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The End of Nature Paperback – June 13, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


"Whatever we once thought Nature was--wildness, God, a simple place free from human thumbprints, or an intricate machinery sustaining life on Earth--we have now given it a kick that will change it forever. Humanity has stepped across a threshold. In his free-ranging and provocative book, Bill McKibben explores the philosophies and technologies that have brought us here, and he shows how final a crossing we have made." --James Gleick, author of Chaos

From the Publisher

More than simply a handbook for survival or a doomsday catalog of scientific prediction, The End Of Nature is a groundbreaking plea for radical and life-renewing change. The author argues that for the world to survive, we must make a fundamental philosophical shift in the way we relate to nature. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (June 13, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812976088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812976083
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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, 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on February 28, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone familiar with the author's other books on man and his fateful connection to the natural environment owe it to themselves to read this seminal offering first published over a decade ago when the phenomenon of global warming was a hotly argued and angrily debated issue. The publication of this new 10th anniversary edition arrives in a world in which most of the author's frightful prognostications regarding the negative consequences of the hotly-debated "Greenhouse Effect" issue of a decade ago have been proven to be accurate and true. If anything, McKibben's warnings were, in retrospect, conservative. For example, five of the ten warmest years on record have been in the last decade. Thus, "The End Of Nature " must be regarded as an intriguing book that comprehensively covers a critically important phenomenon; the massive intrusion of man, technology, and civilization into the natural order of the world's ecosystems to the point that we have ripped them asunder. While the Bushes and Gores fiddle away in their Washington offices, the forces of man are still engaged in such a maddening and suicidal plundering of the world's biological treasure house.
The author's basic thesis, now well validated by over a decade of dramatically documented data regarding the globe's climate changes, is that though our massive intrusion into the delicate balance of gases, fluids, and temperature gradients so important in determining the world's weather patterns, we have altered and fragmented the earth's natural balance in an order of magnitude so large and so overwhelming that it has now permanently negated nature's capacity to operate autonomously, independently, and naturally.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Warning. If you truly believe that ignorance is bliss, stop now and do not buy this book. If however, you care at all about the planet, and/or you care for your children and the world they will inherit, you must read this book. This is the most frightening and depressing book I have ever read and in some ways I wish I had never read it. I spent the week after reading it in a deep funk and the camping trip I took the next weekend was tainted by the my new awareness of the wilderness that we have as a civilization already destroyed. The cause of enviromentalism has never seemed so desperate and hopeless to me, but now that McKibben has opened my eyes to the steep slope towards oblivion that we are on , it seems criminal not to try to stop our fall, at least for my childrens sakes. This book should be required reading for all candidates for public office and high school graduation. In the decade since its publication much of the environmental degradation predicted has already occured, some like the melting of the Antartic ice sheet and accelerating destruction of the ozone layer at the fastest predicted rate. I would be very interested to read an update detailing exactly how far this has deteriorated in the last decade. Something must be done! But what? We are living blissfully in ignorance while the very oceans, the atmosphere that protects us and the earth that sustains us are being destroyed at a rate that probably even with total cooperative world effort and prioritization, we could not stop.We're talking about mere decades here! But in the present political and social climate in the U.S.,can anyone imagine our environment becoming the national priority? So, I'm left with, What can I do.Read more ›
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By David G. Albrecht on May 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
If I could recommend only one book to family, friends and neighbors about the gathering environmental darkness, this would without question be it. The End of Nature, now about ten years old, was generally dismissed by the intelligensia, (notably Christopher Lasch of Harper's), who described it as a "tear-stained" work of "rural piety", not incidentally missing the point entirely. This is not a garden-variety work of environmental apocalypticism, though McKibben does allow that the odds in favor of just such an ecological and social collapse are pretty good. The "successful" alternative future he describes is equally, if not more horrible.
If, by dint of technology and sheer ingenuity, we manage to avoid the consequences of the ongoing overshoot, what then? Imagine, if you can, a world in which we, our pets (and pests) and a carefully selected handful of bioengineered plants and animals live on, and in which almost everything else dies. Without wilderness, without even a semblance of connection to our origins, we probably could continue some form of human civilization. The question, however, is why, as individuals, we would want to.
The groundwork for this sort of dessicated world is already well-laid, given our very American demands for paved roads and air conditioning everywhere we go, along with our ceaseless demands for more stuff - and make that bigger and cheaper, too. McKibben does harbor some optimism that we can choose to take a more difficult path. I only wish I could share that optimism. Read and remember this important book!
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