It’s exciting to be growing up in a unique world, where chaos and order, destruction and beauty, war and peace are in constant conflict. Where there are smoky skies polluted by factory fumes, there is also a tranquil sea where life thrives. Where there is a densely packed forest, a lumber mill settles for profit. Climate change is a topic I hear volumes about, but digest snippets of. It often seems like a problem faced by another world, another generation, another society. I suppose that’s the easy route, to blind oneself from reality and only hear and see what one wants to believe.
But it is courageous changemakers who can break out of the clutches of this blindness and act on the facts. Andri Snær Magnason possesses a rare gift to turn a topic as broad and dense as climate change into something that personally relates to the cultures of humanity and our time on the planet. The unique interplay between our own lives and the natural world around us is often forsaken by our consumerist mindset in this capitalist society. Time passes by, unspoken like a gentle breeze, until one day we find ourselves lost and wondering where it all went and where the breeze has carried us.
On Time and Water is a unique take on climate change that is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It shows climate change in a completely new light, in a personal way. It is a story about the author’s family and their undying bond with nature that ultimately reflects how climate change can (and will) affect us all. Magnason’s book serves as a reminder of our true purpose, making us question what ultimate goal we keep striving for, what race we keep running in, what path we’re trying not to stray from. The news is often filled with headlines of disasters due to changing climatic conditions, the need to act NOW, but there is rarely any news of what specific action needs to be taken or why climate change is something that needs to be addressed and not just feared.
There is no point in holding on to artificial hope that the situation will magically resolve itself or anticipating meaningful legislation from our ambitious politicians as they jet set to “climate change conferences”. The earth thrives on a delicate natural balance but the scale is tipping enormously to one side. It’s easy to believe and see only what we want to, but we have to face the facts: our home is a living being and it is dying, and we, the inhabitants, are the driving cause. Countries with egocentric consumerist mindsets are greatly to blame for our lack of sustainability and global emissions – especially when it comes to manufacturing goods, destroying wildlife to create energy production sites, and generating power and electricity by burning fossil fuels. Quoting Magnason himself, “There’s a reason to take notice of the present. The time of greatest change is upon us”.
With his powerful soul-stirring analogies and real-life examples, he evokes feelings of reverence for Mother Earth. We may be a small spark, yet we can make a big mark.
Reading this book has given me a deeper appreciation for Icelandic culture and heritage and their respect for nature and her bounty. It is always beautiful to see a culture’s similarities with other cultures, and also how deeply rooted it is in the hearts and traditions of its people. Nature holds a deep significance in almost every culture on Earth. I never realized how closely connected to the Earth’s stories we are as individuals and I feel fortunate to have gotten in touch with such a compelling piece of literature.
Anvi is a high school junior in Southern California. When she’s not daydreaming or reading her favorite book till 1 a.m., you might find her in the kitchen baking with her little brother, skateboarding in the neighborhood, in the depths of the internet perusing the latest in technology, or searching for the best places to go skydiving someday. A Ravenpuff and devout Star Wars Prequels fan, her friends fondly call her Mulan.
We featured On Time and Water in our February book box subscription. The book is still available for purchase. To subscribe to the latest edition of the book box, click here. Another review of the book can be found here.