Saturday, May 22, 2010

Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

Written by: Bill McKibben

First line: Imagine we live on a planet. Not our cozy, taken-for-granted earth, but a planet, a real one, with melting poles and dying forests and a heaving, corrosive sea, raked by winds, strafed by storms, scorched by heat. An inhospitable place.

Why you should read this book: Global warming, the author's data shows, is not a possible threat for our grandchildren, but a reality that has already begun transforming our lovely blue planet into a hot, dangerous, alien world. Climate change has been set into motion, and all calculations show that we have already surpassed the maximum level of atmospheric carbon dioxide (that would be 350 parts per million) necessary to keep thing comfy and verdant. After presenting pages and pages of chilling and disturbing evidence that we've screwed nature and she's going to screw us right back, McKibben describes what we need to do to survive on this new planet: cutting energy usage, investing in renewable, sustainable energy resources, and pulling back from unchecked and dangerous growth and globalization to create vibrant, functional, and self-reliant communities based agriculture, energy, and human networks (don't worry; we get to keep the Internet).

Why you shouldn't read this book: Possibly the most depressing work I have ever read; if you're enamored of your denial and think that oil and fossil fuels are the future, taking this book seriously could come as a real boot to the head.

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