Ben Ehrenreich visits Point Reyes to discuss his new book, Desert Notebooks (Counterpoint).
About Desert Notebooks
National Magazine Award winner and The Nation columnist Ben Ehrenreich layers climate science, mythologies, nature writing, and personal experiences into a stunning reckoning with our current moment and with the literal and figurative end of time.
Desert Notebooks examines how the unprecedented pace of destruction to our environment and an increasingly unstable geopolitical landscape have led us to the brink of a calamity greater than any humankind has confronted before. As inhabitants of the Anthropocene, what might some of our own histories tell us about how to confront apocalypse? And how might the geologies and ecologies of desert spaces inform how we see and act toward time--the pasts we have erased and paved over, this anxious present, the future we have no choice but to build? Ehrenreich draws on the stark grandeur of the desert to ask how we might reckon with the uncertainty that surrounds us and fight off the crises that have already begun.
In the canyons and oases of the Mojave and in Las Vegas's neon apocalypse, Ehrenreich finds beauty, and even hope, surging up in the most unlikely places, from the most barren rocks, and the apparent emptiness of the sky. Desert Notebooks is a vital and necessary chronicle of our past and our present--unflinching, urgent--and yet timeless and profound.
“Ehrenreich’s Mojave is both eternal and despoiled, a measuring rod for the apocalypse, and proof that nature abides. Progress, he explains to us, is like one of those strange paved streets in the desert running through phantom, unbuilt subdivisions. The pavement ends abruptly, and we find ourselves lost in the furnace-hot badlands of the Present where time and meaning are twisted into enigmatic and terrifying forms that recall the end-time visions of cultures vanquished by ‘civilization.’ This haunting meditation on terminal capitalism and its unthinkable future clearly establishes its author as one of our greatest essayists, wholly contemporary with these strange times.” —Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz
About Ben Ehrenreich
Ben Ehrenreich writes about climate change for The Nation. His work has appeared in Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, and The Los Angeles Times. He has reported from Afghanistan, Haiti, Cambodia, El Salvador, and Mexico. In 2011, he was awarded a National Magazine Award. He is the author of The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine, one of The Guardian's Best Books of 2016.