The Collapse of the Western Civilization

Although I did not enjoy this book, I did enjoy the style. I thought it was very interesting how the authors Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway placed the setting in the future, and looked back at the way history played out. I think Ted mentioned how these authors’ profession were actually scientists and not authors, which I was apparent through how much information was provided, rather than plot and events occurring. I did not like how very few details were given about the future. But, I appreciated the “Lexicon of Archaic Terms” (glossary) found in the back which defined scientific terms as well as terms the authors made up!

The main focus of this book was to hope that the reader will realize that they have the power to change our environmental effect on the earth. That the needed changes are not too late, until it is too late! “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” (21). The authors explicitly put the blame of governmental officials and greedy corporations (which I agree with). “Thus, to protect personal liberty- political, civic, religious, artistic- economic liberty had to be preserved” (17).They also praise their profession as scientists way too much! “As the world of climate change began to spin out of control and the implications for market failure became indisputable, scientists came under attack, blamed for problems they had not caused, but had documented” (20).

Unfortunately, I did not like the secondary reading either. An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and it Implications for United States National Security by Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall’s article focused on the possible changes that the United States would have to implement in the event of catastrophic climate change. From the introduction, the article is trying to persuade the reader that the effects of climate change are not going to be a destructive as we are led to believe. “First, they suggest the occurrences we outline would most likely happen in a few regions, rather than on globally. Second, they say the magnitude of the event may be considerably smaller” (1). Although their “intent is to dramatize the impact climate change could have on society if we are unprepared for it” (7), Schwartz and Randall make claims throughout the article that the United States will be prepared, and that people from all over the world will try to enter the States, so they can survive. This article just played into the category of “global warming isn’t going to affect me”.

In Australia, the government has banned the use and sale of incandescent lightbulbs. When I mentioned this to my uncle, he was slightly disappointed. He asked me why I supported this ban? And if I really wanted the government restricting what I could and couldn’t buy? My only response to him, was why it was ok to produce and make a profit on a low quality item that isn’t good for the environment or our health. This was a point that was made in the book, in section 3: Market Failure. “Rather, government intervention was required: to raise the market price of harmful products, to prohibit those products, or to finance the development of their replacements” (37). Australia made an effort to reduce emissions toward climate change, they are not being deprived of anything!

Because of the freezing weather:// and the fact that Boston got 6 feet of snow last week, all I have been thinking is climate change… its about to go down!


Scholarly article about Australia’s ban of incandescent light bulbs:


Oreskes, Naomi, and Erik M. Conway. The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the

Future. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Schwartz, Peter, and Doug Randall. An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for

United States National Security. Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, 2003. Web.

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