Using his chapters to join eight journalistic vignettes,Geoff Dembicki connects climate change action with the need for systematic change. He breaks down discrete instances, such as the youth led protest at the COP21 conference, where “rejection of mainstream society” does not necessarily lead to flawless victories. Instead, he convincingly presents the position that the effort in rejecting the status quo contributes heavily in establishing footings for which social and climatic change can stand.
This is where Are We Screwed? excels. Dembicki chooses examples that are diverse, real and accessible. He speaks in conversation that neither gets bogged down in jargon nor unattainable actions. His concise and consistent statistics are presented alongside honest sentiments from a full range of human experiences. The overly repetitious statistics could benefit from visual aids that may better ascertain the scale of the whole climate change debate. But, he leaves the statistical analysis to the non-believers of mathematica and the insecure that are ready to duel with his well-annotated and sourced text — fools.
The subjects in his vignettes are young and Dembicki makes a conscious effort in establishing that this age group will bear the consequences of societal decisions made by a much older ruling class. It is with this idea that Dembicki makes his most powerful statement that echoes across the vignettes “..there [is] more to life than making the most money possible and not thinking about the consequences.” His ability to thread this statement through each subject’s story resonates the need for not just action on climate change but also systematic change, regardless of one’s generational label.
The status quo is as destructive as much as it is unstable. Are We Screwed? invokes the need for immediate action and necessary hope. In his Afterword section, Dembicki provides a path for hope through suggestions to educate and limit our impact. By doing so, we can gain awareness toward the necessity of sustainable lifestyles. Whether or not we are in fact screwed, Geoff Dembicki has nailed and bound together a text that should become a necessary read for all entering into the independence of adulthood.