The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

 The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green.  This book is based on a podcast and the subtitle “Essays on a human-centered planet” is of great help to understand the purpose of this book as the word ‘anthropocene’ could lead one to believe this book is about geology. It is not. 

This book is more like a private  conversation with someone who shares his more sincere and deep beliefs and ideas about a multitude of themes that are all related to the role of human activities on our planet. 

It is often said that humans have a considerable impact on climate and on nature and wildlife. Some others argue that in the long term, human activities will only harm humans, which is probably true. In the scale of geological times, our planet will be capable of recovering and healing itself of any harm done. However what the author wants to do in this book is to analyze the true and sometimes mistakenly ignored impact of human activities on our understating of the word.

The book is organized as a series of essays and in fact, all are independent of each other and can be read in any order, and many of them can be skipped without doing any harm.

The author analyzes how acquaintances that we make throughout the years, continue being an influence on us, despite time and distance, and despite not being in touch with them for long periods of time.  Is it true that we are the result of our interactions with other people? It seems so. However friends are like a river: you meet and enjoy them for brief moments in life and then later in the future, sometimes people change because –like a river– our interactions with other people also flows and evolves. And no matter how much you think you are the same person, the river flows. Still refreshing and relaxing and fun, but at the same time everything is different. Understand? It doesn’t matter.

I have the feeling that the word ‘anthropocene’ is a bit misleading. And the reason is that, yes human activity affects our planet but it does so in a way that ultimately will be harmful to our species.

Humans are everywhere on the planet, and in all climates. Somehow we managed to be a very resilient species, but we are not that dominant in the large biological scale. In terms of biomass, humans have just a minimal contribution. Even the total biomass of all mammals and all fish on earth can’t compete with the total biomass of arthropods, which  are many different kinds of invertebrate animals including   insects, spiders, butterflies, etc.

Throughout the book the author shares his reflections on how different things affect his life in one way or another. As a reader, I couldn’t avoid feeling identified several times.  However the way the author frames some themes, makes me think that he lives in a rich western soft bubble in which a stressful experience is someone who has to  drive sixteen hours to a new house that he bought before being thirty years old. Also looks like he gets all the information off the internet with no real reference from people that could be completely different from his acquaintances. Truth is,  many people will never own a house. Many people will do all the right things and still will fail, despite their hard work and struggles. Real life events are far more complex than what the book suggests, but as I said before, this book is just like a conversation. Can’t give any specifics,  because the book diverges in so many directions, just like real and informal conversations. Just sit and enjoy a few chapters.

error: Content is protected !!
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap