The Conundrum by David Owen

The Conundrum is not your typical tome extolling the virtues of green living.  Rather, it is an unflinching look at the history of technology and the development of more efficient ways of using energy, and whether these things improve our luck with the future or hinder it.

The author does not look with a kind eye at recent petroleum-less energies of the future , or at buying locally, or even at governmental policies that advocate green initiatives but fail to see a larger picture beyond that of the present time.  Indeed, his whole emphasis in The Conundrum is a push for harder measures that most people are loath to be willing to change – higher costs of fuel to discourage waste, more compactness in cities and dwellings for better sustainable living, etc. 

Frankly, I found  much of the book discouraging, but kept reading, and thought it worthwhile.  The author does not provide answers to a rosy future – he insists that the future depends more on serious action on a mass scale and less on installing solar panels on individual houses.   This one’s definitely an eye-opener for what could be our future.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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