Review of “Embracing Limits” by Stephen Kaufman

This review was recently published in the “CVA Newsletter.”

Embracing Limits cover

Keith Akers. Embracing Limits: A Radical and Necessary Approach to the Environment Crisis.

This very readable book is an important contribution to discussion of the environmental crisis. Many activists focus on specific campaigns, such as blocking the construction of an oil pipeline or divesting from oil companies. Akers looks at the larger picture. The human impact on world ecosystems has been enormous, and one consequence has been a gigantic growth in the number of humans and the amount of resources the average human consumes. Our market economy is predicated on growth, but unlimited growth is impossible. Akers stresses that it is difficult to determine which natural resources, such as energy, water, or minerals, will limit growth. But, humanity is living unsustainably, and unless there are drastic changes in how we live, a day of reckoning will come. With helpful graphs and images, Akers makes the current situation and the likely future very clear.

Much of the book considers various social and political proposals that might allow humanity to avoid the otherwise very painful processes of depopulation and resource use decline. These steps would require a degree of worldwide cooperation and good governance that seems at odds with present conditions and trends. Nonetheless, it remains possible that wisdom and action inspired by concern for future generations might prevail.

Readers might recall that Akers also wrote Disciples: How Jewish Christianity Shaped Jesus and Shattered the Church. This book demonstrates that the early followers of Jesus were vegetarian, it makes a compelling case that Jesus himself was vegetarian.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.