we need to start by putting aside "I" and "me" and "mine" and reach out to that person and that culture we don't quite understand. And in the words of our new President, "Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations." Let's make sure we include a healthy planet to go along with that freedom.



12 comments:

joanna said...

Yes, the inauguration was closely followed from everywhere and people are relieved and hopeful. Thankfully most also realise there it's not possible for one man to accomplish everything that we collectively expect. :-)

Sounds like a depressing book Lezlie! I'm not sure I need to be more depressed about people so I might give this one a miss...

Lezlie said...

Joanna ~ Friedman gives a lot of great ideas to solve the problems, but I'm just enough of a pessimist that I kept thinking, "Yeah, good luck getting people to do *that*." I need to work on that. . . :-) Maybe read it after we have a chance to see how things go for a while. I'll bet it will seem a lot more achievable. We might even be on our way!

Lezlie

Lezlie

verbatim said...

Sounds like you had the same reaction to this book that my husband did, Lezlie. He's told me and our children that we MUST read it, and he's very seldom that excited about a book (although he reads a lot). It's on my list for later this year.

Lezlie said...

Verbatim ~ I agree! If I ran the zoo, this would be required reading for everyone. :-)

Lezlie

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Mr. RR read this one and thought it was excellent. And I agree re: Obama....how can a sense of optimism possibly be bad????

Lezlie said...

Michele ~ It was really good, but a hard pill to swallow. I did learn a lot. Not the optimism, the book. :-)

Lezlie

Charley said...

I'm glad that Obama's words inspire you. Certainly, so many expect so much from him, and we can't know what the future will bring, but I think hope and optimism are so important.

Lezlie said...

Charley ~ Especially now. Of course, we can't just be optimistic and then do nothing about it. :-)

Lezlie

Literary Feline said...

This sounds like an interesting and timely book, Lezlie. It's so easy to wish things were different, but inaction doesn't get anyone anywhere, does it? We all need to work together and do something.

Lezlie said...

Literary Feline ~ It just came out in September, so it's got nearly all the latest info in it. And working together is definitely the key!

Lezlie

Andi said...

Very nicely put! His inauguration speech really put a stamp on things, and I was particularly moved by his environmental comments. Yay teamwork!

Lezlie said...

Andi ~ Friedman doesn't talk about any candidates in his book, but some of the ideas sounded so much like what we'd heard from Obama during the campaign that I kept expecting the book to end with, "That's why you should all vote for Barack Obama." :-)

Lezlie