The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight (Thom Hartmann) - Three Rivers Press - 2004 - 378 pages

All living things are made out of sunlight.  We have been extracting oil and coal from the earth, that has been stored there for hundreds of millions of years, to the point that the existing supply may last less than 40 years.  At the same time, mankind has been depleting the rainforests that produce oxygen and the world's supply of clean water.  North American aquifers are collapsing and most of the remaining water supplies are contaminated with drugs.  The supply of the world's clean water may reach the critical stage before the supply of oil is exhausted.  Although the first part of the book is all bad news, author Hartmann does offer some solutions.  He advocates a transformation to green technologies and a reinvention of daily rituals.  The scariest part of the book is the revelation that global climate change could eventually stop the ocean currents (Great Conveyer Belt) from flowing thereby throwing the world into an ice age.  This last effect has occurred in the past and can happen in a two-three year period.  Although problem identification is relatively easy, the solutions are going to be difficult if not impossible.  Hartmann warns that there will be shortages and he suggests that we form cooperative groups ("intentional communities") to mitigate the effect and maximize conservation.  A return to a tribal culture would be the best solution but Hartmann does not expect mankind to abandon the city-states that are consuming Earth's resources.  He writes that we need a culture change but thinks that it can only occur one person at a time.  He suggests that individuals " ... begin to practice small, anonymous acts of mercy and compassion, change your way of living and consuming ..."  I need to start a vegetable garden.  Read this book! [JAM 11/17/2010]