Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Review: The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjørn Lomborg

My brother lent me his copy of The Skeptical Environmentalist. After both reading State of Fear by Michael Crichton, we read several of the books that Crichton listed in his bibliography. So far, The Skeptical Environmentalist has been the best. As my brother described it, this book is an almanac of statistics on controversial topics.

The essential premise of the book is that conditions in the world are getting better. The author examines numerous objective ways to measure the state of the world and in almost every instance concludes that we are better off now than our predecessors were. The data also indicates that these trends will continue into the future. Its focus and methodology remind me very much of The Ultimate Resource 2 by Julian Simon (which inspired Lomborg to study and then publish this book.)

I highly recommend this book. My simple summary would be: Don't be afraid because human ingenuity can solve the world's problems. All we have to do is rationally evaluate the various challenges we face and triage the results. Or, to paraphrase a great statement (from an unrelated book), "The earth is for the use of man that he might have in abundance"

1 comment:

James Aach said...

FYI: If you like books that tend to counter the prevailing orthodoxy, you might want to take a look at “Rad Decision”, a techno-thriller novel on nuclear power by a longtime engineer (me) available at no cost at http://RadDecision.blogspot.com. One of the reader’s comments on the front page compared it favorably with "State of Fear”.