Making Light of Climate Change

Whenever I discuss Conservation Fitness and turn the subject matter over to climate change, I often get feedback that I am too pessimistic and overshadow my program with doom and gloom. Frankly, climate change is a bit doom and gloom, but I understand people wanting a more light and positive approach to the problem. So when I came across a copy of “The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change” at the library, I immediately thought it might be helpful.

Helpful is not the word for this book. Enlightening. Life-changing. Mind-altering. Those are better words to describe it. I unfortunately had shoved this book in a corner and pulled it out only when the library reminded me I was out of renewals and would need to return it in three weeks. That was a week ago, and I decided I better get on with reading the book. I finished it last night, a mere five days after starting it. I even read the glossary to remind myself of some of the terms that were repeated in the book.

“The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change” does more than take a serious and gloomy subject with a sense of light-heartedness. I mean, to me climate change is no laughing matter. But adding misery to our fear and anxiety doesn’t help anything. And if you can have a decent laugh while reading about a possible tedious subject, the more the information will stick with you. This is where the book excels. Yoram Bauman, author of “The Cartoon Introduction to Economics” is considered the world’s first and only stand-up economist. Bauman isn’t just an economist, though. He teaches environmental studies at universities and high schools. Bauman paired with Grady Klein before for his “Economics” book and they together have made a serious and distressing topic informative, fun, and interesting. To me, that’s the best way to make an impact.

From the first chapter, this book grabbed my attention by making the profound comparison of climate and weather to our personality and mood. Our mood can change from day to day, but our personality should more or less stay fairly steady. Same with climate and weather. The climate should more or less stay within a certain perimeter. The fact that it isn’t, and the trend is warming should be alarming to us all.

I am most appreciative of the authors repeatedly reminding me of terms that are pertinent when discussing climate change. “Positive feedback loop”, “tragedy of the commons”, “business as usual”, and “carbon pricing” were repeated throughout the chapters. Not obnoxiously, but discreetly slipping the term in to remind the reader of how it relates to the problem and the challenge.

This book is so much fun, and so non-condemning to any specific group of people, it is perfect for just about anyone to read for a better understanding of climate change, the impact, and possible solutions. For the environmental activist who wants to get clarity on their argument, this book gives great talking points. For the climate change denier, this book is gentle enough to persuade even the most staunch doubters when it comes to global warming. It would be a perfect, easy read for politicians who are contemplating regulations, taxes, and incentives. It’s even perfect for advanced technical scientists who are looking for better ways to connect to the everyday man.

Is climate change a pressing issue? Yes, and it most certainly demands our attention and focus. But there are tons of boring dull textbooks that teach us about the issue. This book provides the secret weapon we have all been looking for when discussing our role in making a better world for us and our children.

Don’t just borrow this book. Buy this book. Now. Immediately. You’ll thank me for it, and the next generation will thank us for doing something to make a profound difference.


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