“Crazy! Lunatic! What is he talking about? How dare he challenge our way of life?”  When a character in Plato’s Republic sees that things might change – even though it’s for the better, long term – he calls out for the status quo, for things to be as he is used to.  Anyone with a message that is different from the commonly held view – including scientists – can be seen as messengers of evil.  But, as Melissa Lanes stresses: don’t shoot the messenger!

519m30ZyDLL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_This book focuses on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which represents the international scientific consensus, and often enjoys a wave of criticism from climate change deniers.  Its position is that climate change is real and represents a very real and present threat to earth’s ecosystems.  Climate change is a modern problem caused by our use of technology and the ancients could not have fathomed it.  Lane draws on Corey Brettschneider when she states:

Plato’s dialogues help us to rethink the politics and social ethos that have endangered our natural world”.

This book is certainly powerful, provocative, and especially timely; indeed, anything that highlights the consequences of human impact, and helps us towards action, is good – yet without an wide understanding of classical literature, it’s a heavy read.

Henricus Peters

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Eco Republic: ancient thinking for a green age Melissa Lane; ISBN 978-0-691-15124-3; Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford, 2012; pp 243. Available from Peter Lang