03 October 2011

Post 432: The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011 edited by Mary Roach. ISBN: 9780547350639 (eGalley - publishes October 4, 2011).

I really enjoyed the articles presented in this collection. Roach did an excellent job of selecting articles with a balance of levity, seriousness, and practicality. But what I like most about the articles she selected was the sense of hopefulness that there are answers to the problems we have created, and that science may offer a means of figuring out the solution. Note that I did not say that science would be the solution to the problem itself, but science is a means of predicting and determining what might happen. So science should be part of the solution, even if it's just to suggest that we pare down on the amount of technology, chemicals, etc. that we use.

The difference in these articles as opposed to most newspaper journalism is astounding. The latter seems to present only the problem, with little or no indication that our problems can be solved. This might be a reason so many people are willing to say that global warming (or climate change) doesn't exist. It is easier to believe that something doesn't exist than to attempt to deal with a problem where there appears to be no solution. This is not a healthy attitude to take, especially countrywide. I can certainly understand the inclination to feel this way and take this route on a personal level. I lived through a couple of rough situations where it felt like I had absolutely no control over my life. This resulted in a sense of helplessness and frustration and eventually to suicidal thoughts... which is exactly where it feels like we're headed now as far as the current ecological problems are concerned.

I admit, I'm sticking my head in the sand a bit as well (particularly as far as the economic situation is concerned). It's easier for me not to think about or look at my Roth IRA (I glanced at it recently and felt like throwing up). But it might be better if we sought out more information rather than less. Certainly reading these articles made me feel better about scientific progress and the options it offers. Should any of you out there need a similar shot of hope, might I recommend a book?

My review can be found on Goodreads.
LibsNote: Review copy provided by Netgalley.


  1. Mary Roach has an awesome job. I tend to feel a twinge of envy whenever I see her name.

  2. Makes you wonder if her middle name is Jane though, because then she would be named after pot twice. These are the things I think about in my spare time.


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