The Geography of Hope: A Tour of the World We Need Hardcover – Oct 5 2007
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Praise for Chris Turner and Planet Simpson:
“One of this country’s smartest and most original pop-culture commentators.”
“[An] absolutely must-have tome for the many Simpsons freaks, not just an over-sized fan’s guide but an absorbing take on why it matters.”
“Turner has written the definitive Simpsons study. He shows both a lightness of touch suitable to his subject and the intellectual rigour to grasp its vast purview.”
—The Gazette (Montreal)
“[A] brilliant critique of western culture from the mid-90s to the present. . . . Turner understands pop culture in a way few others of his generation have been able to articulate thus far.”
—The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo)
“Smart and funny, Turner is clearly one of the converted, and he writes with fitting enthusiasm for his subject while working in seemly references to cultural theory and TV-insider politics.”
—The Hollywood Reporter
“One of the more fascinating and entertaining works I’ve read.”
—The Globe and Mail
“A broad-minded analysis that connects the television show to some of the most pressing issues in contemporary life.”
About the Author
Chris Turner is the author of the national bestseller Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation. His culture and technology reporting for Shift magazine earned him four National Magazine Awards from 1999 to 2003, including the 2001 President’s Medal for General Excellence, the highest honour in Canadian magazine writing. His writing has also appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Independent, the Sunday Times, Time, Canadian Geographic and Utne Reader.See all Product Description
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Published in the Books section, October 6, 2007
THE GEOGRAPHY OF HOPE
A Tour of the World We Need
By Chris Turner
Random House Canada, 480 pages
A year of living optimistically
Review by EVAN OSENTON
Bad news might sell books and turn science authors into global celebrities, but it isn't particularly good at changing minds, motivating people or inspiring hope. It certainly isn't convincing our species to give up our game of ecological Russian roulette.
Chris Turner would know: In the mid-1990s, he took a summer job for Greenpeace as a door-to-door canvasser in Kingston, Ont. His specialty - indeed, he notes, most environmental groups' specialties then and now - was bad news. Doom. Gloom. Lurid descriptions of bleached coral and starving polar bears, cracked hardpan and skyrocketing asthma rates, rivers of glowing Chinese factory effluent and mutilated seal pups. On one doorstep, Turner recalls a seven-year-old girl "so consumed with worry over the planet's health, [her parents] told me, that sometimes it made her stomach ache too much to eat." Mostly, Turner remembers people's weary indifference to his spiel.
Fast-forward a decade. Chris Turner is a writer of national renown, fresh off his bestselling, lushly enthusiastic Planet Simpson (quite possibly the most comprehensive book published on the most important pop-cultural phenomenon of the past 20 years). Turner never quite stopped believing the bad news, but, like so many of us, he'd become overwhelmed and moved on.
And then his wife gave birth to a baby girl.Read more ›
The author is a journalist and disillusioned environmental activist. He is also a new father, and, concerned for his daughter's future, decided to do a global survey of existing, practical methods of achieving environmental sustainability. His perspective is what makes this book so refreshing: tired of the mainstream environmental movement's two main weapons of guilt and apocalyptic predictions, he searches for not just the means but the inspiration to change the way the world's resources are used. I found this practical, hopeful approach much more compelling than the doom-and-gloom, armchair analyst approach of, say, George Monbiot's Heat.
Potential readers should keep in mind that the author's previous opus was Planet Simpson, an exploration of the cultural significance of an animated cartoon series. This is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it informs his writing with a pop-culture sensibility that makes for entertaining asides and a contemporary grasp of how cultural fashions evolve. On the other hand, the one time I felt we may be getting a little too much information was in the final chapter. There he describes how the epiphany of embracing environmental sustainability occurred to him at a Seattle Lebowski Fest, a cult-like celebration of a movie that he admits to "only begin to understand after the fifth viewing". Presumably fatherhood changed his priorities, and rather than strain his credibility, I found this geeky anecdote disarming. A Greenpeace diatribe this is not.
Along with the stylish writing we’ve come to expect from him, the research is truly impressive, but what really blew me away was how smart it is. Turner travelled the world to see examples of sustainable living: housing, buildings, communities, transportation systems and so on. Toward the end, he has a great — and, bizarrely, relevant — riff on The Big Lebowski, the brilliant Coen Brothers classic.
Best of all, though, is the optimism that fills the book. The Geography of Hope is an inspiring look at the world as it could be. Yes we can, indeed.
Most recent customer reviews
Got it fast and the book looks great. Looking forward to reading it!Published 9 months ago by Justin A Miguel
I really enjoyed the positive outlook that Chris puts on environmental movement. I recommend this book at anyone who is looking to learn more about sustainable projects around the... Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2013 by travis gallup
I should have read this book by Chris Turner first but I heard of The Leap on the CBC so I read it first. Read morePublished on May 14 2013 by Dorothy McElhinney
Turner turns his back on his environmental-protest Greenpeace-volunteering past, and goes searching, somewhat frantically, for those who are actually building a sustainable future. Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2009 by Brian Griffith
Am I the only person who thinks this book needs an editor? The premise is good: seek out the people and places that have tackled global warming in a positive way and show that... Read morePublished on Jan. 24 2009 by I. Dobson
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