Tim Louis: Ministry for the Future—a book to change our climate future

Kim Stanley Robinson's cli-fi novel had a profound effect on a Vancouver lawyer and former city councillor

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      I have been back from summer vacation now for just over a month. Summer vacation is a time to do reading and I would have blogged about the most incredible book I read this summer immediately upon my return but wanted to write instead about the need for a Canada Disability Benefit and my support for NDP member of Parliament Don Davies.

      I am now finally getting a chance to blog about a terrific book I read in August—The Ministry for the Future, by Kim Stanley Robinson. It is by far the most powerful, educational, and thought-provoking novel I’ve ever read. I am indebted to my good friend Al Etmanski for recommending this book to me.

      I have been trying to describe this book to my friends, but it is very hard to do so. While it is, strictly speaking, fiction, it is somewhat more than fiction. It is full of nuggets of fact and lessons about so many important topics that are related to the existential threat that we face: global warming. 

      The book review in Rolling Stone is the best I’ve read in terms of describing the book.

      I was so moved by the book that I purchased 20 hard copies to give away to friends.

      There are clear examples of how an important book can bring about change. Australian scientist and author Tim Flannery’s 2005 book about global warming, The Weather Makers: The History & Future Impact of Climate Change, received international acclaim and had a profound effect on thinking in the corridors of power. This book and his other work led to Flannery’s appointment in 2011 by the Australian government as the chief commissioner of its Climate Commission (which was later succeeded by Australia’s Climate Council).

      Of note, it is my understanding that former premier Gordon Campbell introduced Canada’s first ever carbon tax, in spite of opposition from the NDP, as a result of reading Flannery’s book.

      I urge you to read The Ministry for the Future. I also urge you to encourage people in positions of power to read the book. I have no doubt that this book will have a profound effect on the thinking of more leaders about the urgent need to deal with global warming.

      Buy The Ministry for the Future from your local independent bookseller (Bookstore Link is a handy tool for this if you need help), or buy it here. Or if, like me, you prefer audiobooks, Libro.fm enables you to buy the audiobook while contributing some of the sale to the indie bookstore of your choice! 

      Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]

      Latest daily total (October 4, 2021): 413.46 ppm

      One year ago (October 4, 2020): 411.24 ppm

      Tim Louis is a Vancouver lawyer and former city councillor and park commissioner. This article first appeared on his blog, which lists the daily carbon dioxide count in parts per million in the atmosphere at the end of every post. The Georgia Straight publishes opinions like this from the community to encourage constructive debate on important issues.