In the Spring of 1969, on the plaza of the University of Oslo, just in front of the Grand Hall used for celebrating the Nobel Peace Prize, I ran into an exhibition arranged by environmentalists. Its topics were population growth and dangerous contamination -- both issues under human control. The book presenting this exhibition had this ending:
All resources should be aiming at only (this) purpose: To save man from starvation and poisoning. We should cease looking at problems individually. We are living on a planet. All problems are ours – are yours. But what can you do? Political action is needed. But this is difficult without a public opinion. You can contribute to this public opinion.
Friends of the Earth Norway: Og etter oss. (And after us.) 1969
Since then, I have found or been made aware of more books with similar endings. A paragraph where the author pleads with the reader one last time to understand his or her view of the human predicament and to implement his or her prescription before it is too late. Each presents the author’s well-argued call to arms, “act better or suffer the consequences of careless actions.”
PS This was originally posted in 2007 on endings.vox.com. In 2010 I had to move this blog to the present platform. I have been unable since to reintroduce the tabs lost at the conversion.