As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial#A Graphic Novel

by Derrick Jensen

Book, 2007


Seven Stories Press (2007), Edition: 10.2.2007, 224 pages


Two of America's most talented activists team up to deliver a bold, hilarious satire of modern environmental policy in this fully illustrated graphic novel. The US government gives robot machines from space permission to eat the earth in exchange for bricks of gold. A one-eyed bunny rescues his friends from a corporate animal testing laboratory. And two little girls figure out the secret to saving the world from both of its enemies. Inspiring readers to do what is necessary to stop geocide before it's too late.

User reviews

LibraryThing member opinion8dsngr
I tried very hard to give this book a fair rating, despite how my personal political opinions clash with those of the authors'. The writers of this graphic novel use a plot about earth-eating aliens, corporate machinery, and politics as a thin varnish for a blatant manifesto against the current
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political situation. While I am not easily offended by satire depicting either side of today's political issues, I was bothered by the book's conclusions that nonviolent and grass-root advocacy approaches to changing the current corporate-industrial pollution construct result in nothing but smug hypocrisy. After showing that individual methods of environmental stewardship would not be enough to stop global warming and other pollution caused problems, they blatantly suggest the use of ecoterrorism.
This suggestion is not a subcontext. In response to the first acts of destruction in the plot an anti-terrorist crack-down is put in place, but to no avail. By the end of the book, many of the protagonists are holding knives and guns. I find it frightening that a book which relates the detailed dangers of most 'green' maneuvers, like recycling aluminum cans, neglects to point out the severity of what these actions mean directly and symbolize. Even the most harmless-looking act (other than the characters' 'illegally' expressing their opinions through occasional diatribes), freeing a gaggle of tortured and vivisected animals from a research laboratory, fails to address how this could spread diseases to the general public and have negative effects for the animals.
The artwork in the book is a unique style of line drawing in which everyone looks a little off kilter. The CEOs are drawn to look rather monstrous and even have a slightly similar appearance to some of the more obvious people they are supposed to parody (Al Gore, George W. Bush). While not the most professional or expert looking art, it fits the story style well and reflects the plot and characters appropriately.
The book also does have a few points and scenes that linger after being read. The image of the 'naturalist' sitting on the stump of a tree meditating while loggers cut down the remaining forest behind him, of lobbyists haggling for nothing, etc. are very thought-provoking, as is the whole graphic novel. I am against censorship, but books like this do make me pause and wonder about the wisdom of placing such an idealogical weapon in the hands of young adults. While the book does not give a guide on how to specifically conduct any sort of violent anti-establishment crimes or destruction, it certainly does praise them while completely disqualifying anyone who would claim that there are other ways to solve the problems in this world. It is sad that a book seeking to expose how closed-minded and hypocritical society currently is became an example of dogmatic and hypocritical literature itself.
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LibraryThing member LarocheM3
This comic book is all about how corporations are slowly killing the planet and how most humans are ignoring it completely. Two girls are trying to figure out ways that they could help salvage the planet, but one of them is more extreme and they get into many arguments. One day, aliens come to
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planet Earth and give the president gold in exchange for permits to eat the planet up. Everyone is outraged, but the president doesn't do anything about it because he's getting gold from the aliens. In the end, the wild animals attack the aliens with some house pets and a few humans. They manage to defeat them, and then decide to take on the corporations. That's how the story ends.

This comic book is filled with jokes, sarcasm and hilarious exaggerations. It's perfect for teens who are interested in worldly problems such as pollution. I'm rating it 4 stars out of 5 because it was funny and original. The only reason why I'm not giving it a 5/5 is because of my personal interest.
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