Confronting harsh ecological realities and the multiple cascading crises facing our world today, An Inconvenient Apocalypse argues that humanity's future will be defined not by expansion but by contraction.
For decades, our world has understood that we are on the brink of an apocalypse – and yet the only implemented solutions have been small and convenient, feel-good initiatives that avoid unpleasant truths about the root causes of our impending disaster. Wes Jackson and Robert Jensen argue that we must reconsider the origins of the consumption crisis and the challenges we face in creating a survivable future. Longstanding assumptions about economic growth and technological progress – the dream of a future of endless bounty – are no longer tenable. The climate crisis has already progressed beyond simple or nondisruptive solutions. The end result will be apocalyptic; the only question now is how bad it will be.
Jackson and Jensen examine how geographic determinism shaped our past and led to today's social injustice, consumerist culture, and high-energy/high-technology dystopias. The solution requires addressing today's systemic failures and confronting human nature by recognizing the limits of our ability to predict how those failures will play out over time. Though these massive challenges can feel overwhelming, Jackson and Jensen weave a secular reading of theological concepts – the prophetic, the apocalyptic, a saving remnant, and grace – to chart a collective, realistic path for humanity not only to survive our apocalypse but also to emerge on the other side with a renewed appreciation of the larger living world.
Wes Jackson is cofounder and president emeritus of The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. A 1992 MacArthur Fellow, he is the author and co-author of numerous books, including Hogs Are Up: Stories of the Land, with Digressions and New Roots for Agriculture.
Robert Jensen is a professor emeritus in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of many books including The Restless and Relentless Mind of Wes Jackson: Searching for Sustainability and Plain Radical: Living, Loving, and Learning to Leave the Planet Gracefully.
"Climate disasters may render hope for the future tenuous, but the philosophical book An Inconvenient Apocalypse asserts that working toward social justice is still purpose-giving."
– Foreword Reviews (starred review)
"Harrowing and accessible, this is just the thing for readers interested in a sociological or philosophical examination of the climate crisis."
– Publishers Weekly
"Jackson and Jensen take a hard look at the near future as climate change intensifies and predict looming crises will lead to human suffering and radical changes [...] [The authors] cut through pervasive denial about humanity's destiny in a more hostile environment. As in an effective seminar, they posit a situation and then raise questions that will resonate with readers."
– Library Journal
"An Inconvenient Apocalypse pulls no punches. Wes Jackson and Robert Jensen, in this work of Anthropocenic soul-searching, offer an honest, accessible, and ruefully playful look at their own lives and at the predicament of human civilization during this century of upheaval and denial."
– Scott Slovic, co-editor of Ecoambiguity, Community, and Development
"The problematic human/earth relationship will not be resolved anytime soon, and Jackson and Jensen's book makes an important contribution to assessing our situation and envisioning a way forward. Anyone who has a nagging feeling that something is wrong and doesn't understand the breadth and depth of the problem or how to grapple with it should read this book."
– Lisi Krall, author of Proving Up
"This is one of the most important books of our lifetime. An Inconvenient Apocalypse can help us face the difficult choices that confront us all and enable us to acknowledge the urgency of our current circumstance."
– Frederick L. Kirschenmann, author of Cultivating an Ecological Conscience
"While making no religious claims, Jackson and Jensen engage the core questions that religious people must ask, if their own witness is to be credible: Who are we, and where are we in history? Do we have the capacity to make drastic change for the sake of a decent human future? Can we live with humility and grace instead of arrogance and an infatuation with knowledge devoid of wisdom? Read and consider."
– Ellen F. Davis, author of Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture
"With intrepid honesty, tenderness, and grace, Jackson and Jensen lay out a clear framework for making sense of the most elusive complexities of climate crisis. Through kindred reflections and incisive analysis, they boldly enlighten readers of the probable and the possible in the decades to come. An affirmation and solace for the weary. A beacon for those seeking courage and understanding in unsettling times."
– Selina Gallo-Cruz, author of Political Invisibility and Mobilization
"Wes Jackson and Bob Jensen have written Common Sense for our time. This book might be the spark that catalyzes the American Evolution."
– Peter Buffett, co-president of the NoVo Foundation
"If you're already concerned about our species' survival prospects, this book will take you to the next level of understanding. Jackson and Jensen are clear and deeply moral thinkers, and their assessment of humanity's precarious status deserves to be widely read."
– Richard Heinberg, author of Power
"In this essential contribution to the public debate, Wes Jackson and Robert Jensen critique the capitalist forces accelerating the climate crisis and the intellectual-activists who have balked at calling for the radical changes in human behavior that could mitigate, if not prevent, environmental and societal collapse. Their contribution will prove as enduring as it is timely."
– Jason Brownlee, author of Authoritarianism in an Age of Democratization
"The nature of all living organisms, so this book argues, is to go after 'dense energy', resulting eventually in crisis. If that is so, then the human organism is facing a tough question: Can we overcome our own nature? Courageous and humble, bold and provocative, the authors of An Inconvenient Apocalypse do not settle for superficial answers."
– Donald Worster, author of Shrinking the Earth