What If We Stopped Pretending

What If We Stopped Pretending

Jonathan Franzen

The climate change is coming. To prepare for it, we need to admit that we can’t prevent it.

‘Today, the scientific evidence verges on irrefutable. If you’re younger than sixty, you have a good chance of witnessing the radical destabilization of life on earth—massive crop failures, apocalyptic fires, imploding economies, epic flooding, hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing regions made uninhabitable by extreme heat or permanent drought. If you’re under thirty, you’re all but guaranteed to witness it.

If you care about the planet, and about the people and animals who live on it, there are two ways to think about this. You can keep on hoping that catastrophe is preventable, and feel ever more frustrated or enraged by the world’s inaction. Or you can accept that disaster is coming, and begin to rethink what it means to have hope.’

This is Jonathan Franzen’s controversial New Yorker essay, published as a single volume that discusses a planet on the cusp of and what and how individuals can respond to that.

Reviews of What If We Stopped Pretending

    • Praise for The End of the End of the Earth:
    • ‘… by refusing to hope for the impossible, Franzen, improbably, manages to produce a volume that feels, if not hopeful, then at least not hopeless. There’s nothing he can do – there’s probably nothing any of us can do – to avert or even alleviate the coming catastrophe. But for now, he’s here and he’s alive, and over the course of these essays he offers us a series of partial, tentative answers to the question he poses himself at the beginning: “ How do we find meaning in our actions when the world seems to be coming to an end?” Guardian
    • ‘Can be read, in part, as a welcome alternative to the current, dominant American political tone of one-note belligerence’ Observer
    • ‘Franzen shows himself to be the kind of unacademic critic who recognises and does not disapprove of the Common Reader’s natural tendency to feel for the characters the author has brought into being’ Scotsman