I have lost a lot of patience for works that seem to labor under the delusion that we can do the transition to the new low energy lifestyle will have minimal impact upon our first world lives. I understand that the author's are afraid of turning off the people still unconvinced of our ecological/energy predicament, but I have lost my patience for such literature. This is good if you still believe the changes need are better recycling programs and no dramatic sacrifices. Otherwise, not so much.
I had to read this book for an AP class and it is actually very interesting! There are a lot of alarming statistics and ALOT of information.
In this book, Bill McKibben, author of “The End of Nature” and “Deep Economy” and founder of the website 350.org, forcefully describes the planetary emergency we have created. Global warming is no longer a threat; it is a reality. We have fundamentally changed the planet and its climate. We no longer live on our old familiar planet Earth. It is now a new planet he calls Eaarth. The people most affected by these changes are the world’s poorest.
The first part of the book is laden with doom and gloom. McKibben describes all the current, existing symptoms of global warming and climate change. These are not predictions; they are current reality. He then explains how we arrived at this situation and what we have to do to save ourselves before it becomes much worse. Our constant economic growth, based on fossil fuels, created the problem. Climate change and dwindling supplies of those fossil fuels are forcing us to change to a steady-state, non-growth, locally-based economy or to perish. Our consumption of fossil fuels and the resulting emissions of Greenhouse Gases have increased the amount of carbon in our atmosphere from the historic level of about 275 parts per million to over 390 ppm today. Scientists have now determined that 350 ppm is the maximum level that could maintain a stable climate. That stable climate over the last 10,000 years is what allowed human civilization to evolve. The current and coming changes in climate threaten that civilization.
The last chapter presents a little good news. He describes many examples of changes currently being made, mostly at local levels. State and local governments in the US are making efforts to change to a more sustainable society but expanding these changes requires political will at the national level and this has, to date, not been forthcoming, largely because of the power exerted by large corporations who care more about short-term profit than about the continued life of the planet.
The book has a desperate and strident tone not present in “Deep Economy” (the only other McKibben book I have read). But this tone is justified; time is running out and the people who could make the necessary changes are not listening so we have to yell. There is also some humour of the satirical and sarcastic variety in the book.
The book is well-written and well-structured but it is quite a depressing read. Even if things are only half as bad as McKibben claims, we are in for a very rough ride. We have to start making changes immediately. If you already accept these concepts, you should read the book for a deeper understanding of the issues and options. If you are burying your head in the sand and ignoring the talk of climate change and a sustainable economy, you have to read this book to get a reality check and shake yourself awake. In other words, everyone should read this book and start seriously rethinking how we live, both individually and as a society.
Winner in the Green Category - Books for a Better Life: Eaarth by Bill McKibben
This book is excellent when you get past all the dooms day information. It has real solutions to our problems. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the future!
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