Book Review: The Geography of Hope

Hello Terry Bloggers! My name is Jessica and this semester my friend Chelsea and I have been running a student directed seminar titled UBC Reads. Throughout the course we have been reading non-fiction books  that relate to the issues surrounding sustainability and climate change. By the end of the course we hope to choose the ideal book to be piloted for the first campus wide book club. Throughout the next couple weeks I will be posting reviews of the books that have been read so far. Hopefully you will be inspired to read one of them or just stay tuned for the official book chosen for UBC Reads

The Geography of Hope: A Tour of the World We Need

The Geography of Hope Author: Chris Turner

The Geography of Hope is about one man’s journey across the globe in search of a sustainable tomorrow- a world in which his baby daughter would grow up knowing the terms ‘ renewable energy, “self-sufficiency” other such catch phrases that define our times. Turner shows a world, though seemingly dark and bleak, having glimmers of hope scattered throughout various parts of the globe. These glimmers take the form of small-scale projects that allow people to live completely off the grid and still sustain healthy, happy lifestyles. From the solar panels of Denmark to the Earthships (self-sustaining homes) of New Mexico, to the IT hub in Hyderabad, Turner’s rendering of these projects gives us glimpses of people of varying ethnicities, separated  by geography, language and culture all coming up with ways to reduce their footprint on the planet.

Although the book successfully instilled hope in its readers, it was cumbersome to get through. Starting off beautifully with concise prose, the book quickly fizzled into an overly descriptive mish-mash with complex jargon. For most people with a heavy course load, getting through pages and pages of seemingly meaningless text that did not contribute to the overall message was a chore. The pop-culture references in some areas proved too long and unnecessary, especially towards the end. The intended audience is older and North American so many references are not as accessible to readers. OverallThe Geography of Hope had many interesting case studies presented; however, it was a long, arduous read.
Review by: Ishwarya Chaitanya

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Jessica is in her fourth year at UBC in the Environmental Sciences Program. She grew up in the states but has loved the past four years in Vancouver and is fearful/hopeful that she may never leave the city. Some of her favorite things include hanging around with friends, enhancing her sewing and knitting skills and reading books of all genres.