A Books for a Better Life Award Finalist
Twenty years ago, with The End of Nature, Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about global warming. Those warnings went mostly unheeded; now, he insists, we need to acknowledge that we've waited too long, and that massive change is not only unavoidable but already under way. Our old familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding, and burning in ways no human has ever seen. We've created, in very short order, a new planet, still recognizable but fundamentally different. We may as well call it Eaarth.
That new planet is filled with new binds and traps. A changing world costs large sums to defend—think of the money that went to repair New Orleans, or the trillions of dollars it will take to transform our energy systems. But the endless economic growth that could underwrite such largesse depends on the stable planet we've managed to damage and degrade. We can't rely on old habits any longer.
Our hope depends, McKibben argues, on scaling back—on building the kind of societies and economies that can hunker down, concentrate on essentials, and create the type of community (in the neighborhood, but also on the Internet) that will allow us to weather trouble on an unprecedented scale. Change—fundamental change—is our best hope on a planet suddenly and violently out of balance.
"The issues Bill McKibben addresses in Eaarth are, I believe, the most significant we face as a species, and the stakes could not possibly be any higher . . . This is the perfect book to serve as the capstone of my course. I cannot think of a more important work to focus young minds on what I believe are unquestionably the most important issues facing our planet."—Allen J. Share, Ph.D., Distinguished Teaching Professor of Humanities, University of Louisville
"Eaarth is the name McKibben has decided to assign both to his new book and to the planet formerly known as Earth. His point is a fresh one that brings the reader uncomfortably close to climate change . . . Unlike many writers on environmental cataclysm, McKibben is actually a writer, and a very good one at that. He is smart enough to know that the reader needs a dark chuckle of a bone thrown at him now and then to keep plowing through the bad news."—Paul Greenberg, The New York Times Book Review
"Bill McKibben may be the world's best green journalist . . . What really sets Eaarth apart from other green books is McKibben's prescription for survival. This won't be just a matter of replacing a few lightbulbs; McKibben is calling for a more local existence lived ‘lightly, carefully, gently.' It's a future unimaginable to most of us—but it may be the only way to survive."—Time
"Superbly written . . . McKibben is at his best when offering an elegant tour of what is already going wrong and likely to get even worse. . . . Eaarth is a manifesto for radical measures."—The National Interest
"A valuable slice of acid-tongued reality."—San Francisco Chronicle
"This book must be read and his message must be understood clearly in Congress and in the streets. Indeed, throughout the world."—The Capitol Times (Madison, Wis.)
"Sounds a clarion at a time when the findings of climate scientists have been all but drowned out by skeptics and right-wing bombast. McKibben, however, does not doubt that facts will trump ideology. . . . McKibben is an eloquent advocate."—The Oregonian (Portland)
"With clarity, eloquence, deep knowledge, and even deeper compassion for both planet and people, Bill McKibben guides us to the brink of a new, uncharted era. This monumental book, probably his greatest, may restore your faith in the future, with us in it."—Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us
"The terrifying premise with which this book begins is that we have, as in the old science fiction films and tales of half a century ago, landed on a harsh and unpredictable planet, all six billion of us. Climate change is already here, but Bill McKibben doesn't stop with the bad news. He tours the best responses that are also already here, and these visions of a practical scientific solution are also sketches of a better, richer, more democratic civil society and everyday life. Eaarth is an astonishingly important book that will knock you down and pick you up."—Rebecca Solnit, author of A Paradise Built in Hell and Hope in the Dark
"Bill McKibben foresaw 'the end of nature' very early on, and in this new book he blazes a path to help preserve nature's greatest treasures."—James E. Hansen, Director of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
"Bill McKibben is the most effective environmental activist of our age. Anyone interested in making a difference to our world can learn from him."—Time Flannery, author of The Weather Makers and The Eternal Frontier
"For 20 years McKibben has been writing with clarity and zeal about global warming, initially in the hope of staving it off and now in an effort to lessen its dire impact. With climate change under way, we now live on a far less hospitable planet than the one on which our civilizations coalesced for 10,000 years amidst resplendent biological diversity. McKibben postulates that because today's planet is so much hotter, stormier, and more chaotic with droughts, vanishing ice, dying forests, encroaching deserts, acid oceans, increased wildfires, and diminishing food crops, it merits a new name: 'Eaarth.' Although his meticulous chronicling of the current "cascading effects" of climate change is truly alarming, it isn't utterly devastating. That's because McKibben, reasonable and compassionate, reports with equal thoroughness on the innovations of proactive individuals and groups and explicates the benefits of ending our dependence on fossil fuels, industrial agriculture, and the unbalanced, unjust global economy. What distinguishes McKibben as an environmental writer beyond his literary finesse and firm grasp of the complexities of science and society is his generous pragmatism, informed vision of small-scale solutions to our food and energy needs, and belief that Eaarth will remain a nurturing planet if we face facts, jettison destructive habits, and pursue new ways of living with creativity and conscience."—Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)
"The world as we know it has ended forever: that's the melancholy message of this nonetheless cautiously optimistic assessment of the planet's future by McKibben, whose The End of Nature first warned of global warming's inevitable impact 20 years ago. Twelve books later, the committed environmentalist concedes that the earth has lost the climatic stability that marked all of human civilization. His litany of damage done by a carbon-fueled world economy is by now familiar: in some places rainfall is dramatically heavier, while Australia and the American Southwest face a permanent drought; polar ice is vanishing, glaciers everywhere are melting, typhoons and hurricanes are fiercer, and the oceans are more acidic; food yields are dropping as temperatures rise and mosquitoes in expanding tropical zones are delivering deadly disease to millions. McKibben's prescription for coping on our new earth is to adopt maintenance as our mantra, to think locally not globally, and to learn to live lightly, carefully, gracefully—a glass-half-full attitude that might strike some as Pollyannaish or merely insufficient. But for others McKibben's refusal to abandon hope may restore faith in the future."—Publishers Weekly
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Eaarth by Bill McKibben--Audiobook Excerpt
Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Bill McKibben's book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. Twenty years ago, with The End of Nature, Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about global warming. Those warnings went mostly unheeded; now, he insists, we need to acknowledge that we've waited too long, and that massive change to our environment is not only unavoidable but already under way. Our old familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding, and burning in ways thatShare This