By Ilio Masprone – Publisher – Knight of the Principality of Monaco for cultural merit

MONACO. It all starts with information: here the reviews of two inspiring books to understand climate change and to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. The first is “There is not Planet B” by Mike Berners-Lee – “Every year a special day indicates the time in which we have already consumed all the resources available to nourish us and our lifestyle. Mike Berners-Lee is one of the main connoisseurs of this paradox, as well as the world’s leading expert on carbon footprint, the energy footprint that we must necessarily adapt to a changing world. There is often an underlying gloom around this concept, as if it were only a matter of sacrifices and renunciations, instead No Planet B is an optimistic book, a guide for those who want to build a more equitable world, starting from what we eat, we buy, we consume. Obviously, everything has a cost in economic terms, and a secret cost. Berners-Lee (who is the brother of Tim, creator of the World Wide Web) makes this cost evident and easy to understand, and he does it with a joyful, enthusiastic approach: it is not too late to change and take back the future.”

The second book “Merchants of Doubts” by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway is about disinformation. In 2014 a movie by Robert Kenner took the audience on a satirical but enlightening journey about a group of charismatic pundits who present themselves to the media as scientific authorities, even if instead they aim to spread the utmost confusion about public threats.

Merchants of doubt a 2014 movie by Robert Kenner


To act it is also necessary to be indignant and few books will make you angry as Merchants of doubts, a fundamental text to understand how complex the relations between science and democracy are and above all how much damage has been done by disinformation. Social change has always been slowed down by economic interests. Oreskes and Conway’s essay reconstructs how large corporations have manipulated research to hinder the political decisions necessary to protect the environment. A story that begins in the 1950s and reaches the age of social media and fake news. Nowadays official science agrees that global warming is real and that it has anthropogenic causes but reaching global consensus has been a complicated road and full of hitches precisely because of the ” merchants of doubts”. 

But now is not the time for despair. Despite the onslaught of climate disasters, there is more momentum for political action now than ever before. Most importantly, 2021 needs to be the year known for acting, individually and collectively, with the urgency and scale the climate crisis demands. In this decisive year I wish you a good read.

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