Books: Non-Fiction

Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment

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 that 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 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. [Publisher’s description.]

ISBN: 9780312541194 | Published by St. Martin’s Griffin.

Reviews

“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

“What I have to say about this book is very simple: Read it, please. Straight through to the end. Whatever else you were planning to do next, nothing could be more important.” —Barbara Kingsolver, author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

“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, 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.”—Tim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers and The Eternal Frontier

“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 Paradise Built in Hell and Hope in the Dark