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Believing Cassandra : An Optimist Looks at a Pessimist's World - 99 edition

Believing Cassandra : An Optimist Looks at a Pessimist`s World (ISBN10: 1890132160; ISBN13: 9781890132163)
ISBN13: 978-1890132163
ISBN10: 1890132160

Summary: Cassandra was the young and beautiful daughter of Priam, the last king of Troy. Apollo bestowed upon Cassandra a special gift -- the ability to see the future. But when she refused his favors, he twisted her gift with a curse, so no one would believe her prophecies. Consultant, raconteur, and musical performer Alan AtKisson sees a parallel between Cassandra's situation and that of today's environmentalists--concerned citizens and scientists who see the world hurtling more toward self-destruction. Is it true that most of the human race could care less about their dire warnings? But stop the hand wringing and let's get to work, says AtKisson. One way or another, by choice or catastrophe, our civilization will discover a sustainable way of life. We can either shape the future with our own creativity and innovation, or let ''nature's strong hand'' bring on the consequences. In a style that's refreshingly candid and vivid with unforgettable personal anecdotes, AtKisson provides us with a bridge passing over the brink of despair to the crest of an enticing future. He enables the reader to join the pioneers who embrace the ideas, techniques, and practices of sustainable living--the people who are ''believing Cassandra.'' The world has raced beyond the limits to growth, putting us in a dangerous stage of ''overshoot.'' The sky is literally falling, and we don't know what to think. Alan AtKisson takes a surprisingly bright view of the apocalypse, and makes it seem like a transformation we might just survive. He re-explores the ancient Greek myth of ''Cassandra's Dilemma'' -- Cassandra had the gift, (some would say curse), to be able to accurately prophesy the future, but no one would believe her. AtKisson sees therein the predicament of modern-day environmentalists, trying to deliver a message that even basically sympathetic citizens don't want to hear. By contrast, AtKisson himself uses the tools of a poet and songwriter, who is also a trained scientist and legendary community organizer, to dramatize the challenges facing us. He works his readers steadily through and beyond the grim predictions of computer models that provided the foundations for two seminal works in environmental literature, The Limits to Growth and Beyond the Limits. In the process, he makes even the arcane language of system dynamics accessible to the technical neophyte. And in the chapter ''Longing for the End of the World,'' AtKisson brings us into direct confrontation with TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as We Know It), and shows why it might not be so bad after all. This startling appraisal provides a lead-in to an entertaining, inspiring discussion of the possibilities for a sustainable future. AtKisson explains the real potential for sustainability in a way that will silence critics who have assailed the fundamental concept of limits to growth since the warning was raised back in 1972. The book ends with some rousingly optimistic scenarios for global transformation. AtKisson, who is a musician, knows that his audience ought to leave the theater humming a tune, and he gives them three to choose from. This is more than lip service. This is genuine imagination and hope. For anyone who has followed the halting and fitful progress of the environmental movement, this book is a must read. Effervescent as champagne, crisp as a fresh garden mesclun, AtKisson has created a lively and believable look at our future. Anyone who is fed up with hearing only about our problems -- holes in the ozone, toxic wastes, and the greenhouse effect -- will take heart from this book. less

Edition/Copyright: 99
Cover: Paperback
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Co.
Published: 09/01/1999
International: No

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