Apocalyptic environmentalism is the dominant secular religion of elites.
MLLG Book Review
Apocalypse Never by Michael Shellenberger
By: George Noga – August 16, 2020
This is only the second book review I have published in 13 years. For inquisitive minds, the first was The Secret Knowledge by David Mamet (still an excellent read); that post was so long ago, it is not on our website. For bracing summer reading, while sheltering from coronavirus, you can do no better than Apocalypse Never, published by Harper and available from Amazon as an e-book for $14.99. A more in-depth review published by The Wall Street Journal also is available online.
As you may infer by my posting a book review, Apocalypse Never is one of the best books I have read in years. It appeals to everyone regardless of their beliefs about climate change and the environment. Michael Shellenberger is a lifelong, unabashed green activist; nevertheless, I found myself agreeing with everything he wrote. No matter where you stand on climate/environmental issues, this book is a must read!
Michael Shellenberger is singularly qualified to write this book. He became a green activist while a teenager, raising money for the Rainforest Action Network. Time magazine named him a “Hero of the Environment”. In 2008 he won the “Green Book Award” for science writing. In 2002 he proposed the New Apollo Project, a precursor of the Green New Deal, which garnered $150 billion from the Obama Administration.
He has campaigned to promote renewable energy, stop global warming and numerous other environmental causes. His publication credits include The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post to name a few. In 2019 the UN-IPCC invited him to be an expert reviewer of its next assessment report. In January 2020 he testified before Congress about the state of climate science. In short, Shellenberger may be the most qualified person on this planet to write about environmentalism.
The final chapter in his book, False Gods for Lost Souls, is the most poignant; in that chapter, Shellenberger posits that: “Environmentalism today is the dominant secular religion of the educated, upper-middle-class elite. . . . It provides a new story about our collective and individual purpose. It designates good guys and bad guys, heroes and villains. And it does so in the language of science, which provides it legitimacy. . . . Apocalyptic environmentalism . . . has replaced God with nature. Under apocalyptic environmentalism, sin stems from our failure to adjust to nature, rather than to God.
Shellenberger goes on: “Secular people are attracted to apocalyptic environmentalism because it meets some of the same psychological and spiritual needs as Judeo-Christianity and other religions. Apocalyptic environmentalism gives people a purpose: to save the world from climate change, or some other environmental disaster. It provides people a story that casts them as heroes. . . . at the same time, apocalyptic environmentalism does all this while retaining the illusion among its adherents that they are people of science and reason, not superstition and fantasy.”
Apocalypse Never excels at blending science, research data, history of the green movement, biopics of its leaders and his personal observations from extensive travels around the globe. He masterfully fuses gripping vignettes about real people in third world countries on the front lines of the environmental crises du jour. His unbiased and incisive logic in dissecting issues at the heart of climate change is a tour de force. Make no mistake, Shellenberger remains a committed environmental advocate, but one whose ideas are worthy of respect from those on all sides of the issues.
The author concludes by offering hope – an incredibly rare commodity in these days of doom and gloom about climate change and the environment. Shellenberger demonstrates that most of the fear mongering about climate change is wrong and that there is more reason for optimism than pessimism about the environment.