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As the World Burns

When you think of hardcore environmental activism, are one-eyed bunnies and sassy little girls depicted in cartoons what spring to mind? Probably not...unless you've read through Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan's graphic satire, As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial. For such a simple idea, a book of simply pictured comics, the message is all too clear and thought-provoking: the simplistic efforts that we've been taught to give toward making the world a greener, healthier place isn't the whole story.

If you're looking for a cuddly, “how to change the world with recycling” book of simple suggestions to make an impact, this is not the book for you. Jensen and McMillan deliver a jaw-dropping, and often downright depressing look at the state of environmentalism and how little the average Joe, like me, knows about the bottom line when it comes to cleaning up the messes mankind has made.

Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about this book. It's definitely inspires one to rethink what he or she does in the name of eco-conscious living, from recycling to riding a bike to work. But, on the flip side, it seems brilliantly condescending to those of us who don't have all the facts that the authors have poured their lives into learning. I'm not saying that ignorance is bliss, or that guys like me should turn the other cheek, but I can say that the “in your face” satirical style of the book is jarring if you don't know what you're getting into.

I think that As the World Burns is a worthwhile read, simply for the “food for thought” factor. But, if you buy this book thinking you're going to be patting yourself on the back for recycling a soda can, be forewarned, you'll be wildly disappointed.