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Showing 1-10 of 29 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 54 reviews
on July 23, 2016
Bill lays out in no uncertain terms the choice before us. It's not extinction vs permanence, it's accepting limits vs forever managing the planet's life support systems ourselves. I was clearly born to be an engineer and as a teenager told my mother we would one day control the Earth. It would happen gradually, the way my great grandmother had a pace-maker to assist her ailing heart. We'll do the same to nature, gradually replacing its function with our own design. Think genetic engineering, then in its infancy when he wrote this book, now widely practiced in our food production, despite many objections. Bill's not optimistic about our ability to avoid this fate. Neither am I. But if you agree that it's worth trying, even in the face of failure, to preserve the mystery and power of nature, this book may give you some inspiration to keep trying.
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VINE VOICEon October 21, 2013
Mr. McKibben's book demonstrates clearly how humans have rushed headlong into "improving" our mode of living and created massive injury to our homeplace: Earth. Hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis larger, more numerous and more destructive than we have ever seen before are showing us - if we are not too blind to see - that we are creating crises with ever-increasing speed. Earthquakes in places we have never seen before, huge oil and sludge spills that are killing our wildlife, destroying .our vegetation, making neighborhoods unlivable in the foreseeable future: all are eloquent signals that we have no choice but to change our thinking and our behavior.

This destruction did not begin in our century. It has merely picked up increasingly more speed as we go. Nature has been reliable in spite of our unreliability toward nature. We've never seen a living passenger pigeon, because it was made extinct by hunters more than a hundred years ago. Our salmon, trying to swim upriver to spawn, are running into dams that stop them. Some of us remember DDT. It was banned in this country decades ago, but we are still living with the consequences, with some birds' eggs with such thin shells that they are crushed before they can be hatched. Soon after WWII pregnant women were giving birth to deformed babies. Many of those babies died.

The time has come to recognize our failing condition and change now.

Mr. McKibben has spoken,eloquently .
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on May 4, 2017
Very interesting to read and learn about the beginning of our understanding of climate change. Brings the scientific evidence to the forefront whether one chooses to believe or not. Obviously this was written some 25 years ago or so , so our science today is better informed. Still worth the time to read this to understand what all the controversy is about.
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on July 3, 2013
So, I am finally reading The End of Nature; one of my sisters who doesn't even read that much raved and told me to read it. I remember being so impressed by Bill McKibben when he published it (in the New Yorker I think), as he is the same age as me, and I admired such eloquence, scholarship and great writing from someone in their late twenties. And now, finally reading this book, I am thinking, well, I am even more impressed, because I am so struck by how beautiful the writing is in this book, on nature itself, and on man's view or idea of nature. The ideas of separateness, boundaries, limits, and humility, and that these are good things, run through my mind as I read this book. The problems existing in 1989 from global warming make me think that the book was written only recently. Anyway, I recently read Eaarth, Deep Economy, and Enough (another REAL eye-opener for me), and I surely appreciate this man (and his concern, and care, and action, to get us cracking on this big, big problem).
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on November 28, 2014
Quite a bit "out of date" at this time and a bit depressing though somewhat "optimistic" given present reality as perspective on its original release date. Still, the End of Nature is useful in its comprehensive treatment of the subject and remains what I believe to be an important read.
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on August 27, 2016
Having foresight on a whole list of issues is difficult and the future envisioned in this book is not far off the mark. The question Bill asks is whether the human race is able to be humble and to cut back, keeping the population at a manageable level, and to preserve the sacred and mystique aspects of nature that were envisioned by Thoreau and Muir. Humans have altered the planet past any resemblance that any child or grandchild will understand. It is littered by DDT and other toxic chemicals that speak to the work of men. It is full speed ahead, with a future of augmentation, biotechnology, virtual reality, and other transhumanist artificial heartbeats that are created as tools of men to fix all of the problems that we made for ourselves. And so like Bill, this isn't a world that I wish to be a part of and hopefully, I will be long dead before that happens, although I suspect that won't be the case. So in another hundred years, where great grandchildren stare at a virtual reality cyberspace in a world of terminal sin, where everything you do, say, think, or act is managed, tracked and controlled by mechanical implants where one is always distracted, controlled, and ON, is an escape to the wilderness to heal. Trees will be genetically altered to be straighter, people will have virtual avatar bodies, nano-spores may be in the air, neural implants will be in skulls, and genetic engineering (decided to disregard eugenics with that one) may be the reality. Too bad, that people aren't as addicted to saving the environment like their Internet, gadgets, and other materialistic needs. Something, tells me that no one will be mad at Bill if he is proven right. A landmark book.
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on December 10, 2012
The book is a bit old, and I didn't always agree with all of McKibbin's philosophies; but 90% of the book's contents, I did agree with (can't argue with unmanipulated facts and statistics), as well as with his ideas and suggestions. The book was quite disconcerting, but TRUTH must be faced, ugly or not. I want to look up some of the 'predictions', which by now must be being fulfilled, or disproved, but I haven't the time, and I actually dread the confirmation, too. I am using this book for reference. It is/will be a big, "I told you so," to those who adhere to the old method of "ignore it and maybe it will go away," when presented with mounting evidence of our very serious environmental circumstance. But, that is little comfort to those of us who are the voices "crying in the wilderness,"--figuratively, and in the not-far-enough-future, likely a physical impossibility as our wildernesses are disappear at such an alarming rate.
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VINE VOICEon March 14, 2009
This version is a reprint of McKibben's 1989 book, with a new introduction. The dates are a bit jarring because he regularly refers to "President Bush"- - meaning the first one, though this reprint appeared during the presidency of the second one. Much of the book takes the unseasonably hot, dry year of 1988 as its point of reference, but that reference has not really aged well.

This was one of the first books to warn the general public about climate change. It began as an essay in _The New Yorker_, which McKibben later expanded. Unfortunately, it tends to read this way still, with a lot of filler and repetition instead of a nice tight argument.

McKibben really has three different ideas of the "end of nature," which he doesn't distinguish. The first is the notion that humans have developed the entire world to our use, leaving only scattered "wilderness" areas. Environmentalists fight to save these but they are already so constrained by humans around them that they are no longer really "nature." Second is the notion that human climate change means that temperature, precipitation, and everything else is affected by human activity and is therefore metaphysically not "natural," losing meaning thereby. I'm not convinced that this is how people experience rain. The third "end of nature" is McKibben's prediction that humans will use genetic engineering to try to escape the consequences of destroying the planet, so that we will have genetically-engineered fauna and flora even in whatever wild places remain. This is the genesis of his more recent book, "Enough," which I preferred to this one.

Mixing these three ideas together willy-nilly doesn't really work, and I wish McKibben had seen more clearly that he was talking about several different things. These three ideas also differ in terms of philosophical meaning as well as the political and economic forces pressing us to end nature.

Yet, behind the entire book is the forceful insistence that there are too many humans, using too many resources, unable to slow down even if we wanted to. That is surely right, and this book makes the depressing point well. The twenty years that have passed since the first edition only confirm that McKibben's main theme retains is force.
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on October 17, 2010
Although written in 1989, the information about global climate change is even more relevant today because so many of the predictions have come tragically true, or were underestimations. This book is must reading for anyone who wants to be informed about the impacts of global warming and for any local, regional, or national public office holder or decision maker. There are still solutions but we are now twenty years behind.
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on June 12, 2015
This is a great book. McKibben's approach to the environmental situation that we are currently in and the disaster we are headed towards is definitely on par with Silent Spring, only more approachable. I would definitely recommend this book.
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