It is so easy for people to throw trash on the floor, waste food and water and engage in endless consumerism without being truly connected with the Earth around them. Without witnessing a first hand account of the destruction to the natural environment from the persistently damaging habits of society, there is little incentive to change. The scary and all encompassing problems of climate change will devastate the planet indiscriminately regardless, and it is because of this that writer, editor and professor David Gessner decided to embark on a journey that details the need for this understanding amongst the masses.
A Traveler's Guide to the End of the World: Tales of Fire, Wind and Water examines climate hotspots in North America as well as what its inhabitants have to say. Gessner joins host Robert Scheer on this episode of the Scheer Intelligence podcast, where he continues his mission of spreading awareness to one, if not the biggest issue, facing the younger generation. This is an integral theme to the book as it questions what life on Earth will look like when his daughter reaches his age of 62 in the year 2064.
Flash floods, hurricanes and fires encapsulate some of the more catastrophic parts of the book and Gessner hopes that as these natural disasters become more prevalent, people wake up to the realities of the world around them. From wildfires in a place like Paradise, California to floods near his home now in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Gessner sees the path of natural destruction yet somehow people continue to ignore the dangers. What often happens instead, as Gessner says, is a quick turnaround towards rebuilding in an area that is clearly dangerous, with slogans that encourage the community to stay strong and move on.
As a response, Gessner puts it plainly: “sea level rise, increasing intensity of storms, scarcity of resources, things like what we saw in New Orleans after Katrina, people massively leaving." He says this should “slap people in the face and say, can't you see that this is bigger than balancing the budget?”