Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution
by Peter Kalmus, Ph.D.
Peter Kalmus’ 300 plus pages of Being the Change will alter your ideas about climate change, because his ideas make a great deal of common and global sense, backed by his background as a climate scientist. Actually the book is a memoir, a handbook on the science of climate change, and a plan that each one can use to make a difference in the race against the tipping point on the planet.
Kalmus’ personal commitment is the backdrop for the book. He walks the walk and talks the talk, giving up flying and using his bike for everyday transportation, grows some of his own food and participates in a food exchange in his community, eats a vegetarian diet, and generally is earth-conscious concerning what he calls the biosphere, rather than the environment.
When I tell you that this is the most complete and inspiring treatise on climate change for the everyday person looking for how to make a difference, I am not the only one affected so strongly. Here are excerpts of comments by people in the field as direct quotes. Reading these makes me feel I am in good company!
From Tracy Loeffelholz, Editorial and Creative Director for YES! Magazine: “….Peter Kalmus will convince you that life changes to better support the planet will make you happy, too. He does it with scientific precision and loving humanity.”
From Katherinen Martinko, Treehugger.com: “…..Kalmus is positive, by contrast (no doom-and-gloom used in previous sentence e.s.) bursting with practical strategies. He writes with joy, infectious curiosity, and a hopeful enthusiasm that’s hard to resist.”
From John Michael Greer, author, After Progress and The Retro Future: “…Kalmus points out that changing the world starts with changing our own lives. It’s a crucial message that needs to be heard.”
Being the Change is divided into two parts. Part I is called the Predicament and has such chapter titles as “Waking Up” and “Our Mindset.” In this 100 plus pages Kalmus’ climate scientist mind is on full speed. Here he writes about his own personal predicament and gradual transformation to make changes and buttresses these changes with the science behind climate change, using charts and graphs to help us understand the problem more clearly. His atmospheric scientist background is in full force here!
The charts are visually helpful and simplified for the non-scientific person (like me!) He also writes about how we shape and are being shaped by our systems of transportation, economy, food, education, community, entertainment, and warfare, tackling these topics with a deep understanding that if we don’t make changes in these systems, our home (planet Earth) will not be fit to live on. (*See sample chart below. I purposely used one on fossil fuels, because it is the main focus behind changes we can make to affect climate change in a positive manner.)
Part II is the larger section and is called A Mammal in the Biosphere. Here he writes more about his changes, such as using a bike more heavily and giving up flying (slow travel), composting and making his own manure, meditating as a foundation for his changes, and being part of a community that share his values for repairing the planet.
Most of all, I like the upbeat attitude that shapes his philosophy because it reminds me of my training to be an Ending Hunger volunteer and learning that each person can make a difference. Also, when you are involved in something bigger than yourself you are empowered by all the other people who are tackling something bigger than themselves. You become a team, and saving Mother Earth is a team/community effort!
At the end of the book is a very personal chapter called simply, “ Love,” and how he went from grieving the planet to making a difference. Here are some quotes from this chapter:
“Being the change is about transition. About going from being asleep to being awake.”
“I hope you’ll join me. We can build this new world together. We can begin by observing our own selves by way of everyday physical sensations. We can begin by riding a bicycle.” (He devotes a chapter to this idea called “Like to Bike.”)
“Learning to live respectfully within the biosphere is a sacred task. Learning to get along with others is a sacred task. And learning to be happy in our own minds, to be joyful on this Earth in the short time we are here, is a sacred task. These three tasks are beautifully interconnected.”
I love this book because it inspires me, it informs me, and it challenges me by not being afraid and reminding me to “spread love every chance you get.”
Being the Change by Peter Kalmus is published by new society Publishers (www.newsociety.com) and costs $21.99 with more than 50 pages of Notes that support his planetary plan.) New Society Publishers is also an environmental publisher that saves on the resources of trees, solid waste, water, electricity, and other environmental benefits while offering such great books as these to read and to learn from.
P.S. If you Google Peter Kalmus you will get several hits for You Tube interviews.
From is website is this statement: Being the Change has won the IPPY Outstanding Book of the Year Award, the Nautilus Book Award, and the 2017 Foreword INDIES Bronze award in Ecology & Environment.
Peter Kalmus NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory • 4800 Oak Grove Drive • MS 168-314 • Pasadena, CA 91109 Tel: (818) 354-2237 •