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5.0 out of 5 stars Earth-shattering, Eaarth creation, February 25, 2010
This review is from: Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet (Hardcover)
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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. It's no longer enough to admit that global warming is real and to want to adjust a few things in our daily lives - we must realize that our daily lives are gone in the way we've known them.

The author's suggestions of how to adapt to living on this new and changed Earth are hopeful and rely on getting rid of industries, on going back to a more simplistic lifestyle of individual farming, moving the entire infrastructure closer to home, and observing as much conservation as possible.

"Eaarth" is a book that should serve as a wake up call, but not in the same way that Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" (book and/or movie) did. By being more Earth-shattering (pun intended), McKibben's book is also more realistic and contains more statistics and McKibben quotes more articles to back up his thesis. However, the book's revolutionary words might also be alienating and can be viewed as a source of despair. In his introduction, McKibben cautions us against this being the case by saying that "[m]aturity is not the opposite of hope; it's what makes hope possible." (pg xiv)

It is this reviewer's sincere hope that McKibben's book is taken seriously and interpreted as a call to action rather than as a description of challenging events that can no longer be stopped or altered.
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Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 23, 2010 2:05:51 PM PDT
Prokopton says:
Good review. Follow this up with Richard Heinberg, Sharon Astyk, John Michael Greer, and Rob Hopkins.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 23, 2010 4:19:09 PM PDT
AIROLF says:
Thank you. I will check out the authors you've suggested.

Posted on Aug 27, 2010 12:56:25 PM PDT
GentleReader says:
Get rid of industries? Sounds simple. What will we do for the rest of the day? Tend the farm, I guess.
Only an overeducated former New Yorker writer who has seen the world ten times over (by plane) could conceive of a happy Eaarth where the rest of us give up our hopes and dreams to adopt a life of toil and drudgery, but with the Internet to remind us of what people like McKibben once enjoyed. Sadly, his predictions of environmental collapse may well come to pass, but his solutions are laughable. Humans adapt when forced to by physical (it's too hot or too cold to grow this or that) or economic (it's too expensive) necessity.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2010 5:20:01 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 15, 2010 5:27:02 AM PDT
heysuze says:
To Gentle Reader:
Actually it has been well documented by science that there are several kinds of humans:

1. Those who see well down the road and proactively adapt ahead of the change

2. Those who understand only when the change arrives and adapt as others are adapting.

3. Those who refuse to see at all and get dragged into adaption behind the change by the sheer force of survival

4. Those who refuse to adapt and do not survive.

Who each of us will be in relation to this coming change is freely our choice and up to each of us. That you think you can answer for all humans may be more your own ego or your own fear talking but your take on humans isn't supported by science and, with all due respects, the day for dumbdowned oversimplification came and went.

PS to AIROLF: I enjoyed your book review. Thank you. It not only helped solidify my decision to read the book, which was already likely, but created an effort to read it sooner by looking more forward to reading it.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 16, 2010 1:55:43 PM PDT
M. K. Foley says:
Industry just may collapse without us making a conscious decision to scale back. We may be forced to have that garden if we want fresh vegetables. To those of us who do believe the global environment is changing due to our behavior, it's also apparent in many ways we have passed the point of no return. So what do we do next?? Adapt of course, and go back to doing a lot of things using renewal energy, mainly that old fashioned 100% renewable power source, human physical labor. And hope to God, as a species, we can survive our own foolishness.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 16, 2010 4:18:34 PM PDT
AIROLF says:
Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed my review! I looked forward to reading the book too and was very surprising how good the book was upon reading it.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 4, 2011 9:41:41 AM PST
RA Meeks says:
"Iceberg? What iceberg?" :::peering into fog:::

Well posted, heysuze.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 4, 2011 2:02:48 PM PST
heysuze says:
lol thanks, RA Meeks.

As an epilogue to you and Airolf: Since then I have read the book Eaarth and found it as nourishing to my radically changed and changing viewpoint/lifestyle as I had the equally as fascinating Black Swan (has nothing to do with that movie).

Both authors helped me to finally pull out of conventional markets completely and reinvent how and with who I am investing. If it doesn't have sustainability leading its development, I am simply no longer in it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2011 1:11:55 PM PDT
Absolutely, this overeducated NYCer has decided HE KNOWS BEST for the rest of us and decries our "affluence"-only a NYCer who's lived in a affluent bubble his entire life(the ivory tower in Middlebury is no different) could manage this kind of ego. Growth is about trying to provide as many people with work as possible to prevent political instability. What idiots like McKibben advocate who have potentially horrendous consequences for our families etc. He complains about centralization- well what about the economic decrees he issues from his one mind. A famous economist once said that you need a multitude of minds to run an economy- our growth based economy has history to it as well. To make drastic changes like McKibben suggest would be similar to Mao tampering with China's agriculture- would you cheer this author when you children are starving from famine created by his untested economic ideas.
Which is what they are ,simply ideas,in no way should these be put into practice.McKibben conveniently leaves out the fact the USA feeds huge populations with it's agriculture-if we localize we will starve AND severely other countries depending on us.
But that is the reason why McKibben has been left in the dusts of environmentalism- he is unable to get his head around the globalized world.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2011 1:16:00 PM PDT
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