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Now or Never: Why We Must Act Now to End Climate Change and Create a Sustainable Future Hardcover – September 29, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0802118981 ISBN-10: 0802118984

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802118984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802118981
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #989,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Flannery (The Weather Makers) makes a valuable contribution to global warming literature with this slim and eloquent brief that challenges readers to dispense with the dangerous notion that the earth was made for us—a convenient extrapolation of social Darwinism that the author argues is used to justify reckless treatment of the environment and smacks of embarrassing impracticality and myopia. He states that humans were made to shepherd the Earth through environmental crises and contribute to the efficiency of its massive metabolism; humans are the brains of this complex system and must make bold choices to either save the corpus totum or destroy it. A re-evaluation of human purpose on Earth is required, Flannery maintains, with a true understanding of sustainability removed from trendy green marketing connotations. Flannery's compelling arguments and accessible language will move the passive bystander, persuade the skeptic and rouse the activist. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Shocking . . . [Flannery] writes for a general audience with passion and clarity." -- Jim Hansen

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Cohen on November 16, 2009
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.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mark J. Bohrer on October 16, 2009
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sherry Prokopuk on November 14, 2010
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.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Pletko on January 13, 2010
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 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.
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