Reviews for Eaarth : Making a Life on a Tough New Planet


Booklist Reviews 2009 December #1
*Starred Review* 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. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2010 January #2
Stark, no-nonsense manifesto about global warming and its unstoppable effects.In accessible prose and a tone of wistfulness about the state of our planet, environmental activist McKibben (Fight Global Warming Now, 2007, etc.) demonstrates how global warming has already occurred and is irreversible. He describes a new "Eaarth," where the cumulative effects of the release of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have already changed the planet. If the average count of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 275 parts per million during the last 10,000 years, it is now already 390 parts per million, well over the 350 parts per million that McKibben says is the tipping point for permanent planetary transformation. The author provides sobering details about the accelerated melting of glaciers, which will eventually lead to a global water shortage as life-sustaining rivers lose their sources of water. He lucidly explains that increasingly erratic weather patterns result from hotter air that holds more water vapor, triggering higher rates of evaporation and desertification in some regions, and torrential downpours and floods in others. The reason that global warming is difficult to undo, writes the author, is because "we don't know how to refreeze the Arctic or regrow a rainforest." He bravely makes the difficult argument that we have already moved to a planet where natural catastrophes will soon be a way of life. At this point, installing wind and solar power as fossil-fuel substitutes is likely to be a futile effort, as the process to change energy sources is exceedingly slow and politically treacherous. Providing inspirational examples from his home state, Vermont, McKibben envisions a future in which humanity transitions from unfettered growth and a dependence on external markets for sustenance and fossil-fuel-driven energy, to smaller, self-contained communities, growing food locally and generating sustainable distributed electricity.An absolute must-read.Agent: Gloria Loomis/Watkins/Loomis Agency Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2010 February #1

"Scale matters," warns environmental author McKibben (The End of Nature) in his latest. He starts by delivering the bad news--the oceans are acidifying, the sea level is rising, and the change in temperature is killing us through flood, drought, famine, storm, and disease. And it's not just the environment that's being destroyed--increased insurance claims and infrastructure damage are contributing to the financial crisis. The solution is a matter of scaling down on everything we've come to recognize as American--big cars, big homes, big business. Eaarth, the modified planet we now live on, has been irreparably changed, and the only way to stop this change is to make carbon-emission reduction a priority above all else. McKibben's words are well researched, forceful, and well timed. VERDICT The news is tough to hear yet essential to know. Fans of Michael Pollan's books will appreciate McKibben's message; fans of our planet will want to heed his words. [April 22, 2010, marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.--Ed.]--Jaime Hammond, Naugatuck Valley Community Coll., Waterbury, CT

[Page 88]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 December #3

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. (Apr.)

[Page 50]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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