NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Book Review in the Prospector

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
by Jared Diamond
Viking Adult

Ecocide, and more ecocide is the theme of Collapse. How humans wrecked their environment and then vanished, or are on the verge of vanishing. I have always been interested in the Easter Island, Viking, Mayan, and Anazazi cultures and their demise. The author uses five criteria for evaluating these and other cultures for their sustainability. I found each chapter opening segments interesting, but Diamond eventually grows repetitious, tiresome, and preachy.

Diamond opens with a chapter on life in Western Montana, which mirrors Nevada County in many ways. Rural communities struggling after mining and timber industries are gone, and rich outsiders moving in, driving up the price of property, driving out young families who must move to find jobs and affordable housing.

Diamond claims mine executive religious fundamentalism is the reason they did not reclaim abandon mines. “God would soon arrive on Earth, so reclamation was irrelevant.” In studying Idaho mining, I found mine executives to be more hard core realists, who cut corners whenever possible. Lack of reclamation was more economics than religion.

An interesting book, but a bit tedious. Get a copy from the library and read the first chapter.

If you read this review in the paper, please note my last name has an " e" on the end.

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