Friday, January 1, 2021

Dr. Bob Rich Reviews Ten Journeys or "Ten Case Studies of the Best of Humanity"

Ten Journeys on a Fragile Planet
Author: Rod Taylor 
Publisher: Odyssey Books (October 2020)
Publisher Website:
ISBN: 978-1925652789
Pages: 284
Price: Kindle $9.99, Paperback $27.95

Reviewed by Dr. Bob Rich

This book could be titled “Ten case studies in the best of humanity.” It so happens that I am Australian, the author is Australian, and all ten of the interviewees are Australians, but this is incidental. The events, environment and culture that provide the setting would be different in another land, but there are jewels like these ten everywhere.

While the book features ten jewels, my review is about eleven. Rod writes in a very personal style, and never blows his own trumpet, but comes through to be like his interviewees.

Here is a sample of Rod showing himself: “In my youth, there was talk of nuclear war and the possibility that our world would be consumed by the insane strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction. To us it was a theoretical proposition, a disaster that could happen. We had the possibility of calamity, but climate change is different because it is actually happening. In my lifetime it’s gone from just being a possibility to us seeing glimpses of what a disrupted global climate system looks like. Nuclear weapons and global warming aren’t going away. Humanity is doing a poor job on both fronts.”

These eleven are people who care, who have made a difference through intelligence, perseverance and creativity. Some are well known, others I’ve never heard off, but all have a passion for truth, science, decency, being of service. Because of these attitudes, they are all alarmed by our environmental crisis, and in different ways are doing their best to work for a survivable future.

I can’t do better than to quote Rod on what the book is about: “If there’s one defining attribute shared by the people in this book, it’s motivation — these are people who understand why we need to act. Each has seized upon the idea that there is something important; that there’s something they can do for the environment and for the community. The people in Fragile Planet are fiercely driven to avert the worst of climate change.”

I really enjoyed Rod’s style of bringing a person to life, faults and all. While staying the journalist interviewing someone, he has the skill of showing his subject’s inside reality, “what makes her tick.” For example, I got to really like maggot farmer Olympia, and strongly approve of what she is doing: in effect converting agriculture from a single-line process of fertiliser-to-waste to a circular economy of waste providing feed in a forever-loop.

Ten Journeys on a Fragile Planet would be admirable compulsory reading for high school kids, to inspire them, and to educate them in what matters.

More About the Author

Rod Taylor is a Canberra-based science writer and broadcaster, whose latest book is Ten Journeys in a Fragile Planet (Odyssey 2020).  He has written a science column for The Canberra Times newspaper for the past 10 years. His background is in IT and business systems. He is currently co-editing a major book on the Green New Deal (Springer). He rides both a unicycle and an off-road motorcycle, and has fallen off both.

More About the Reviewer

Dr Bob Rich is a grumpy old man who can’t convince people of his grumpiness. They keep laughing at him. This is just as well, because there is not that much to laugh at in today’s insane world. So, he works for a sane future where people cooperate, care for each other, and prefer credit for karma to credit in the bank. He does much of this at his blog, Bobbing Around Tweet with him at @bobswriting.

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