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The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight

by Thom Hartmann

listed in environmental

[Image: The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight]

"In the 24 hours since yesterday, over 200,000 acres of rainforest have been destroyed in our world. Fully 13 million tons of toxic chemicals have been released into our environment. Over 45,000 people have died of starvation, 38,000 of them children. And more than 130 plant or animal species have been driven to extinction… And all since yesterday." This is the first paragraph of the Introduction to this book written by Thom Hartmann in 1998. No doubt the figures would be different today. No doubt they would be much higher.

This life-changing book has a quote on the front cover by Neale Donald Walsch saying "One of the most important books you will ever read in your life." Such a recommendation has almost certainly been made by other people about many books in the past without real justification. This time it is true.

The book is divided into three parts. In Part I Thom outlines in detail, with considerable evidence, exactly how serious the world's current environmental and social predicament is. He explains how, as far as the world's resources are concerned, we have been living off capital rather than income and how if we continue in this fashion, the approaching exhaustion of resources will result in an escalation of global warming, world-wide starvation and increasing military instability. He also explains clearly how such a serious situation can be almost completely ignored by most major governments and the majority of the population of the western world; who effectively have their heads in the sand.

This collection of cold facts is necessary for us to grasp the full significance of what is happening. As Thom puts it so clearly. "On the altar of short-term profit, before the false gods of consumerism, we are plundering the world and putting our children's future at risk, and even most educated people don't realise how or why it is happening."

In Part II Thom looks at how we got ourselves into this mess. He explains that the problems are caused primarily, not by technology or anything specific that we do, but by our culture and our view of the world. He suggests that understanding this and changing our perspectives is the key to finding a lasting solution to the problems we face.

Books on the coming ecological collapse are numerous. Scientists have been pleading with governments and consumers for many years to open their eyes and change their ways. All to absolutely no avail. Where this book is different is in the solutions suggested in Part III. This last part of the book is partly, but not solely, a call for personal responsibility. It also offers a powerful and inspiring "prescription for behaviour" which it is within the abilities of each of us to follow. These changes will enable us to live in a sustainable way in harmony with nature, resulting in personal enrichment, spiritual growth and peace of mind as well as the restoration of the planet.

If Parts I and II are deeply unsettling and depressing, Part III is like a beacon of hope. In this section Thom suggests a number of simple and powerful ways of changing our lives and our ways of thinking so that each one of us can positively make a difference.

Once again to quote from the cover, this book is "A call to consciousness combining spirituality and ecology that offers hope for the future." This book has a message which we ignore to the peril of ourselves, our children and future generations. I wholly endorse Neale Donald Walsh's urging in his Afterword to " Get it (the book) now. Read it immediately. It will inspire and excite you. For it will show you in real life terms just what one person can do… Quote it everywhere. Buy 10 copies and give them away. Don't let this call to action go unheard."

Susanna Riviere
Hodder & Stoughton

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