The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green Review

Posted on April 24, 2022

If you read one of my recent blog posts, then you know why I read this book, didn’t like it, and tried again.

This is me trying.

Back with a vengeance, in the form of an audiobook on my Libby app, and I finished the entire book. I came (back from browsing Libby), I saw (listened to 10 hours worth of audio), and I conquered (no explanation needed) this book that has haunted my dreams since DNFing.

Lacking any intelligent, or introverted, teenagers this book is filled with essays that began as a podcast and romantically turned into a book. At first, it didn’t feel like I was reading the podcast’s greatest hits but more like a chapter book on things that the author found interesting. Maybe it’s because the author is narrating the book himself, but I enjoyed reading it the second time around.

Green defines the Anthropocene as the current geological age, in which human activity has profoundly shaped the planet and its biodiversity. The line of thought Green creates starting with what a wonderful place we live in using the most uncomplicated examples, like Canadian Geese, and tying it into a call to action for preserving, creates a ridiculous knot only fans would appreciate.

The string of reasoning Green produces when it comes to one of his chapters on teddy bears and how its adorableness could save all bears from extinction was somewhat reasonable. It left me feeling surprised and curious about our environment and if we will ever get to a point in our environmental decline where animals will need air conditioning to survive.

As someone who is trying their best to reduce their carbon footprint, I can’t help focusing on the author’s emphasis on saving the environment in the first half of the book. What seems mundane, like Canadian Geese or scratch-and-sniff stickers, becomes examples for readers to appreciate.

Reading about Green’s personal experiences made me think of all of the good things that were built in this world that humanity has not ruined. It warms my heart to read it.

Will this be the book that convinces people to be environmentally conscious? I hope so.

Not every chapter revolves around conservation, but other than being a light-hearted book, Green successfully gave good points about the Anthropocene. The point of it is that if it weren’t for our existence, we would have never experienced many of the awesome moments in our life.

The point of it is if we never existed, then we would have missed out on Lascaux paintings in France, or the World’s Largest Ball of Paint. Maybe having simple things that exist is meaningless, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. Life is hard, we’ve gone through a pandemic and Russia is invading Ukraine as we speak.

Maybe these nostalgic tchotchkes won’t solve world hunger or lower our carbon footprint, I’m not ever sure paint is environmentally friendly, but if we find something that brings joy for a little bit in this unfriendly world then it’s essential to our livelihood.

Now, will every chapter grasp the readers’ full attention on Green’s favorite topics? I’m not sure.

This is where turning a podcast into a book can go wrong. While every chapter has the same humanitarian vibe, not everyone will enjoy certain chapters about movies, sports, or people. It’s one of the reasons why it took me so long to finish this book.

The Anthropocene Review is a hodgepodge of interesting but detrimental reviews on mundane objects, experiences, and events and brings them to a new light. What’s brought together from Green’s reviews is something creative, heartfelt, and somewhat inspiring. Multiple times Green echoed that we are never alone, nature is amazing and should be preserved as if cherished.