Some depressing statistics from this month's Harper's Index:
* Minimum number of different books sold in the U.S. last year, as tracked by Nielsen BookScan: 1,446,000
* Number of these that sold fewer that 99 copies: 1,123,000
* Number that sold more than 100,000: 483
Something's gone wrong.
There's also a shrill-but-sobering polemic from Garret Keizer about the ways in which the politics of global warming tends to operate along the fantasy that the technocratic status quo we currently enjoy can somehow be indefinitely maintained at no biospheric or human-ethical cost—taking particular aim at carbon offsets
, as well as how environmental rhetoric can crowd out issues of poverty and distributive justice. It's not online yet, but here's a quote from the end that gets both the point and the tone across:
It is not enough to acknowledge that global warming exists; we also need to ask what global warming means. Surely one thing it means is that a culture that has as its highest aim the avoidance of anything remotely resembling physical work must change its life. If you want an inconvenient truth, there it is: that the very notion of convenience upon which our civilization rests is a lie that is killing us. And if you want to see how quickly green can turn yellow, make mention of that abundant, renewable fuel source whose chief emission is human sweat.
...To put that as succinctly as possible, the days of paradise for a few are drawing to a close. The game of finding someone else in some convenient misery to fight our wars, pull our rickshaws, and serve as the offset for our every filthy indulgence is just about up. It is either Earth for all of us or hell for most of us. Those are the terms, those have always been the terms, and any approach to climate change that begins on those terms can count me as a loyal partisan. Otherwise, don't expect me to get overly excited as to which side of a golf-course heart attack shows the affluent, the educated, the suburban, and the wired a world much hotter than the one they were banking on.