We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer [10/10]

Ten years ago, Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals” proved to be instrumental in shifting me towards vegetarianism, so naturally I gravitated to his altogether new take on the subject in “We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast“.” But whereas the first was a polemic for vegetarianism, “We Are the Weather” turns out to be a remarkable philosophical exploration of the terror and meaning of climate change in the Anthropocene Era. Sure, Foer is now recommending we all just skip meat for breakfast and that this alone would greatly impact global carbon emissions, but that fades before the power of his intelligence and prose in addressing the heartbreak and attendant nihilism that any sensible appraisal of our future entails. His penultimate chapter, “Dispute with the soul,” is extraordinary, a dialogue of one mind with itself, oscillating between despair and various forms of hope. I felt the author had a direct line into my head as I read it, and I’ve returned to the teasing, looping discussion again and again. Throughout the book, Foer’s prose is personal and precise and elegant: “There is a far more pernicious form of science denial than Trump’s: the form that parades as acceptance. Those of us who know what is happening but do far too little about it are more deserving of the anger.” Ah, so true. I predict this lively, wise reflection will remain a classic for years. Go grab it, it won’t fail you.

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