Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

HOW SOON IS NOW: The Handbook for Global Change

  • Written by  Mick Herron
  • Published in Books
HOW SOON IS NOW: The Handbook for Global Change
15 Aug
2018
by Daniel Pinchbeck• Watkins • £9.99 (paperback)

If the words ‘spiritual revolution’ don’t inspire confidence, perhaps the knowledge that both Sting and Russell Brand have endorsed this book’s contents will reassure. It begins with the author’s memories of the 2005 Burning Man Festival in Nevada, during which he entered ‘a state of messianic megalomania’ from which one might reasonably wonder whether he’s yet emerged. His plan was to write a planetary constitution and trigger a great leap forwards into a world of ecological and social justice, a transition he anticipated occurring in synch with the 5,125-year cycle of the Mayan calendar. We have, he feels, subconsciously willed ourselves into imminent planetary catastrophe in order to force ourselves to make a decision: change or die. The danger is that we’ll reach a tipping point before we’re ready, and our ecosystem will collapse more quickly than our ability to react.

That danger seems real enough, and indeed, Pinchbeck’s analysis of our global problems, from corporate greed to chronic water shortages, is rooted in reality. Some readers, though, may find his solution – that ‘we need to reconnect with a sacred, transcendent dimension’ – lacking in substance. One reason for this, perhaps, is that Pinchbeck was forced to watch the Watergate hearings at the tender age of five, an ordeal which set the tone for his future disengagement from real-world politics. Fair enough, though most of us question the positions our five-year-old selves took. But then, in 15 years of reviewing for Geographical, I’ve rarely encountered a book in which the personal pronoun occurs so often. This is as much about the various states of Daniel Pinchbeck as it is about that of the world: he’s often optimistic, sometimes disappointed, full of theories, and yes, his heart’s in the right place. But I wouldn’t want to be trapped in a lift with him.

Click here to buy HOW SOON IS NOW: The Handbook for Global Change on Amazon

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Books

by John Higgs • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £20/£11 (hardback/eBook)

Books

by Lewis Dartnell • Bodley Head • £18.99 (hardback)

Books

by Richard Williams • Polity Books • £15.99 (paperback)

Books

by Nicholas Jubber • John Murray Press • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Rob Dunn • Basic Books • £22.99 (hardback)

Books

by Edward Davey • Unbound • £9.99 (paperback)

Exhibitions

From July 2019 to February 2020, the Oxford University Natural…

Books

by Stephen Smith • Polity Books • £15.99 (paperback)

Books

by David Barrie • Hodder & Stoughton • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Juliet Blaxland • Sandstone Press • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Bill McKibben • Wildfire • £20 (hardback)

Exhibitions

A new exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery flies forward 100…

Exhibitions

From 12 July through to 10 November, the Fondation Cartier…

Reviews

A relaxed podcast, in which actor David Oakes interviews professionals…

Exhibitions

Exploring ideas of identity, heritage and life after trauma, Bahith…

Books

by Alex Rogers • Wildfire • £20 (hardback)

Films

An ‘environmental thriller’ focusing on the lives of campaigners working…

Exhibitions

The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition is open to visitors…

Films

In this moving, sometimes harrowing film from director Anthony Woodley,…

Films

A brutal, hard-hitting coming-of-age tale that doesn’t hold its punches