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on August 17, 2009
An exceptionally well-written book (I read it in two days) by the co-author of the landmark work, Our Stolen Future. Diane Dumanoski says clearly what so many climate activists refuse to acknowledge: we can't go on living so far beyond the means of our planetary life support systems, and we can't substitute our way out of this mess. We have to rethink everything.

To support her case she cites the scientific literature extensively, in a way that's understandable for the layperson, and puts it in a historical and cultural context that cuts through our current political confusion and psycho-social barriers to change.

I've read many books on the realities of the climate emergency, and Dumanoski's is at the top of the list.
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on August 14, 2009
In a sobering but realistic profile of the humanity's increasing negative impact on global planetary systems, Dumanoski's new book makes a cogent and eloquent argument that "the radical experiment of our modern industrial civilization is now disrupting our planet's very metabolism." Climate is changing faster than original scientific models predicted, and in unexpected ways with dangerous feedback loops. We our poisoning our environment with toxins that impact our own reproductive systems. We are causing irreversible change to soils and water and land that are impacting our ability to grow our food. Given the increasingly short window for action, politicians and the media have done little to heed the warnings and avert crisis. Humanity's future, Dumanoski argues, will depend on our ability to return to systems based on flexibility, diversity, redundancy, and community and away from current trends that rely on technological fixes, unsustainable economic models of growth, and excessive globalization. This is a work of broad scope and depth, weaving together humanity's history, science, and culture and ending with a search for honest hope for humanity's future on a volatile Earth of our own making.
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on October 3, 2009
Dianne Dumanoski, in her book, "The End of the Long Summer: Why We Must Remake Our Civilization to Survive on a Volatile Earth," writes with great breadth and depth about what she calls the planetary era. Since the beginning of this era, in the middle of the twentieth century, it has become clear that man-made global climate change -- and she doesn't waste time trying to convince the deniers -- is part of a deeper problem, the impact of human civilization on a whole set of planetary systems (species diversity; species abundance; nitrogen, phosphorous and sulfur cycles; fresh water systems, etc).

She cites the appearance of the Antarctic ozone hole as the beginning of this planetary era, and explains how that event might easily have been much more disastrous:

<Excerpt>:

"The human enterprise survived this first encounter with planetary systems thanks only to dumb luck, argues Paul Crutzen, who shared the Nobel chemistry prize with Rowland and Molina in 1995 for his pioneering work showing that nitrogen oxides from fertilizers and supersonic aircraft could damage the ozone layer. Had the problematic refrigerants been engineered not with chlorine but with bromine, a similar chemical and possible alternative, the world would have faced catastrophic destruction of ozone everywhere in all seasons and significant harm to land-based forms of life. In his 1995 Nobel acceptance speech, Crutzen explained that, atom for atom, bromine is one hundred times more destructive to ozone because it does not require unusual conditions for its activation. The rapid ozone destruction caused by CFCs over Antarctica, by contrast, depends on heterogeneous chemical reactions on the solid or supercooled liquid particles found in rare polar stratospheric clouds, such as those found over the South Pole in the total darkness of winter. "I can only conclude that mankind has been extremely lucky," Crutzen concluded. "It was a close call."

<End of Excerpt>

Dumanoski's "Long Summer" is a work full of big ideas, and I must admit to a guilty pleasure: an infatuation with big ideas, no matter how (as in this case) dire.

In the end she achieves a tough hope, a hope earned through the difficult process of facing frightening truths, and seeing beyond them to some possible viable human futures.
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on July 24, 2009
Fabulous book...tells a compelling, clear, and convincing story on how we must approach the huge threat that climate change poses, and what position this particular time in history occupies in the largest scheme of things. Worthy of an award! Couldn't put it down.
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on November 21, 2011
Summer is a time when living is easy, the harvest is in, the blossoms have borne their fruit and it's easy to dry your washing. As the title of this book suggests, the easy times are coming to a close.
There are only 12 other reviews at the time I write this book review (22 NOV 2011) and it's well worth your while to have a bit of a read of them and get an idea of what the book is about.
Diane finds strong appeal in James Lovelock's concept of Gaia and Gaia itself is big in concept. Diane's big idea is that humanity has survived by having produced a multicultural global environment and that with the triumph of the West humanity has turned itself into a monoculture. The dangers of this are that whereas in the past as one culture failed a new frontier was created for an alternative culture, we now find ourselves essentially in a monoclonal human culture with no real alternatives should things go wrong. Her idea is that we need to change this monoculture into a form that is softer on the planet. Whereas it took 10,000 years for humanity to reach a population of 1 billion, we are now in the situation where every 13 years we are adding 1 billion people to the Petrie dish Earth. And just as bacteria in the Petrie dish will grow until they reach the limits of their nutrient and then poison themselves in their own excretia, we also, on Petrie dish planet Earth are at the edge of the plastic dish with nowhere else to go.
It is true that Western civilisation has dominated the planet. However, the circumstances of the various humans within that cultural structure are markedly different. In order to change Western culture to a softer model that earth can cope with, would mean that we have to overcome many differences of the humans currently alive. Differences such as gender, race, religion, creed, political disposition, economic potential, communication networking, power, emotional disposition, geographic situation, climatic environment and many more indicate that whilst Western civilisation has dominated the planet, the humans that exist within that framework are quite different in many dimensions. Global Humanity as a body, is broken and being broken, unable to cohesively and meaningfully decide on a different cultural form for all, for the future. I'm sure many reading this article (that is, if many people do read it) would not like to upturn their lives and go and live in a mud hut with no electricity and hence no Amazon.com. And here in lies one of the major problems; the various humans with their own vested interests are unlikely to change their mode of behaviour in order to save the planet. Diane's idea gives some reason for optimism in that a united humanity will be able to change its way of life in order to foster successive generations. For the reasons stated above I'm not that optimistic and I believe as we move into the not so distant future humanity will create a situation of crisis and deal with that situation in a reactionary crisis mode.
Just as we cannot will the extension of the summers that we so much enjoy in each year that passes, so I believe we won't be able to will the extension of the summer of our culture for that much longer and Autumn (fall) will shortly be upon us and as the seasons pass so winter will also arrive...... bleak and cold.
This book is really well written and I became thoroughly engrossed whilst reading it and advised some of my mates to read it too. However, the ideas for the solutions in this book are not necessarily practical. 10 out of 10 for the research and the thinking, but just as we see in the European debt crisis (as at Nov 2011) and the protracted ineffectiveness of political and economic units in order to be able to deal with this merely financial problem, I believe we will see the same ineffectiveness from the human perspective for planet Earth.
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on December 1, 2009
Dianne Dumanoski has written a book that truly deserves awards and high acclaim. The End of the Long Summer gives a clear, concise overview on approaching the climate change issue. She makes swift work of making connections between history, science, economics and culture of humanity to support her case: humans cannot survive by living in unsustainable manners and outside the planetary life support system. The crisis is now an almost certain inevitability. However, Dumanoski points out ways to address the issue by the powerful systems of flexibility, diversity, redundancy, and community. She gives hope through the realization of multiple frightening truths. Dumonaoski's work is a wonderfully compelling yet sobering book.
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on May 9, 2010
I loved another reviewer's comment about his "infatuation with big ideas". Indeed, on careful reading, the ideas in 'Long Summer' are bigger than most of us are able, at first, to contend with. In the next to last chapter Dumanoski says, at one point, "There is no hope for accommodation on the current path". Think of it! That one sentence sums up her well-argued case and presents all of us with a very big idea. After reading (and rereading) the book, I am convinced that her statement is cold, hard fact - not conjecture!

At first, I thought that this is just one more book about peak oil and global warming. Not so! The title, The End of the Long Summer, does not prepare the reader for such an in-depth and very readable treatment of the dilemma that is surely facing humankind. Given a choice between despair and false hope, this book pushes me in the direction of despair; but only because the bulk of humanity seems not yet ready, or willing, to consider Dumanoski's 'big idea'.

Urge your most thoughtful friends to read this book. They'll be grateful to you.
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on September 1, 2015
Current empirical data from multiple relevant disciplines is skillfully interwoven to weave a fascinating, but sobering story of our near term planetary future. Global warming is a cumbersome subject with important retrospectives from numerous collapsed civilizations, current snapshots of depleting resources, accumulating toxins, savaged habitats, burgeoning populations, emerging ecological ramifications of global trade pacts, the widespread environmental effects of poverty for 2.5 billion people, and the dominating and often irrational consequences of highly concentrated wealth. This tome can be taken as a somber apocalyptic warning, or as a comprehensive alert for thinking citizens. Effective dialogue can occur only between enlightened stakeholders, who are patient and persistent. This is a wonderful primer for those who desire a long and sustainable future for our fragile planet.
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on August 10, 2012
This book looks beyond the science of climate change. It tackles the various economic, social and human issues our civilization will face now and in coming years due to climate change. The author displays great insight into the difficulties we will likely encounter. It will be the 'end of our long summer' the civilization that has taken 10,000 years to build could begin to unravel due to global warming. An insightful book that deals with our very uncertain future with much sensitivity.
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on September 14, 2009
THE END OF THE LONG SUMMER: WHY WE MUST REMAKE OUR CIVILIZATION TO SURVIVE ON A VOLATILE EARTH offers a passionate, powerful argument that the current state of the planet is past the tipping point. It tells our focus should be on how to avoid the worst - and how to handle environmental change that is now inevitable. History, science and culture blend in a powerful survey essential for any library with books on environmental change and human survival.
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