The Apocalypse's Cuddly Dark by Anders Bolling

Apokalypsens gosiga mörker - Anders Bolling

(Translation of title is my own. Original title in Swedish: Apokalypsens gosiga mörker.)

 

Have you ever felt as if the media is exaggerating certain news? When you read a news item, do you wonder about what it doesn't say? Those are the kind of questions Bolling asks the reader in the beginning of his critical analysis of news articles. As a journalist, he wants to make the point that the media today is very selective in their reporting, and very angled when doing it, choosing to make the news item appear as another 'doomsday prophecy', that we things are that bad. Anders Bolling is tired of people claiming it was better in the "good old days". It is in fact, he means, better today with our technology, medicine, and climate friendly thinking. In short, Bolling is here to bring some light in the dark (media reporting).

I am bound to agree with Bollin on several points. It is better today, than say, fifty years back. Our medicine is incredible. We all rely on our technology such as smartphones, computers, Ipads, and what not. We're working on the climate goals to get a better environment. So yes, it is better today, and I think it's hard to disagree on that matter. However, Bolling focuses on three subjects: welfare, climate, and conflicts (across the globe). Bolling makes some good points worth thinking about, but there is one thing I feel he's missing. While he's claiming things are better, that we don't need to be pessimistic about our future because other journalists/scientists have predicted major catastrophes that hasn't/won't happen, Bolling seems to forget that better doesn't necessarily meen good enough. For example, he argues that women have more rights today and that they don't need to be so afraid of being assaulted if they go outside while dark, that the society is pretty equal, he seems to miss the complex situation. Yes, I know, at least for me, the chance of being assaulted if out when dark is small. But it's not about the odds, it's about the fact that I still need to be afraid, or at least uncomfortable doing it. Sure, it's better than it was half a century ago, but this can't be counted as good enough.

Bolling also has a tendency to loose the complex thinking on other aspects as well. He brings up the fact that more countries aren't as bad as they were before, such as Brazil, Asian and African countries are going toward a higher standard of living (equal to the western civilization). This in turn means they will be expecting the same standard, and by that, the same emission of greenhouse gases. This is something media report on as bad, since they mean it causes bigger emissions on a global scale. Bolling then argues that countries with hig BNP/good welfare has very little emissions, and that these countries will go straight into a climate friendly thinking. But, while they go toward a stable BNP/welfare, their emissions won't (for sure) be stable, which might be 'unfriendly' to the environment. Also, developed countries aren't good enough either (at least not all of them).

I definitely think we should be more optimistic about our globe's future. We've come a long way, but there are still many things we need to improve on. Bolling's book is great for those more pessimistic or those even afraid for the future. Because Bolling does provide happy news on how far we've come, proving the media wrong. The problem is, at times, that it's clear Bolling isn't an expert at all these subjects. On the chapter on climate, he forgets some of the big threats that are, according to me, bigger threats than the ones he chooses to bring up. I'll agree it is better now than it was half a century ago. And yes, I'd love more happy news in the media or news on improvements. But I also do not want someone telling me things are better, sounding as if that's good enough when it is not. I'm sure it's not intentional or that Bolling thinks so, but, unfortunately, that's how he comes off at times in this book.