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Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet [Kindle Edition]

Bill McKibben
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"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. 




Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, April 2010: 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

From Publishers Weekly

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. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
299 of 318 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earth-shattering, Eaarth creation February 25, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The front cover of Bill McKibbean's "Eaarth" contains a quote by Barbara Kingsolver urging the reader to drop everything and read the book straight through. What Kingsolver doesn't mention is that once you begin reading the book it'll be impossible to stop.

McKibben describes a place so strikingly different from the planet Earth we have always known, that it has to be renamed to "Eaarth." McKibben's writing is easy to read and his ideas are clear, but his thesis is overwhelming to any reader: "The earth that we knew--the only earth that we ever knew--is gone." (pg 25) At times, reading the book is similar to the experience of watching a carwreck - it's heart-wrenching but you can't force yourself to look away.

A lot of readers will probably dismiss Eaarth based on its "environmentalist agenda" - they'll say that McKibben is simply another tree-hugger attempting to instill fear about the world of the future, or to borrow McKiben's explanation as to why we haven't stopped climate change thus far - "the world of our grandchildren." But if this is true, then we definitely need more people like the author of Earth, as it doesn't seem that anyone is listening - currently, "44 percent Americans believe that global warming comes from 'long-term planetary trends' and not the pumps at the Exxon station." (pg 54)

McKibben is probably one of the very few to steer us into the the direction of thinking that we can't restore the old Planet Earth. Thinking that driving hybrid cars and taking shorter showers will restore the ice caps in the Arctic is unrealistic. We need a major overhaul of our infrastructure and our logic to even adapt on this New Earth we created.
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102 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Science fiction" is rapidly becoming true March 24, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What would it be like to live on another planet? Like the proverbial frogs sitting in a pot of water slowly coming to a boil, we'll all eventually find out whether we want to or not.

Bill McKibben maintains that we NOW live on a very different planet, a planet that's rapidly becoming less and less like the one humans have inhabited for many thousands of years. And it's too late to turn our space ship around and go back "home." No, we have to wake up and start learning how to live on the planet as it is--not the one we still would like to imagine that we live on.

The first part of this book is bleak, and it needs to be. Too many of us are in complete denial about the condition of our planet and the mass extinctions now in process. So, who cares about how many species are going extinct? Anyone who understands that no man is an island. And that cold/wet weather we've had in 2010 that proves "there is no such thing as global warming"? That weather will only get more unpredictable and violent as time goes by--and, yes, it's due to global warming.

James Hanson and so many other scientists were right, except for the fact that they underestimated how quickly climate change would occur. It's not a matter of what you believe: Nobody is going to be able to sleep through the earth changes--and isolationism, a cache of arms, and a lot of hateful rhetoric is not going to feed anyone's family or keep them secure.

Skills are the new gold, and we need to return to the days when neighbors helped neighbors. We need to press our technologies into service to help us survive, but we also need to return to a Depression-era sense of frugality and saving for rainy days. There will likely be many more "rainy days" in the future than there were in the past.
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305 of 358 people found the following review helpful
By jd103
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Although I'm in complete agreement with Bill McKibben that we are at the end of our old way of life, and find the future he imagines appealing, I believe that future is a fairy tale and that this book is of little value.

The first half of the book amounts to this percent, that fraction, some year, some place, another measurement of volume, height, area, money, population. Meant to incite to action, I found it tedious but then, I've never been interested in this kind of homocentric environmentalism. The self-centered world view it demonstrates is the exact cause of the problems it worries about. What interested me in this part of the book were the brief mentions of ecological changes occurring---trees dying because of insects surviving warmer winters, mosquitoes spreading dengue fever farther and more rapidly, etc.

McKibben's analysis of the Carter--Reagan election and its effects is good but although he writes of Reagan's optimism as being the problem, he commits the same error in this book. He writes off those predicting collapse, not because he thinks collapse is impossible (in fact he provides several reasons that it's likely), but because he sees them as being unwilling to accept other possibilities. To me, the problem is just the opposite---folks like McKibben aren't willing to face the facts.

He prefers to imagine that we will voluntarily choose to make a gradual change to a different way of life. Not to say that some of us aren't already living a very different way of life or that the examples he gives aren't admirable, but to imagine that U.S. society as a whole is going to turn smoothly and peacefully away from consumerism and economic growth and urban life is simply ludicrous.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars good
I bought it for my English class this semester. It's interesting. Not bad at all for college english class study
Published 15 days ago by jb
5.0 out of 5 stars A sobering, but good book.
Wouldn't read this on a rainy day, or if I'm feeling down.

Some parts are kind of disheartening; McKibben is brutally honest about what to expect in a changed world.
Published 19 days ago by Ibuycrappystuff
2.0 out of 5 stars This book is incredibly boring. It is very disorganized
This book is incredibly boring. It is very disorganized. I have fallen asleep twice already and that's a first.
The author repeats the same thing throughout the entire book.
Published 1 month ago by Sylvia Plaza
4.0 out of 5 stars Global warming is real and its effects are happening NOW
Eaarth is at once hopeful and devastating. Bill McKibben doesn't pull any punches about the effects of global warming on our planet. Read more
Published 3 months ago by A. Porterfield-Brock
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ !
This book should be read by every concerned citizen. The writing is great, the story is gripping, the future is described and measures should be taken to abate the potential... Read more
Published 4 months ago by David C. Stone
5.0 out of 5 stars Stark reality of what we are doing to the atmosphere
Bill's writing is always very readable, but the stark reality of what we are polluting the atmosphere with and the effects on climate disruption made me have to stop and put the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by S. Wilts
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrifying reality
McKibben is truly brilliant, and he brilliantly communicates our terrifying reality. Every other struggle that humanity has ever faced, every civilization that has risen and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars We gotta wake up folks!
Excellent eye opening book. And an easy and well documented read. Ought to be required reading in every high school and college science class.
Published 5 months ago by Cameron Mosher
5.0 out of 5 stars Be ready..
I got this book after Mary Piper referenced it in her book "The Green Boat". It was very hard to read. It's one of those books that you have to read in small intervals. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Robb
5.0 out of 5 stars A harsh reality
The planet we currently live on has changed, its gone. McKibben suggests a new planet, called Eaarth, is where we now live as a result of climate change. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Andy Diepstra
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More About the Author

Bill McKibben is the author of The End of Nature, Deep Economy, and numerous other books. He is the founder of the environmental organizations Step It Up and 350.org, and was among the first to warn of the dangers of global warming. He is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College and lives in Vermont with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern, and their daughter.


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