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Climbing | Book Reviews

Bending the Curve

This month’s book review isn’t exactly of the mountain literature genre, but it is a written by our very own Cape climber and mountaineer Robert Zipplies, and focuses on a subject of urgent attention: climate change.

Zipplies has compiled an editorial of essays into one bumper book, written by a range of experts in the field, and published by Africa Geographic. The work covers every aspect of the climate change debate, from mapping out the latest data and statistics to the Kyoto Protocol, to just about everything you need to know and do about climate change here at home in southern Africa.

Bending the Curve is a fascinating yet frightening read, compelling yet disturbing, complex and dense in its detail.

The content is detailed enough to go beyond the mere informative, yet is accessible to the layman climate change fundi (like myself!). The book proved to be a journey of self discovery, as I was forced to confront my own fears and insecurities around my carbon footprint, and what I am honestly prepared to do about it.

I challenge you to go out and buy Bending the Curve, stay with it through the hard to hear formative chapters on how deep in trouble we are as a society (and how much you and I are contributing towards our own demise), hang on through the depression of how massive and impossible the situation appears to be to turn around, and break through to the second half of the book where Zipplies and his colleagues identify how much you as an individual, family, community, parent, educator, collective, business, corporate, government or global community can do today, now and tomorrow.

For example, one of the contributors to the book is another well known Cape climber Roger Diamond, who focuses on what can be done in your own home to reduce your carbon footprint. Diamond’s chapters are written in a humourous and approachable way, with many of the suggestions (like getting a solar water geyser) justified by explaining how in the immediate to mid-term the changes will benefit you, both on the feel good and financial front.

Bending the Curve is an inspirational read. By the time I had finished the book, not only had I done an energy audit on my home, planted a vegetable garden in my yard, jacked up my home recycling systems, started cooking on gas and challenged myself not to fly for a year, but I felt empowered and positive to get out there and make changes toward a sustainable and carbon neutral planet.

But don’t let me convince you- start with this book.

Bending the Curve is published by Africa Geographic and is available via their website (www.africageographic.com) and in most bookstores nationwide. For more info about the book check out http://www.bendingthecurve.co.za


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