Twenty years ago, with The End of Nature, Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about global warming. Those warnings went mostly unheeded; now, he insists, we need to acknowledge that we've waited too long and that massive change is not only unavoidable but already under way. Our old familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding, and burning in ways that no human has ever seen. We've created, in very short order, a new planet, still recognizable but fundamentally different. We may as well call it Eaarth.
That new planet is filled with new binds and traps. A changing world costs large sums to defend—think of the money that went to repair New Orleans, or the trillions it will take to transform our energy systems. But the endless economic growth that could underwrite such largesse depends on the stable planet we've managed to damage and degrade. We can't rely on old habits any longer. Our hope depends, McKibben argues, on scaling back—on building the kind of societies and economies that can hunker down, concentrate on essentials, and create the type of community (in the neighborhood, but also on the Internet) that will allow us to weather trouble on an unprecedented scale. Change—fundamental change—is our best hope on a planet suddenly and violently out of balance.
©2010 Bill McKibben (P)2010 Macmillan Audio
"Read it, please. Straight through to the end. Whatever else you were planning to do next, nothing could be more important." (Barbara Kingsolver)
"What distinguishes McKibben as an environmental writer beyond his literary finesse and firm grasp of the complexities of science and society is his generous pragmatism, informed vision of small-scale solutions to our food and energy needs, and belief that Eaarth will remain a nurturing planet if we face facts, jettison destructive habits, and pursue new ways of living with creativity and conscience." (Booklist)
This is a must read for anyone and everyone that lives on this little rock that we call Earth. It is well researched, and for me has opened up my thinking to a few practical yet very important facts concerning our carbon problems. One idea that I was not aware of is the importants of localisation when it came to food production and energy. The author makes it clear that much harm has been already done to our Earth. This is why he refers to this small rock in space as Eaarth. What he does is not ring his hands, but show what can be done on Eaarth as it is today. Much can be done! All should read this book.
Bill McKibben seems to be convinced that catastrophic global warming is coming, there's nothing you can do about it, so you better start getting self-sufficient. After getting the number of 350 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as the upper safe limit from climate science expert James Hansen, he tells us we are past that now and have no realistic chance of getting back to it.
The first part of the book is a collection of the ways Earth has changed because of the global warming that has already occurred. He chose the title Eaarth to make a statement that we aren't living on the Earth we think we know, but a different planet "Eaarth." These changes are quite stunning all laid out one after another.
The second half of the book is very muddled -- as though he couldn't decide what to say about how to fix it. Maybe he knows we can't. He quickly waves off nuclear power and I don't recall a mention of geoengineering at all. Instead, he talks about how great his Vermont farmers market co-op is. The second half is odd -- as though he has decided we're all screwed and need to find small communities to survive with, but doesn't have the heart to come right out and say it.
Having heard a few interviews with McKibben I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately I was pretty disappointed with it. I felt it did not actually discuss the topic of how we could live in the future much, and mostly discussed current and past problems. Also, it was very badly organized - bouncing around from one idea to the next with no real structure. I really don't recommend it.
I am very concerned with climate change, and gave this a listen in hopes of learning something new. The idea that methane and CO2 can be released from warming bogs was new to me, so I learned something.
I wish there was more data to backup general gloom of the book.
This book is extremely well researched and written, but may get dry at some points. The first half of the book is why we should be concerned--for those who already know or are already convinced, this may be tedious. Otherwise, a good compilation.
This book contains a lot of very good, very important information. We as a society need to be building the systems right now that will support us in the near future, and the author makes that point well. Unfortunately, I found the book somewhat uneven, wandering from panic-inducing to blithely optimistic in tone and failing to really discuss at much length what the "new Earth" is going to look like and how we need to be prepared to operate in it.
I loved this book. I think in an effort to maintain their own job security scientists working on climate change are being excessively conservative. its nice to read a book like this where "common sense and plain dealing" are the foundation of the conversation. the only reason i didn't give it five stars was that I felt the last third or so of the book was unfocused and largely unnecessary.
Thanks for another great book Bill and Please for all our sakes keep 'em coming.
McKibben cuts through it all, explains the climate change issue and offers some interesting strategies for ameliorating the problem.
McKibben sets out is argument in a logical and rational way, giving insight and clarity to complex issues, depressing at times (naturally!) but empowering all the same. Following on from his Deep Economy work, this book offers glimpses of how we might change our behaviour as the world around us shifts. It's impossible to walk in a wood after absorbing these words and not feel a different sensitivity to the other species we live amongst.
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