on May 18, 2010
The planet we once knew as Earth is gone, and we must learn to survive on this strange new world we now inhabit -- Eaarth. This is the basis of Bill McKibben's latest book; one half being the same old, the other being some interesting, some might say radical, ideas.
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.
Overall, while not a ground-breaking work, McKibben does present some ideas to mull over and to consider. I only wish he had have concentrated more on presenting his ideas on how to live on this new Eaarth, instead of showing us, again, why global warming is such a bad thing. Not likely to convince those who are not already convinced, it will at the very least, make you think.
on May 27, 2010
Bill McKibben says the reason his book's title has an extra "A" is we're already living on a different planet, because so much has changed in such a short time. We have to look at our world in a different way to understand this.
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.
McKibben changes the terms of the climate change debate. He presents an overwhelming argument that it is already too late to stop catastrophic global change. The catastrophe is already here. He further argues that all the feedback loops of global warming lead the wrong way. The melting ice caps lead to greater heat retention by a dark ocean surface. The melting tundra releases vast quantities of methane. The mass death of trees further intensifies the heat and aridity. I thought that increased CO2 would at least stimulate plant growth, but McKibben claims that overheated plants consume less CO2.
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.
on November 7, 2012
Devastating, horrifying and hopeful. This is a new book by the author of "The End of Nature," which was written twenty years ago to warn us of the dangers of climate change if we didn't act quickly to reverse the amount of carbon emissions. Well, guess what, we didn't listen and in fact everything is much worse now. And not only that, the author admits that he was wrong in some of his predictions - wrong about how quickly things would begin to change. They are changing much faster than anybody anticipated.
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.
on November 22, 2012
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 details and "in your face" evidence. This may be a tough read for some folks who do not want to be held responsible or for those who expect things to go on as they have historically. It is more than a wake up call; it is a call to action. It is also a heads up for all of us who expect to be alive the day after tomorrow. HIGHLY recommended.
on August 13, 2010
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 have a 'problem with growth'. It is not all doom and gloom, offering hope IF we make significant changes in the way we live. The book is well written and documented, and the author often displays a sense of humor lacking in most 'tree hugger' books. It posits that the planet we've always known and taken for granted is GONE (hence the title) and cannot be refurbished and then it will be 'business as usual' This is the MOST IMPORTANT BOOK I HAVE EVER READ (in over 50 years as a reader). If you read only one more book this year, I urge you to make "Eaarth" that one book.
on September 8, 2015
This is a book that presents dire forecasts for the future but also provides practical advice on how to cope in a changing world. The ideas are written in an entertaining and humorous fashion.
on August 31, 2010
I have read a number of climate change books and most of them are very pessimistic about the future of earths climate.The are written either by scientists or journalists who's books are based on scientists research.This book is a bit different in that the first half describes in disturbing detail the degree to which our planets climate is changing but the second half offers real hope that if we take action soon we can survive the inevitable changes that are here now or soon will be.The future depends on individuals building a fiture in living in smaller communities and surviving on locally made products.If you read only one book on climate change then this is the best one.
"Apollo 8 was orbiting the moon, the astronauts busy photographing possible landing zones for the missions that would follow. On the fourth orbit, commander Frank Borman decided to roll the craft away from the moon and tilt its windows toward the horizon [since] he needed a navigational fix. What he got, instead, was a sudden view of the Earth, rising...
Crew member Bill Anders grabbed a camera and took the photograph that became the iconic image perhaps of all time. "Earthrise," as it was eventually known, that picture of a blue-and-white marble floating amid the vast backdrop of space, set against the barren edge of the lifeless moon. Borman said later that it was "the most beautiful, eye-catching sight of my life, one that sent a torrent of nostalgia, of sheer homesickness, surging through me. It was the only thing in space that had any colour to it. Everything else was simply black or white. But not the Earth...
BUT WE KNOW LONGER LIVE ON THAT PLANET. In the four decades since, that Earth has changed in profound ways...The world hasn't ended, but the world as we knew it has--even if we don't quite know it yet...it's...a different planet. It needs a new name. EAARTH."
The above is found in this monumental book by Bill McKIBBEN. He is an environmentalist, writer, and author. The "Boston Globe" in 2010 says "he's probably the nation's [that is, the United States] leading environmentalist" and "Time" magazine described him as "the world's leading green journalist." McKIBBEN is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College in Vermont.
We have waited too long. Our old familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding, and burning in ways that no human has ever seen. We've created a new planet, still recognizable but fundamentally different.
Generally, the first half of this book surveys the evidence for climate-driven impacts on the planet's major features. The second half offers a solution by way of a new mindset, by taking an imperfect but provocative look at "the architecture for the world that comes next, the dispersed and localized societies that can survive the damage we can no longer prevent."
Finally, this book is well-written telling it like it is but offering hope, optimism, and even humour in places.
In conclusion, this is an important book telling us that climate change is a real & present danger and how we can possibly cope with that danger. I leave you with the words of the late, great astronomer and planetary scientist Dr. Carl Sagan, inspired by a Voyager 1 spacecraft image of the Earth as seen from 3.7 million miles away:
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbour life. There is, nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we must make our stand."
(first published 2010; preface; 4 chapters; main narrative 210 pages; notes; acknowledgments; index; about the author)
<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>
on July 28, 2011
The author seems to be talking rather clearly. He is not talking through his hat.
Our past is over; our future is pending. Eaarth is a discussion pertaining to a struggling now.
The question is: Are we able to read? Are we able to read our surroundings? Have all levels of schooling been successful for each generation?
I have been initiated into the instruction of reading that which is around me. Eaarth is not a doomsday book. It is a book to ignite, to create focus, to create definition, requesting a coherence of thought.
I, a Christian, have learned to see/read Creation differently including marketing, purchasing, education, politics, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, health...... Immediately I recall the first words the Good Lord spoke to Adam after he decided to go his own way, namely "Where are you Adam?" The words of yesteryear continue to ring true today.
Earth is no longer here. Eaarth is about what we have.