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Now or Never: Why We Must Act Now to End Climate Change and Create a Sustainable Future [Hardcover]

Tim Flannery
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's now or never for our living planet!! Jan. 14 2010
By Stephen Pletko TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
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"The climatic tipping point is the point at which the greenhouse gas concentration reaches a level sufficient to cause catastrophic climate change. The point of no return is reached when that concentration of greenhouse gas has been in place sufficiently long to give rise to an irreversible process. Humanity is now between a tipping point and point of no return."

(So my question that begs an answer: when will we reach the point of no return?)

The above quotation comes from this slim, riveting book by Tim Flannery. Flannery, a professor at Macquarie University (in Sydney, Australia), is a scientist (mammalogist, palaeontologist), explorer, and conservationist. He is chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council (an international climate change awareness group), the Australasian representative for the National Geographic Society, and a director of the Australian Wildlife Conservatory.

QUESTION: what does this book (which Flannery calls a "essay") prove? ANSWER: we have entered a new geographical era of our own making. After the Pleistocene (the period of the ice ages) and the Holocene (the ten thousand years of interglacial warmth that followed), we have entered the Anthropocene (the climate of man).

Using recent data, Flannery takes us on an eye-opening tour of the environmental challenges we face and their possible solutions. Is the situation hopeless? NO. Flannery believes that "a sense of hopelessness is just as great a danger to our future as the bankrupt philosophies of the recent past."

After Flannery's main narrative is concluded, there is a final section consisting of six responses of people who have read this book. (One response is written by two people.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading Nov. 16 2009
By E. M. Cohen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I strongly urge everyone to read this outstanding and very readable new essay by Tim Flannery, PhD : "Now or Never: Why We Must Act Now to End Climate Change and Create a Sustainable Future." Whatever your passions and interests, this book is a must read.

It's a relatively quick, science-based, and powerful read on the urgent challenges we face globally as well as possible solutions (including changes in land management from the tropics to grasslands). Flannery explains the complex science in easy-to-comprehend language (especially welcome in this day of political bickering and obfuscation). It builds on his previous excellent book on climate change "The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth."

While many ecologists believe that all too many bird and other wildlife species may not be able to adapt to accelerating global environmental changes over the decades ahead (including climate change, land use changes, pollution, invasive non- native species and fresh water diversions), there are opportunities to make a big difference- for wildlife and for humanity.

The key, according to Flannery, is that we must get our planet back to a "stable" concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere - especially CO2 (~350 ppm down from our current 387+) in the decades ahead.

As he highlights, strategies for CO2 removal from the atmosphere necessarily include changes in land-use management strategies from the tropics poleward. A weakness in his essay is that he does not address the issue of water-- how that is fundamental to the ecosystem processes that will drive our ability to implement habitat management strategies to significantly increase nature's ability to permanently soak up carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

Nonetheless, this is vital reading.

The book has a bonus-- commentary from several environmental thinkers and leaders globally. Their comments and criticisms of Flannery's essay are well worth reading but some, in my view, are surprisingly limited in view. Flannery's essay --and the accelerating climate crisis itself -- demand bold, creative, out-of-the-box thinking and leadership -- as only rarely seen in human history.

Flannery makes his message clear in a compelling, scientifically-valid and hope filled manner: we have no time to lose but we can make a difference if we act now.

Get a copy of the book and read it today. It may just change your life.... and the lives of billions of other living creatures on our lone planet.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lyrical and powerful call to action Oct. 16 2009
By Mark J. Bohrer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you're concerned about climate change, you should read this book to understand the latest findings. For anyone who is not aware of the full magnitude of the crisis, this book shows clearly the scope and breadth of the problem we face. Tim provides a high level picture of the latest scientific research - and it's not a good prognosis. The 2001 IPCC report had a prediction of climate change in the years ahead. They had a "most likely" temperature change curve, with predictions of the possible upper (most pessimistic) and lower (most optimistic) bounds. Well, based on the actual measurements from 2001 through 2006, we are above the worst case scenario curve. The earth is changing faster than the scientific models predicted in 2001. As Tim Flannery says, we're in uncharted territory, and heading farther in the wrong direction each day.

This is the book to share with your friends to spread the word that we need to take action NOW. The latest research points to very disturbing possibilities if we don't act. The growing scientific consensus is that we are somewhere in between a tipping point and the point of no return, where the climate changes so dramatically that it would radically alter the earth's ecosystems. He has some significant ways (that were mostly new to me) that we can make changes to how we live as a species on this planet and how we can take steps to limit or reverse our impact. As he states, we have a window of a few decades to make significant progress.

The book is organized with his essay as the first 2/3, followed by responses from environmentalists and business leaders (two examples: Bill McKibben of 350.org, and Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group). The other viewpoints expand or challenge some of Tim's recommendations. A real call to action. I thought it was a great book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has changed my life Nov. 14 2010
By Sherry Prokopuk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a very powerful book. It has profoundly changed the way I look at the environmental crisis. I read it in one night and by the end I was crying. I will also go as far as to say that this book has changed my life. If you have kids, you owe it to them to read it. If you have an interest in future generations, you must read it.

This book has inspired me to act. I feel like I am one small voice against a terrifying foe, but unless millions of small voices like me start to act, there will be no change.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's NOW OR NEVER for our living planet!! Jan. 13 2010
By Stephen Pletko - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
XXXXX

"The climatic tipping point is the point at which the greenhouse gas concentration reaches a level sufficient to cause catastrophic climate change. The point of no return is reached when that concentration of greenhouse gas has been in place sufficiently long to give rise to an irreversible process. Humanity is now between a tipping point and point of no return."

(So my question that begs an answer: when will we reach the point of no return?)

The above quotation comes from this slim, riveting book by Tim Flannery. Flannery, a professor at Macquarie University (in Sydney, Australia), is a scientist (mammalogist, palaeontologist), explorer, and conservationist. He is chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council (an international climate change awareness group), the Australasian representative for the National Geographic Society, and a director of the Australian Wildlife Conservatory.

QUESTION: what does this book (which Flannery calls a "essay") prove? ANSWER: we have entered a new geological era of our own making. After the Pleistocene (the period of the ice ages) and the Holocene (the ten thousand years of interglacial warmth that followed), we have entered the Anthropocene (the climate of man).

Using recent data, Flannery takes us on an eye-opening tour of the environmental challenges we face and their possible solutions. Is the situation hopeless? NO. Flannery believes that "a sense of hopelessness is just as great a danger to our future as the bankrupt philosophies of the recent past."

After Flannery's main narrative is concluded, there is a final section consisting of six responses of people who have read this book. (One response is written by two people.) These people respectively are a scholar; an entrepreneur; a professor of bioethics; the president and director of the Environmental Defence Fund; a freelance journalist and lecturer on international affairs; and a former environmental journalist.

After these six responses are concluded, there is one brief reply to all of them by Flannery.

Finally, the only problem with this book is that it has no index. Yes, this book is slim so perhaps it doesn't really need an index. However, Flannery packs so much information (and new information) into each page that I feel an index would have been a helpful addition.

In conclusion, this book combines Flannery's passion for this subject with his interdisciplinary scientific precision. I leave you with Flannery's answer to the question that I posed in parenthesis above:

"I think that there is now a better than even risk that, despite our best efforts, in the coming two or three decades Earth's climate system will pass the point of no return. This is most emphatically not a counsel of despair; it is simply a statement of my assessment of probability."

(first published 2009; forward by David Suzuki; 10 chapters; main narrative 105 pages; notes; 6 responses; 1 reply)

<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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1.0 out of 5 stars A Missed Opportunity Dec 28 2013
By Judy Lindow - Published on Amazon.com
I have to return this book because I agree with Peter Singer. Strongly. And think Mr. Flannery's rebuttal is weak, weak, weak; this is no time to avoid the impact our food choices have in contributing to climate change. This is NOT just about methane and nitrous oxide, it's about deforestation (loss of carbon intake, sequestration, oxygen, etc.) for grazing and global depletion of resources. I feel the book verges on denial when it ignores the gravitas of eating meat. Boo.
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