Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet Hardcover – Apr 13 2010
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Since he first heralded our era of environmental collapse in 1989's The End of Nature, Bill McKibben has raised a series of eloquent alarms. In Eaarth, he leads readers to the devastatingly comprehensive conclusion that we no longer inhabit the world in which we've flourished for most of human history: we've passed the tipping point for dramatic climate change, and even if we could stop emissions yesterday, our world will keep warming, triggering more extreme storms, droughts, and other erratic catastrophes, for centuries to come. This is not just our grandchildren's problem, or our children's--we're living through the effects of climate change now, and it's time for us to get creative about our survival. McKibben pulls no punches, and swaths of this book can feel bleak, but his dry wit and pragmatic optimism refuse to yield to despair. Focusing our attention on inspiring communities of "functional independence" arising around the world, he offers galvanizing possibilities for keeping our humanity intact as the world we've known breaks down. --Mari Malcolm
“What I have to say about this book is very simple: Read it, please. Straight through to the end. Whatever else you were planning to do next, nothing could be more important.”
— Barbara Kingsolver, author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
“Bill McKibben is the most effective environmental activist of our age. Anyone interested in making a difference to our world can learn from him.”
— Tim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers and The Eternal Frontier
“Precisely what the world has been waiting for: a smart, practical approach to solving the greatest crisis facing humanity. The fact that it is so beautifully written is an absolute bonus.”
— Bruce Lourie, co-author of Slow Death by Rubber Duck
“With clarity, eloquence, deep knowledge, and even deeper compassion for both planet and people, Bill McKibben guides us to the brink of a new, uncharted era. This monumental book, probably his greatest, may restore your faith in the future, with us in it.”
— Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us
“Bill McKibben foresaw ‘the end of nature’ very early on, and in this new book he blazes a path to help preserve nature’s greatest treasures.”
— James E. Hansen, director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Top Customer Reviews
If you've ever read a book with global warming or climate change as its topic before, you'll know to be ready to be overwhelmed by a myriad of numbers, some interesting, some not so much -- some being ones you've already read. The first half of the book is concerned with convincing us that global warming is a current reality; however, if you're reading this book, you likely already believe it is. We already know global warming is responsible, directly or indirectly, for many a bad thing -- bad things we've already read about a hundred times over from other authours writing on the subject (and McKibben himself in his previous works). I felt this re-analysis of the effects of climate change could have been shortened without drastically reducing the impact of the text.
If, however, you get past the beginning, you'll find Mr. McKibben actually presents some interesting thoughts. He advocates for smaller communities, a clear connection to the land we live on, and a smaller, more localized, variety of economies safe from global catastrophe such as a world-wide recession. As McKibben says, bigger is not always better.
While the first part of the book is largely negative in tone, the second is positive -- perhaps too positive. How do you show a populace already convinced of their need for iPods and iPads that there is another, more fulfilling, way? One based on community, not material gain? Unfortunately, he doesn't give us that answer.Read more ›
His easy way of writing, laced with humour and unforgettable images, make this book readily understandable for everyone. And it's short: You can read it in just a few days.
In the first half, he explains how life on our planet today has been changed by global warming, Some of what you read will surprise you and even shock you, but all of it is interesting.
On page 99, he starts writing about solutions -- possibilities for our future and methods for adapting to our new environment. He writes, "Like someone lost in the woods, we need to stop running, sit down, see what's in our pockets that might be of use, and start figuring out what steps to take."
He tells us how we can manage the changes that will be affecting our lives, rather than just let them happen to us. He says, "We've got to make our societies safer, and that means making them smaller. It means, since we live on a different planet, a different kind of civilization." He describes how we can make this very different world workable -- "how we might keep the lights on, the larder full, and spirits reasonably high."
Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us, writes, "With clarity, eloquence, deep knowledge, and even deeper compassion for both planet and people, Bill McKibben guides us to the brink of a new, uncharted era. This monumental book, probably his greatest, may restore you faith in the future, with us in it."
I'll give this book five stars any day. My children and grandchildren will be getting copies to keep by their bedsides, to be read and re-read in the years to come.
Somehow, the unstinting depiction of a planetary train wreak is handled with wit and even entertainment value. Then the discussion of adjustment strategies is practical, realistic and conversational. It's mostly stories about practical efforts by real, quite ordinary people. McKibben's own story of activism seems quite modest. His trial and error steps seem doable by most anyone with a computer. Like the Arab Spring's leaders, he puts great faith in the Internet as a tool for neighbors to connect.
This chronicle of "Earth with an extra 'a'" is the news of what is happening now and what will come along very soon. Even if we act now, and get total carbon under 350 parts per million, we have gone too far along to reverse certain key trends which are already in motion. We are just going to have to live with this new planet we have built for ourselves. The stable planet that sustained civilization for 10,000 years is gone, McKibben says, and the new one he calls "Eaarth" will not be as hospitable to humans.
But give the guy credit... instead of spending forever on "I told you so," he does get down and dirty with a prescription for making positive change for the future. If he can be hopeful, I guess I can, too.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a book that presents dire forecasts for the future but also provides practical advice on how to cope in a changing world. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Wayne Savard
While everyone else pussyfoots around the subject of humanity's impact on the planet we all inhabit, McKibben goes straight to the factual truth of the matter with undeniable... Read morePublished on Nov. 22 2012 by Leslie Fieger
A good review initially of what has happened historically to arrive at the point we find present day earth. Read morePublished on Nov. 25 2011 by Richard
The author seems to be talking rather clearly. He is not talking through his hat.
Our past is over; our future is pending. Read more
I have read a number of climate change books and most of them are very pessimistic about the future of earths climate. Read morePublished on Aug. 31 2010 by Wayne
This is not only a book about our ecological environment , it addresses our addiction to 'growth' and - to continue the addiction metaphor - our almost universal denial that we... Read morePublished on Aug. 13 2010 by J. Louden
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