I've been finding hope in strange places for a while now. This year my editor Kathy (praise her with great praise) assigned me four books to write for high school libraries. Thus began my "hippie books" as my daughter calls them, or my "green books" as I was inspired to call them when trying to pitch a new title to yet another press. (Word so far: nope. Back to the kayak and re-think that particular book proposal while commuting out to Flower Island and back."
Writing the hippie books, or the green books, meant reading a number of other books currently available in order to find quotes to include in the text. It's amazing the statements that will be accepted by my editor (praise her) when they're a quote from someone else. I can't tell oil company executives, "You should be ashamed." But I can sure quote someone else's book in which an expert does exactly that at a public hearing. And in the bibliography, I have to include books I used for reference and for quotes, even if the title is an inflammatory statement that I could never get into the text, as in Edwin Black's Internal Combustion: How Corporations And Governments Addicted The World To Oil And Derailed The Alternatives.
One of the books I read was a copy I picked up at Bolen Books. Hardcover. Don't boggle. Yes, I buy fewer than a dozen books a year, though I read between two and three hundred at the library. But after hearing podcasts of Gwynne Dyer talking on CBC Radio's program Ideas for three hours on his book Climate Wars, I had to have a print copy to flip through to get the exact quotes needed for my green book on Biofuels.
Now that I'm done with Climate Wars, I handed it on to my partner Bernie, who handed it on to John. And if you look on the Twitter for our shared blog kayakyak.blogspot.com you can see that now John believes we as a species are doomed. Doomed, I tells ya, he adds with a wry grin.
Is John falling into despair? Heaven forbid. This book gave me real hope. We'll have to get John the podcast of Ideas with the special guest James Lovelock. The line that opens that show is Lovelock saying, There's just no way that I can see more than twenty percent of us surviving at the end of the century.
That statement gave me even more hope.
To think that within ninety years, there may be as many as twenty percent surviving of the teeming billions of us now alive... wow. That's the best prognosis we've had in forty years. Anyone who doesn't think so just hasn't been paying attention. And with the news this month of the USA and Russia signing an agreement to reduce their nuclear arms stockpile by a third, well, I'm celebrating. There is real, honest hope to be had for the future. And my hope is restored by writing my green books, my small part in making accessible the knowledge needed for that future.