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The Story of More

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Hope Jahren's The Story of More gives a concise and resourceful lowdown on the challenges we face as human beings in a fast warming world where climate change is altering the way we live. Packed with facts and insights, albeit centered around an American perspective, Jahren's book is urgent and serves as an ultimate call for action to change the way we live. In publishing a manifesto of sorts in the end, Jahren also seeks to instill hope in individuals by advising how small lifestyle changes can indeed make a difference to the environment. Enjoyed reading it.
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✨A story of changes, big and small✨

50 years isn’t a long time. When thinking about the grand scale of our planet, 50 years is no time at all. So how do we reckon with the impacts of 50 years? Hope Jahren tackles that question in The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where To Go From Here. (#gifted #netgalley)

The author sets up this tale as her reluctant acceptance of teaching a class on climate change. She felt it was an impossible task. Why teach something when it all feels so futile on the personal scale. If she knew all the data and still drove a oil-leaking car, how could she teach college students anything meaningful? Instead of somehow finding optimism, she decided to look at ~change~ itself. And with that we have this book.

Jahren uses a 50 year time frame to compare life and the earth before and after. 1969, the year she was born, to 2019, a year in the midst of a climate crisis. It’s just a small scale, with huge implications. Chapter by chapter, she goes through how our way of life has changed in those 50 years: everything from population growth, how we grow grains and meat, how we travel and keep the lights on. And she goes into how things have changed for the planet, from air composition, weather patterns and the seas.

It all makes for an easily digestible, information-packed crash course on our changing planet. And throughout, Jahren mixes in how she and her family fit into the whole thing with anecdotes and asides, to add a personal touch to something both global and impersonal yet so important for each individual.

Jahren by no means takes any blame or responsibility away from the massive corporations and entities who have the most riding on them in this crisis. But she does offer some changes we all could make if we don’t want to feel like the effort is hopeless or futile. Doing something is better than doing nothing after all.

Hope Jahren’s debut book, Lab Girl, was and is still one of my favorite books. Does this compare? No. But no climate change manifesto ever could rise up to meet such an emotional memoir. Do I still wholeheartedly recommend this, for informed and uninformed world citizens alike? Absolutely. 💚💚💚💚
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A book about climate change the past, the present and the future. Jahren starts from early on what has led to this topic by topic. I appreciated how the book split into different topics and how she bridges the topics. Another thing which made this a great read is how the author made parallels with her life and with her experiences. These things put things often in perspective. I underlined so many parts of the book, also some of them just pure funny. 
For example: Nevertheless, the world places great symbolic value on the appearance of loyalty to these doomed protocols. Donald Trump announcing that the United States will not comply with the terms of the Paris Agreement is like me announcing that I will not rule England after Queen Elizabeth dies, but the international media still reported it as news.
Such a pleasurable read and also filled with true facts and numbers, which I definitely appreciate. Definitely also brief enough for anyone to pick it up. Moreover, I think this would be a great read for middle/high school students.
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An eye opening  fact filled book about climate changes.Written in a manner we can all understand and learn from.An important book  one that will teach you science in a style all can understand.##netgalley#knopdoubleday
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As the subtitle explains, Jahren’s ambitious book shows us how humanity’s enterprising spirit drove us into our current consumerist society. Divided into short chapters that don’t overwhelm readers, she explains the steps that led to our current food, energy, and environmental (air pollution, global warming, mass extinction) crisis. What I love the most is that Jahren then tells us what we can do to mitigate these; but she does it by offering us baby steps: focus on just one of the issues she mentions in the book and follow the suggestions she offers.

Jahren’s mastery of her topic and understanding of her reader’s possible anxieties result in a book that offers a glimpse of hope in what would otherwise be a very grim reality.
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With her debut "Lab Girl," Hope Jahren signalled the entry of a new master of science writing, someone able to distil complexity into eloquent, comprehensible story. In "The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here," Jahren, a geobiologist by trade, narrates a class she regularly gives on climate change. As a primer, and indeed even for those well read on the subject, the book is superb, nineteen short chapters bundling up a vast amount of data into coherent morsels. Jahren has the scientist's (indeed, dare I say it, the mathematician's) gift of isolating what to sum up. Mostly here, her emphasis is on the "more" of the title, humanity's vastly expanded earthly footprint over the past half century or so. After tackling where we are, she covers food and wastage, and then energy, and then the core of global warming, including brilliant chapters on rising sea levels and species' extinctions. Unsurprisingly perhaps, the only area I found myself disagreeing with was how to reduce emissions from energy production, which is political as much as scientific. And a concluding appendix, "The Story of Less," includes a section on personally reducing emissions that is at once necessary and heartfelt, but also naïve (a familiar distraction from political action on climate change is to assert the individual's role). "The Story of More" concludes with an invigorating section on data sources for all the issues covered. Jahren is a beguiling stylist and a terrific organizer of ideas. All up, this is a vital book for our times.
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Readers who enjoyed “Lab Girl” as much as I did will welcome Hope Jahren’s new book, “The Story of More,” which examines the threats that our consumption of fossil fuels and our growing population pose  to our world. “Using less and sharing more is the biggest challenge our generation will ever face,” Jahren writes, and “The Story of More”—based on a college course Jahren teaches and written in the same personal and conversational voice as “Lab Girl”—propels the reader through sections titled Food, Energy and Earth to present a panoramic view of how we got to where we are on climate change. Anecdotal and peppered with relatable analogies, “The Story of More” aims not to frighten the reader with dire predictions (as Jahren writes, “The idea of scaring the public for the sake of scaring it scares me. People don’t make good decisions out of fear, history seems to have shown, and at least some of the time, people who are afraid are also prone to doing nothing”) but to tell the story clearly and convincingly and give some small measure of hope that there can still be a happy ending. 

Many thanks to NetGalley and Vintage Books for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for my honest review.
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Fascinating, mind-blowing, thought provoking, inspiring!! Everyone needs to read this book. With easier to understand science, it was more enjoyable to read than her previous book “Lab Girl” (though I loved that one too!). Hope provides evidence of all the small things that make up alll the big things that are killing our planet. And how do we go from here? She helps outline practical things we can all do to help our planet breathe easier. At times I was scared, and then I became hopeful that we can make a change for our planet.
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Having hope requires courage.~from The Story of More by Hope Jahren

Succinct, well organized, and with a powerful narrative that is engrossing and accessible, The Story of More crunches down what I have read in numerous books into 224 pages.

Author Hope Jahren, author of the best-selling memoir Lab Girl, based the book on her climate change classes.

"All of this has convinced me that it's time to bring global change out of my classroom and into this book," Jahren writes in the introduction. "So if you'll listen, I'll tell you what happened to my world, to your world--to our world. It changed."

She starts at the very beginning--the fact that humans are on this earth and that our population is continually growing. Following a logical narrative, Jahren covers how we get our food and our growing energy use and the changes we have wrought on earth.

Along the way she points out that we have enough of everything but it is not shared equitably. Millions live without enough food, clean water and other things some of us take for granted. And millions of us spend money on things we don't need, wasting the clean water and energy available.

Scientists have been aware for nearly my entire lifetime that our dependence on fossil fuels was a problem. We have seen the environmental damage caused by human activity, including factory farms and our dependence on gasoline fueled cars and air travel. We know that the sea level is rising and glaciers and the polar ice caps are melting.

Jahren concludes with actions we can all take.

First, we must determine our personal values. Learn what you can about what you value. Are your personal activities in line with those values? What about your personal investments--are they in line with your values? How we spend our money and how we invest our money should reflect what we believe. Share your values with institutions to pressure change.

Americans can make a huge impact. Every step we take to limit our energy use and reduce our consumption makes an impact. We can't give up. We can do with less.

Do not be seduced by lazy nihilism.~ from The Story of More by Hope Jahren

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
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THE STORY OF MORE by Hope Jahren (Lab Girl) is subtitled "How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here." She divides the text into sections titled Life, Food, Energy, and Earth, with an Appendix called The Story of Less. The last was of particular interest – there she outlines a number of steps (examine your values, gather information, and look at making your personal activities, investments and institutions consistent with your values) and summarizes additional eye-opening statistics (e.g., demographic and energy use changes in the last 50 years), plus provides a long list of recommended reading and data set links. Jahren's credentials are impressive – recipient of three Fulbright awards and recognized in 2016 as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world, she is currently a professor at the University of Oslo.  THE STORY OF MORE received a starred review from Library Journal while Booklist notes how its foundational approach to climate change is YA-accessible.  Classes could readily use this text to prompt discussion and further exploration. Listen to a five minute excerpt here:  
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/575671/the-story-of-more-by-hope-jahren/
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Hope Jahren is a brilliant, quietly hilarious writer. I was a huge fan of Lab Girl and I am constantly struck by her ability to explain difficult concepts in ways that people will actually remember. I also appreciate her approach to showing how individuals can make a difference in the area of climate change and her unwillingness to give in to gloom, to the idea that it's too late, that individuals can't make a difference. The Story of More is definitely a book I will be returning to.
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This is an excellent, highly readable and engaging book about climate change. I found the information compelling and thought-provoking. Overall this is a great overview of the causes of climate change with concrete suggestions for addressing it.
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Hope Jahren is an award-winning scientist, a brilliant writer, a passionate teacher, and one of the seven billion people with whom we share this earth. In The Story of More, she illuminates the link between human habits and our imperiled planet. In concise, highly readable chapters, she takes us through the science behind the key inventions—from electric power to large-scale farming to automobiles—that, even as they help us, release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere like never before. She explains the current and projected consequences of global warming—from superstorms to rising sea levels—and the actions that we all can take to fight back. At once an explainer on the mechanisms of global change and a lively, personal narrative given to us in Jahren’s inimitable voice, The Story of More is the essential pocket primer on climate change that will leave an indelible impact on everyone who reads it.
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By the author of Lab Girl, Hope Jahren writes about the science behind important inventions from electricity to automobiles. She talks about the consequences of global warming and the actions that can be taken against it. Wonderful book about climate change that everyone should read.
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A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down is a concise description of The Story of More. Hope Jahren  has written a passionate, direct and searing indictment of what Man has made of this planet in just her lifetime (She repeats at least 20 times she was born in 1969). And yet, every chapter (there are 19) begins with a nostalgic look at her childhood in Minnesota, her parents, family rituals, and life at that time. She had a pet chunk of ice she named Covington that she kicked all the way to school and back all winter. The book is a wonderfully odd combination of warm, fuzzy memories and stark, fraught trends and stats, that do not portend good things to come.

Minnesota and her later home in Iowa have changed dramatically over her lifetime. The increased amount of corn per acre is stunning, but pales before the amount of fertilizer and pesticides used to get those better yields. She says we have pushed plants to produce as much as they physically can, and where we go for more is unfathomable. Not that we make good use of it. About 20% is simply burned up in biofuels, and most of it goes to feed domesticated animals for meat. The amount actually consumed as food comes dead last. She backs it up with figures, both global and American, that demonstrate the really poor connection between then and now. (She lists them all again at the end, because frankly, it's all very hard to believe one at a time.)

Americans eat 15% more food today. It shows. They throw out 40% of the food they buy, enough to feed all the undernourished in the rest of the world. By 2004, Americans were consuming a pound and a half of sugar - a week. In sum,  Americans, who make up  4% of the global population, consume 15% of the food, 15% of the energy and 20% of the electricity in the world. If the rest of mankind were to the rise to that level - the world could simply not work.

Already, half the fish we eat are farmed because there aren't enough left in the wild. The amount of excrement they produce is way more than the oceans can deal with. Similarly, cattle and our other domesticated animals produce 300 million tons of feces a year, far in excess of the amount humans produce as a result of eating them. It's not a beneficial tradeoff. To make that manure,  those animals consume a billion tons of grain, in order to give consumers (just) 100 million pounds of meat. This math leads nowhere good, and Jahren soon switches from dispassionate scientist to frustration:
"The amount of fruits and vegetables that is wasted each year exceeds the annual food supply of fruit and vegetables for the whole continent of Africa. We live in an age when we can order a pair of tennis shoes from a warehouse on the other side of the planet and have them shipped to a single address in less than 24 hours; don't tell me that a global food distribution is impossible." 

All this overconsumption seems to have done Americans no good. They are no happier now that they work more, eat more, drive more, fly more and consume more. Quite the opposite, according to the figures. She says we need to consume less and share more. But neither of those are American values any more, and she has no stats for trends in sharing - just aspirations. More is a one way street, an addiction and a plague on the planet. Americans have yet to notice.

Meanwhile, there are (still) a billion people with no access to electricity. 

Her 19 chapters cover the gamut from plastics to cars to species extinctions, passing through global warming and greenhouse gases. She has unkind words for both deniers and alarmists; neither is doing any good. She is all about reducing consumption, and concludes with how each individual American can reduce consumption and actually make a difference. "If we want to take action, we should get started while it still matters what we do." 

David Wineberg
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I am currently looking for a book to use in a revamped environmental science course at school for next year and I am going to recommend this one.  It walks the readers through current environmental challenges and manages to convey the seriousness of the issues without leaving the reader suffering from terminal nihilism.  Each chapter contains concrete ideas about things that we can do to help in the moment, and I think it hits the right time for teenagers.  A good overall view of the current environmental crisis.
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