Emmott’s “Ten Billion” got a lot of publicity on readers’ blogs. I noted one, by an estate agent in Texas who claimed to have read it four months before it was written, at
Here’s a typical review following publication a month ago:
(“Book Mania! is an inspirational blog of book masterpieces, literary excerpts, beautiful libraries, bookshelves , bookshops & cool book stuff”).
The entire article consist of the thirteen graphs from Penguin’s publicity handout, with the observation:
“Stephen Emmott’s Ten Billion book is now heading at my mailbox! I can’t wait to start reading it.”
There’s one comment, written by me. Here it is:
geoff Chambers • a month ago
“Don’t bother. The book is crap. Emmott himself admitted the day the book was published to about fifteen errors in a post on the Microsoft website which mysteriously disappeared when I drew attention to it. Fish are not going extinct.. The species extinction predicted on these graphs for 2040 has (according to Emmott) already happened – in the nineteenth century. You didn’t notice? Nor did the species. It does not take 27,000 litres of water to make a bar of chocolate, as Emmott said on stage last year, nor 2,700 litres, as he says in the book. It takes a well watered cocoa bush and a shower for the cocoa bean harvester at the end of a hard day’s work. It rains a lot in West Africa where the cocao bean grows. It would rain just as much if they didn’t harvest a single bean. Professor Emmott is an idiot, as he demonstrates every time he opens his mouth. He’s a Microsoft Professor of Computational Science and he can’t add up.”
Disqus allows for follow up comments, and positive and negative appreciations. There are none. Instead there are 4,389 notes, each of which consists of “x liked this, or sometimes “x reblogged this from y and liked this”. Very occasionally there’s a comment such as this from jonidiotboots, who reblogged this from mooseflytiger and added: “if this is legit…then whats the point. whats the fucking point of going to college and getting a good job and having…” or briaflowers, who reblogged this from jonidiotboots and added: “Quick no one have children”.
Among the blogs who have reblogged Emmott’s demented graphs are:
… and many more. They’re all on tumblr, and they’re by no means all pornographic. No doubt they’re all a third of my age (we wrinklies don’t do tumblr).
The important point is that these are not mindless zombies. Setting up a tumblr site requires a certain motivation, intelligence – and style. Take, for instance, http://wuling09.tumblr.com/
Here’s her self-description:
“NZ born white girl, Kohanga-reo & rural China raised laowai girl. Home schooled, running wild through the urban sprawl of Jingmen, Zhongxiang, Xianning, Tianjin. Barefoot in the squalor, feasting on watermelon, leaving only a trail of black seeds, drying. Brom fan-girl, desiring only MTG pinups, and being able to create such art. And, IB educated anti-culture rebel, spitting through her teeth at hypocrisy. Adherent to the Faith of discovery, my faith lies in the Baha’i Faith. And to this I bear witness, created to change, bound by a Covenant established beyond time, the promised day has arrived – wherein Heaven on Earth is a DIY job – we’ve been given the blueprint, we (though aided by the angels and Divine Concourse on High) must arise and sacrifice to bring it about. Change is waiting on us. Each other, we’re counting on us. Believe it’s possible, because the time has COME”.
It’s easy for us oldies to poke fun at this stuff, but it’s undeniable that these are not idiots. They’re the kind of people I’d have liked to be at their age if I’d had Tumblr. As I showed at
the young people attracted by environmentalism are among the most sensitive and intelligent of their generation. They’re not going to go away because we sneer at their naivety. In comments at Bookmania I was all alone, demonstrating where Emmott was wrong in my aggressive but well-reasoned prose.
One of me, and four thousand of them. It’s not over yet.
Click on their links above. That way they’ll know where you’re coming from.