Little excuse then for not knowing that this book
deals with climate change (global warming) and other matters.
However, you will not find any reference in this book
to 1.5 degrees (or 2 degrees, nor any other temperature measure) of warming.
There are no numbers like 420 ppm or how many Gigatons of carbon dioxide are
emitted per year. No apocalyptic numbers at all.
That is because the authors of this book ask different
questions than do the writers of most other books dealing with these
apocalyptic times. Most other writers are asking questions such as: what does
the science tell us, what are we doing, and what can we do about it?
Wes Jackson and Robert Jensen however, ask: who are
That simple question is far more significant that
those that ask questions of what we have, have not, or will do.
In posing and attempting to answer this fundamental
question, the authors have deliberately chosen the word apocalypse to
form part of the book’s title. The word, the authors note, can have two
meanings, each of which is germane to their thesis.
In contemporary English, apocalypse has the
meaning of something cataclysmic, especially the coming of the end of the
The other meaning is suggested by the word’s
etymology. Jackson and Jensen express it thus: ‘…from the Greek meaning a
lifting of the veil, a disclosure of something hidden from most people, a
coming to clarity.’
This is the message the authors wish to communicate. We
are in cataclysmic times and that, to navigate these times, we must lift the
veil on who we are. We must also gain greater clarity on the character of the systems
we have devised over many hundreds of years.
Jackson and Jensen do not wish to point the finger at human
designed systems and institutions such as capitalism, religion, or other
ideologies, although these may be implicated as ‘accessories to the deed.’
Rather, they wish to walk and talk us through some inconvenient understandings
related to physics, chemistry, and biology. Equipped with these understandings,
the authors would like us all (individually and collectively) to come to
realise that ‘no human system can ignore the forces of the larger living
world, which are far more powerful than we are.’
If you are seeking answers to how to cope in
apocalyptic times, or how to proceed, then you will find very few in this book.
You will, however, be presented with an articulate formulation of many of the
questions that are essential to ask.
Right now, the questions posed by Jackson and Jensen
carry more potency than the answers we are being led to believe will resolve
the predicaments we are in.
That is because we have been asking the wrong
Jackson and Jensen ask new, and inconvenient,
questions. Get the book and start asking the same questions.
1. Wes Jackson & Robert Jensen, An Inconvenient
Apocalypse: Environmental Collapse, Climate Crisis, and the Fate of Humanity, University
of Notre Dame Press, Indiana, 2022.