Jason Hickel’s Less is More

Jason Hickel’s Less is More

Animism versus Dualism. Mother Earth versus Descartes. Seeing ourselves and the world around us as continuous, interconnected, and interdependent, versus Subject/object/Master/slave. Seeing the world like a shaman or a bulldozer.

We can’t keep doing this anymore. We can’t keep treating the earth like a trash heap, like we own it, control it, and owe it nothing.

In Less is More, Jason Hickel makes the case for a massive shift in the way we think about the planet, its limited resources, and our (accelerating) role in depleting its former abundance. He does this by shining a fine light on our present, and takes us through roughly 500 years of recent history as well, with the occasional flashback to still earlier times. Concisely. Coherently. Accessibly. No whitewashing. No artificial sweeteners. But he ends the book on a surprisingly hopeful note, and that makes the journey even more worth while.

A host of takeaways, a ton of factoids. The book zooms in, zooms out, gives us holistic, Big Picture philosophy, and fine-grained details too. I especially liked learning new things about trees, for instance. That a simple walk in a forest heals us. That adding trees to a neighborhood lacking them reduces aggression, violence, and crime. That there is something in the air when we encounter the plant kingdom that seems to makes us “better.”  But the biggest takeaway (perhaps) from Less is More is this. None of our inventions or innovations can save us if we continue to grow, and our economic system demands it. That exponential growth will always outstrip our ability to solve our ecological crises, and this prevents us from passing on a sustainable home world for future generations.

We need to choose, together, democratically. The planet or Descartes. Mother Earth or the bulldozer.

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