How to begin? Philippe Squarzoni, author of Climate Changed – a personal journey through the science, asks that question many times in his graphic novel. I didn’t know what to expect going into this book, other than thinking that it was a phenomenal idea to write a book about climate change in this medium. As a non-comic book reader, I was pleasantly surprised. There are so many facts in this books, it can sometimes be overwhelming; however I am abundantly more educated on the issues and history of climate change than ever before. One of the first things I learned was that 15,000 people died from a heat wave in France in 2003. What?! That was my most common emotion when reading this book (shock/surprise). I think whenever the narrator, goes into his own life, and questions what he can do; he represents a larger picture of America (if not the world). He is writing as a human being, and not simply as a character. One of the clear inner conflicts that the narrator is dealing with in the middle of the book is whether or not to attend the conference because plane travel is a huge contributor to the rising CO2 in the atmosphere. “The plane is going to take off anyway,” he says. This echoes a much bigger sentiment, as even if I change my behavior, it has to be a much bigger collective effort.
Of course nothing will change if money isn’t involved. In Climate Changed one of the characters suggests investing in mass transit options, instead of “another next-generation nuclear power plant.” There has to be other options. This strikes me as similar to the Chris Hayes article The New Abolitionism, and how the “movement to stop the Keystone XL pipeline is probably the largest social movement in American history directed at stopping a piece of capital investment.” He goes on to say that may institutions (colleges, foundations, institutions etc) have pledged to divest hundreds of millions away from fossil fuel. The other choices, have to have a viable business model as Hayes says, the fossil fuel companies are spending it currently on an “extremely expensive suicide mission.” So, even if these companies aren’t worrying about our changing environments, they are worried about their bottom line. If there are other and equally profitable ways to make this money, companies will want to hear about those options.
Throughout this book, the narrator was constantly pondering questions. “Which way to go?” he asks. “We are caught in so many contradictions.” I believe the science is out there, and we can keep living with Santa in a fantasy land or we can take into account what is happening in the world and start making small differences that in turn, will end up making a huge impact. All in all, Climate Changed, was an engrossing and thought provoking book. I highly recommend it, especially those new to idea of climate change, it will open your mind to how the world was; and how you choose to embrace it in the future.