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The World According to Anna by Jostein Gaarder

by Venky


The author of the bestselling “Sophie’s World” trains his sights on the alarming prospects for the world, courtesy global warming in his book, “The World According to Anna”. This is more of a primer on the ecological controversy that has created a pure divide between the prophets of doom and the steadfast rational optimists.

Anna Nyrud is a sixteen year old Norweigian girl who nurtures a deep concern for the depleting world ecosystem. Her worries are exacerbated when she starts receiving ‘messages’ from the future. These messages are transmitted to her in the form of dreams where she meets and metamorphoses into her great granddaughter Nova. Her parents arrange for a counselling session with a psychiatrist in Oslo, Dr.Benjamin Antonsen who after examining Anna gives her a clean chit in so far as her mental faculties are concerned.

The visions however refuse to fade away. A desolate and depleted Earth in 2082 bereft of most of the current species, a sorry mass of a Planet with melted glaciers and other catastrophic climate changes, a flood of refugees from a now extinct Arab streaming across the mountains of Norway all rack her sleep and gives her tormented nights.

When Dr.Benjamin’s daughter Ester Antonsen, a Norweigian aid worker working in Somalia gets abducted by eco terrorists who demand that Statoil a multinational oil conglomerate, working off the coast of Somalia immediately stop their oil exploration and exploitation activities, Anna decides to write a letter to her future great grand daughter Nova on the possibilities for saving Planet Earth. Employing a language that is simple and easy to understand, Jostein Gaarder takes us through the potential perils that can be triggered by a selfish and untrammeled working of Earth’s finite natural resources. He tries to convey the most important message that nature has neither rewards not punishments, but only consequences. While the rational optimists such as the much acclaimed Science Author and a Conservative Hereditary Peer in the House of Lords, Matt Ridley might not agree with most of what has been explored in this book and will surely have their own version to defend their counter claims, there is no escaping the fact that humanity’s greed poses the greatest threat to mankind itself. The human species as a whole seems to be totally oblivious to the obligations that we owe to our future generations. An obligation that extends no only to the well being of Homo Sapiens but also to the growth, preservation and protection of all flora and fauna, not to mention the environment.

As Anna reminds us there is still time for us to act. Let us join together not only to make the present a conducive world to live in, but also to carve out a memorable future.

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