“To Reach the Spring: From Complicity to Consciousness in the Age of Eco-Crisis” by Nathaniel Popkin— Facing a Crisis

Popkin, Nathaniel. “To Reach the Spring: From Complicity to Consciousness in the Age of Eco-Crisis”, New Door Books, 2020.

Facing a Crisis

Amos Lassen

In “To Reach the Spring: From Complicity to Consciousness in the Age of Eco-Crisis”, Nathaniel Popkin issues a call for us to look at our complicity in the Earth’s destruction.

We are now facing an escalating eco-crisis and yet society has failed to act. Have we thought of how we will explain this to the generations to come? What are the reasons for the widespread passivity? Nathaniel Popkin looks at the moral, social, and psychological dimensions of the crisis and gives us a path for the future. I really enjoyed his philosophical approach to climate change and how he uses examples of other crises in human history. By looking at the major reasons for the climate crisis, he gives us a place from which to rally. He explains the outsize political influence of fossil fuel companies to consumer culture and uses his own experience working for an environmental group where he learned that activism is often ineffective. He refers to my own philosopher hero, Hannah Arendt and her idea of the “banality of evil to show that “silence and inaction about climate change is morally unacceptable.” He goes on to show how the medieval world reacted to the Black Death, and (through the works of Italo Calvino, Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, and more). He shares  that concrete solutions to the climate crisis are beyond his realm of thought and tells us that we must push others who are concerned about the environment to channel their concerns to act. Above all, he gives his perspective on how to think about and face climate change/

Popkin questions how we can continue as we are while everyday there are disasters of climate change. It seems that we are resistant to our own roles and complicity in climate change.

This is a book that has a lot to say and is thought provoking that makes us look carefully within ourselves. In that way we can change the way things are and live in a better and cleaner world. We must change our aims if we are to have a better world for ourselves and for those to come.





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