Book recommendation: The Future We Choose

During these strange times of self-isolation and physical distancing, there’s no better chance to catch up on reading. Even better, to read something inspiring and relevant to a world that seems to change with each passing hour.

Our Board Member Charles Hodgson recently came across The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis, by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac. We wanted to share his note with you below.

I’ve been using three words to describe this book:
short, inspiring and crucial.

The authors were handed the shambles of the 2009 UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen and turned them into the 2015 Paris agreement. The word “inspiring” seems redundant. The word “crucial” too.

I say “short” because the book is just 169 pages and not very big pages at that. So it’s possible to read it in one or two sittings. You, yes you, you can read it. You should read it. A short book, yet the scope within its pages is broad.

I was primed in advance to appreciate the book in many ways. The authors host an excellent podcast called Outrage and Optimism which I listen to weekly, so I already knew and loved their voices.

These two are among the most qualified people on the planet when it comes to talking about the dangers of climate change. They’ve come to grips with what we’re facing and I know from other sources that they’ve suffered the emotional trauma of facing the prospect—even the probability—of what’s at risk.

The book deals with that. It accepts and honours the past and the present then looks clear eyed at the pragmatic future. We can do this. We have ten years to halve our emissions. Ten years is enough time to plan what we need to do, then carry out our plan.

Is it just me or has there been more coverage lately of scientific findings on how cognitive behavioral therapy and even meditation actually change our brains? This book reminds us that we can control our attitudes by our own force of will and that in this case doing so, taking on a can-do approach, is essential.

The book then gets down to brass tacks; what you can do today, this week, this month, etc. The authors also slice and dice the tasks we must take on into ten action areas that address both personal emissions and our influence on the direction the greater world takes.

They spend only ten pages on the dire outcome we’re now on track towards, with a larger, more optimistic 14 page emphasis on the wonderful world we can and will achieve. (Really wonderful! Think of all the jobs and creativity involved in remaking our economies and environments the ways we’d like them to be. The way they should be. Inspiring eh?)

So I ask you to please read The Future We Choose. And when you’ve done that evangelize it. Crucial!

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