Stefan Bonner worked both as a journalist and editor before he went freelance as a book author. Together with Anne Weiss, he co-authored several best-selling books, including Generation Doof, Generation Weltuntergang, and Wir Kassettenkinder. Using both a critical and entertaining style of writing, these books appeal to a wider audience than scientific journals.
Generation Weltuntergang asks, why are we already in the middle of climate change, how much does it effect us and what do we have to do now? The print publication was awarded the Blauen Engel, an environmental label in Germany that has been awarded to particularly environmentally friendly products and services since 1978.
1. What led you and Anne Weiss to co-author several books, including Generation Doof (‘Generation Stupid’) and Generation Weltuntergang (‘Generation Apocalypse’) ?
Initially we both worked as editors for a German publishing house where we shared an office. We soon realized that we also shared the same humor and a similar worldview which includes the feeling that there is something very amiss with our world. Our books are centered around our own Generation, our attitude to life and the spirit of our age.
2. Why did you label the generation ‘Doof’ and ‘Weltuntergang’ ?
Generation Doof (which might translate as ‘generation stupid’ or‚ the ‘dumbest generation’) centred around the problems in our educational system. Generation Weltuntergang (‘generation apocalypse’) describes the effects of climate change and that we are the last generation able to do something about it. We are facing the choice of stopping the destruction of our habitat or leading humankind into total mayhem. In fact, there might be a direct link between the Generation Doof and the Generation Weltuntergang. A species facing its own extinction and reacting as slowly to the problem as humans do, could be regarded as being pretty stupid.
3. What is your desired impact of writing books which are centred around the climate crisis?
The climate crisis is a global problem influencing the life of everyone, so we are all in this together and everyone should ask themselves how they can contribute to a solution with their talents. We choose to use our talent as writers to publish books centred around climate change in order to make the problem known to a wider audience. Generation Weltuntergang is a comprisal of everything there is to know about climate change — its causes and effects on a global basis as well as in our native country, Germany. Our book also deals with the history of climate science, i.e. how long ago scientists already found out about the problem, and how fossil companies and lobbying groups put in a lot of money to prevent solutions and socio-ecological change. By using an informative as well as entertaining style of writing we hope to reach an audience that would usually refrain from reading scientific papers.
4. Why do you think people bury their head in the sand when it comes to climate change?
As I suggested, for one thing it might be an educational problem. Climate science might still be too abstract or theoretical to grasp for the majority. On the other hand, people (especially in the global north) seem to be under the impression that climate change is a problem located in some far away future. It clearly isn’t and countries that already have been suffering from the effects of climate change for a long time now, have been ignored. Therefore, the only positive outcome of the extreme weather conditions that we witness in Europe, in the States or in Australia nowadays might be that people finally realise that the climate crisis is real, it is here and it has to be dealt with quickly.
5. What outcomes would you like to see from COP26?
We are running out of time to stop further global warming with its disastrous effects. World leaders should switch from talking to taking decisive actions to meet the goals of the Paris agreement. We need tangible proposals so each country can make rapid steps towards a carbon free lifestyle and economy. And we need a master plan about how to solve the climate crisis in a common global effort. When the United States started the Manhattan Project in 1942, they gathered the brightest minds and provided them with almost unlimited funding in order to develop the atomic bomb. They succeeded. We now need a new type of Manhattan Project, only this time it’s not a bomb to kill people but techniques and a plan to save the planet.
Buy Generation Weltuntergang here.
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