Monday, September 6, 2010



By Meg Bowman

At a time when much of our literature is awash with pronouncements of gloom and doom, Burt and Margie Liebert’s new book, Out of the Cage, is Eleanor Roosevelt’s proverbial candle in the darkness. For over half a century we have been regaled with dire warnings of nuclear war, greenhouse gasses, global warming, climate change, and the coming storms, floods, droughts, fires, and loss of planetary species.

Not that we can afford to ignore these warnings. The threat is real. But beyond warnings we need a plan. That plan is clearly laid out in Out of the Cage. While the book does deal with the usuals of green technology––solar panels, wind generators––it also goes well beyond.

Don’t be afraid to get your head out of the cage, the authors are saying, and visualize a whole new way of life. I find it interesting that their solution lies not in endlessly generating more and more energy, but in needing less, on finding satisfaction in human relationships instead of the never-ending quest for wealth and possessions. It is a treatise on humanism, on ethical living.

As frosting on the cake, we get an intriguing love story, featuring Gordon van Cleve, wealthy, sophisticated New York business executive, who views the concept with deep distaste. I wondered as I read, if Gordon was really me, finding the whole idea a bit unrealistic. But on second thought, maybe . . . . And finally, the idea came together so logically, I wonder why it isn’t our prevailing life style. I would have liked the authors to tell us how to get there from here. But on the other hand, it leaves a challenge for us to get our heads out of the cage and build a world that will allow our children and grandchildren to experience the same gloriously abundant planet we enjoy today.

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