Michael Mann and Tom Toles have collaborated on a book about climate change entitled “The Madhouse Effect — How climate change denial is threatening our planet, destroying our politics, and driving us crazy.“
Man is the much maligned “Professor Hockey Stick,” the person who dared warn us back before the turn of the century that, left unchecked, global average temperatures would soon begin to rise at an exponential rate. When he graphed it out, the change looked very much like a hockey stick, with the transition between the handle and the blade found near the start of the Industrial Revolution and the blade rising nearly straight up from there.
That hockey stick graph became the basis for Al Gore’s worldwide campaign to reduce global carbon emissions and his movie, An Inconvenient Truth. Both Mann and Gore have been pilloried as kooks and liars by the climate denier movement funded by the Koch Brothers and the rest of their fossil fuel brethren.
Tom Toles is an editorial cartoonist who focuses his talent on exploding the ridiculous myths spread by those in power for the Washington Post and other news organizations. His simple style says with pictures what Mann says with words.
Together, they have assembled a short (150 page) book intended to explain the science behind climate change predictions, expose the forces furiously opposing climate action, and encourage the reader to become personally involved in advocating for vigorous action by our leaders and political institutions.
The purpose of this book report is not to provide an abstract of the book but to motivate you to read it. It is written in clear, declarative sentences that avoid name calling and character assassination — two tactics highly popular with the climate denier network. It offers information, not opinions. And it is fully annotated, so the source of its assertions can be verified — a rarity in today’s free flowing digital conversations that all too often are based on nothing more than speculation and innuendo.
The thesis of the book is best conveyed by the concluding paragraphs. “The most misguided notion spawned by the era of space exploration is, ‘We are going to wreck this planet, so we need to find a new one.” No, the population of the earth will not be moving away to another planet — not in your lifetime, not in your children’s lifetime, and not in your great-great-great-great-grandchildren’s lifetime. Nor will the Earth’s other irreplaceable species be making the move.
“We will not, we cannot, wreck the planet. There is no Plan B. Earth is a rarity of literally cosmic proportions. It is an overflowing treasure chest of life-forms of unimaginable variety and beauty. It is perfectly fitted to us as humans because we evolved to fit it. It would amount to the gravest criminal act of irresponsibility in human history were we to throw it into fatal imbalance because of a wanton addiction to carbon.
“So we have our work before us. We have our task. We have the oceans to preserve. We have the rain forests to protect. We have farmlands and coasts to defend. We have the panoply of spectacular species with which we evolved to shepherd. This is our home. It’s time to start acting like it.”
The book encourages readers to get involved and get over the “What can one person do?” hump. There is a lot one person can do, starting with supporting organizations like 350.org, Greenpeace, or Our Children’s Trust.
Stop voting for people who are captives of the fossil fuel industry. The Tea Party and the Freedom Caucus members are not worried about you. They are clowns bought and paid for by Charles and David Koch and their ilk. All their blather about “smaller government” is code for trashing all environmental regulations so they can continue to rape and pillage the land in pursuit of more wealth, even if it means the earth may no longer be fit for human habitation. Think about that for a moment.
If a book can do all that, don’t you think it is something you should know more about?