"Read it, please. Straight through to the end. Whatever else you were planning to do next, nothing could be more important." —Barbara Kingsolver
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.
The world as we know it has ended forever: that's the melancholy message of this nonetheless cautiously optimistic assessment of the planet's future by McKibben, whose The End of Nature first warned of global warming's inevitable impact 20 years ago. Twelve books later, the committed environmentalist concedes that the earth has lost "the climatic stability that marked all of human civilization." His litany of damage done by a carbon-fueled world economy is by now familiar: in some places rainfall is dramatically heavier, while Australia and the American Southwest face a permanent drought; polar ice is vanishing, glaciers everywhere are melting, typhoons and hurricanes are fiercer, and the oceans are more acidic; food yields are dropping as temperatures rise and mosquitoes in expanding tropical zones are delivering deadly disease to millions. McKibben's prescription for coping on our new earth is to adopt "maintenance as our mantra," to think locally not globally, and to learn to live "lightly, carefully, gracefully" a glass-half-full attitude that might strike some as Pollyannaish or merely insufficient. But for others McKibben's refusal to abandon hope may restore faith in the future.
This must be read
If those who don't "believe" in climate change have you doubting the veracity of the science, this book will quickly convince you that climate change is not only real, but it is the most pressing problem confronting the human race. Somehow, McKibben is able to marshall facts and figures in a way that's both comprehensive and easy to read.
The Ethical Impact of Eaarth
It breaks my heart that I, who love this planet so have come so late to actually doing something. Sure I've changed my life style and reduced my carbon foot print (not enough), and I've been working with businesses to make some changes, but none of it has been enough.
This book has been a painful read but also a soul saver. Resilience doesn't happen if you are not clear about reality. This book helps with that. But more importantly it helps with next steps. The change is here - now what? Billy's almost poetic writing and very positive attitude makes the hard stuff easier and the next move realistic and possible.
Read this book! Read it all the way through. It offers more than hope, it offers inspiration and simple action. It stimulates an ethical impact!
Although McKibben uses his language skills to try and sway you to his side he has less evidence I feel that he did nothing compared to Alex Epstein's Moral Case of Fossil Fuels. If you want an unbiased, ethical, professional, and scientific look at our "Polluted Earth" take a look at his book. After all Bill said we would all be dead by 2015...