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Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  2,291 ratings  ·  401 reviews
"Read it, please. Straight through to the end. Whatever else you were planning to do next, nothing could be more important." —Barbara Kingsolver

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 ma
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Hardcover, 253 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Times Books
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Eaarth by Bill McKibbenSix Degrees by Mark LynasThe Moon in the Nautilus Shell by Daniel BotkinOverheated by Andrew T.  GuzmanPlan B 4.0 by Lester Russell Brown
Best non fiction books on climate change.
1st out of 20 books — 14 voters
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth PfefferThe Drowned World by J.G. BallardThe Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci LloydThe Sheep Look Up by John BrunnerEmpty by Suzanne Weyn
Climate dystopias
14th out of 31 books — 21 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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K.D. Absolutely
I cannot remember exactly when I heard about global warming for the first time. I’m sure it was not in school since I was already a college graduate at that time. I was not a voracious reader then and all I was dreaming about was how to land a good job and convince my father to let me get married as I could already support my own family.

That was approximately in the mid-eighties. Few years after the AIDS spread around the world. It was also the time when my handsome brother was egging us, his 3
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Bakari
I’ve read in the past one or two of Bill McKibben’s articles in maybe Mother Jones, but this is the first of his books I’ve read. I think it’s also the first book I‘ve read about environmental issues. Eaarth is indeed a great introduction about what we have done to the planet, particularly here in U.S. If we listen to loud mouths like Sarah “drill baby drill” Palin, Glenn Beck, and other non-scientific minded and intellectually deprived individuals, we’re not going to understand the full scope w ...more
Reid
I read "The End of Nature" for a college class 14 years ago, so it's a little fuzzy in my mind. From what I remember, it was pretty unsettling. It introduced me to a new way of thinking about the natural world, to the concept that humans have, indeed, touched or altered every square inch of the planet's surface.

Eaarth, rather than being merely unsettling, is straight-up frightening. The compelling premise is that we have pumped too much carbon into the atmosphere at this point to halt climate ch
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Keith Akers
Bill McKibben really gets it. He gets so much of it, that part of me just wants to pass over the parts that he doesn't get. But he seems to consistently come up short on details, just as he did with "Deep Economy," which also had so much right but bungled the ending; so this is a well-written, important, but flawed book.

The really important thing, and what McKibben gets right, is that the basic problem that we have is with economic growth. Dealing with climate change, not to mention peak oil, so
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Chuck
Last week the Senate showed its lack of backbone by refusing to take up climate legislation. The proposed bill was extremely modest, but it apparently involved too much political risk for Democrats facing re-election, and of course the Party of No held to its predictable position. One does have to wonder why it's so easy for our "leaders" to turn their backs on finding ways to mitigate a likely global catastrophe. I think the answer is that, although there are a few visible signs of a coming cli ...more
C.J. Shane
About midway through reading this book, I had this weird feeling that I was reading a science fiction/ horror book. It reminded me of post-apocalyptic fiction in which an old text from right before the apocalypse is found and read by those living in the future. In the old text, the author is discussing a monster looming on the horizon which is pretty much completely ignored by everyone until the monster is upon them. That pretty much sums up what's happening to our planet now and only a few of u ...more
Zoe Aleshire
Well, I had some problems with McKibben (if you're curious, find the history of the ecofeminist movement, a response in part to the DeepEcology movement he spearheaded in the late eighties/nineties) and I feel like maybe, yes, this book has responded to these issues. He spends half the book convincing the reader that this earth we have grown used to living on and with is a thing of the past (hence the title). This new eaarth is more hostile in many ways, irreversibly different... but maybe not w ...more
Corrina
Even though Bill is one of the first authors on climate change, I had never heard of him until Long Distance - his book about endurance and skiing and losing his father. I loved that book, and when Bill came to Colorado to promote Eaarth, I decided to go. I was only finished with part I of the book when I saw him, and I liked the way he avoided relying on data that came out of discredited climate models and institutes. His book is based on observable phenomena that have HAPPENED - disappearing g ...more
Andrea
I hated this book. Scary shit is going down on this planet that we call Earth (which Bill McKibben insists is a new planet- eaarth - so altered is she). That is Bills's purpose, I think. To scare the crap out of you so that you start DOING something - not to save her since she's already gone, but to learn how to salvage what we do have. Much like the chronic smoker trying to save their dying, cancer-ridden body.
Being scared is not an effective emotion for me and much of what this book did was p
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Amy
It was tough to rate this as two stars. I have deep admiration and respect for Bill McKibben's environmental work. I also appreciate that this book says point-blank what I think a lot of environmentalists are afraid to say: that we have passed the tipping point, widespread damage is inevitable, and now we should focus on controlling the damage.

However, McKibben then falls into the trap that I've seen spread across the environmental movement since An Inconvenient Truth. I've often wondered if to
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Dan
Oct 28, 2011 Dan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
this is depressing stuff, people.

especially the first (and most convincing) chapter, in which mckibben adds an extra "A" to the planet we inhabit. "eaarth" is not the world we've been trying to pin solar panels to for the well-being of our "grandchildren" since the 70's; it's the planet that's already begun changing irrevocably for the worse. in the first portion of eaarth, mckibben calls for a transformation in our approach to environmental action in the wake of the dire circumstances of the 21
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Bradley Jarvis
The first part of this book will scare the daylights out of anyone who isn't blinded by oil company hype or willful ignorance. It even scared me, and I already had some pretty dark ideas about the future. Global warming is here, it's irreversible, and it's going to get a lot worse very quickly. Deniers like to point out that science isn't always right, and in this case they're correct; the scale and progression of the changes we have made to our planet have been seriously UNDERESTIMATED.

The seco
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AJ
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through Library Thing's Early Reviewer giveaway program.
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The first time I read a book whose thesis was small scale, local systems as a method to move away from our problems of mindless globalization, unending growth, and hurtful economies was a few years ago in Mindful Economics. Bill McKibben offers a similar solution to climate change. Getting to know our neighbors, having local farms and tight knit communities is one way to forestall the endle
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Bob Redmond
Here's a book to keep you up at night; it did me. Yes, for much of it McKibben explains what he means by "Eaarth:" we have used up the old one, good old "Earth." We killed it. The author of the first general book on global warming (1989's THE END OF NATURE), McKibben pretty much knows what he's talking about.

Ecological disasters are happening with more and more frequency. They are not random events happening more often, either; they are systematic responses to a planet under duress. The polar ca
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Steve H
One of the seminal works in the climate community and one that I wish more people would read and consider.

McKibben introduces the work by saying that the world we've known and that has sustained civilizations for ten thousand years is a thing of the past because of climate changed by increased greenhouse gases, especially Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Thus, he entitles his book Eaarth, to show us that we still have a planet that is a lot like the old planet, but different enough that we're going to have
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Catherine Siemann
McKibben is very honest about the disaster we're already in (and this was written several years ago before our carbon levels hit 400).
Joe
Nov 14, 2014 Joe rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: ecology
Problem: “The earth that we knew—the only earth that we ever knew—is gone” (27). “Cue doom” (33).
Coping strategy: Shop at your local organic farmers' market, grow your own food, & bike everywhere?

McKibben's thesis is that the earth of the Holocene, the earth that has supported human life for the past 12,000 years, is dead. We killed it. We're living on a new planet, "eaarth," which is earthlike but is fundamentally different in every possible way.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, earth’
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Ron
This is a really good book to read right now, as people are starting to wake up to the fact that we are no longer at a crossroads regarding energy and the environment, but are starting to have to deal with the permanent and negative consequences of the road we have collectively chosen to travel.
McKibben first paints a picture of how the planet we live on, though we haven't quite woken up to this fact, is no longer that planet that allowed for the flourishing of human civilization. The planet an
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Julie
Warning: Reading Eaarth may depress you. You should read it anyway, but you should be aware of the possibility going into it.

In short, McKibben argues that over the last two hundred years, we've put so much CO2 into the atmosphere that the levels are now higher than anything we've seen in ten thousand years of human civilization. And that's bad news, because it means we may have started feedback loops in the world's ecosystem that we can't stop. Weather is becoming more extreme: droughts are mor
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Stephen
I have been following the work of Bill McKibben for several years because implicitly I know he is absolutely correct as far as his assessment of the crises that global climate change is causing and will cause. The book starts out recapping a "weather event" on Lake Dunmore, the summer of 2008 that I witnessed. I could look up the particulars, but suffice it to say we received a summer's worth of rain in an afternoon - so much so that the lake actually flooded. You could not drive around the lake ...more
Barbara P
I just finished reading EAARTH by Bill McKibben and was touched, moved, angered, hopeful all wrapped up together. McKibben was here in Claremont last week to speak on Thursday evening over on the college campus and a conference on Friday/Saturday at our church, Claremont Presbyterian Church. People came from many places in the U.S.A. He named his book earth with two a's because he believes the earth we have known is gone and we have a new eaarth to try and heal from the complexities of global wa ...more
Michael
Bill McKibben is a good writer who can take dry scientific information and make it compelling. In this slim book--which is really a follow up to 1987's The End of Nature>--McKibben lays out, in no uncertain terms, the environmental situation we now face on our new planet, Eaarth. On Eaarth (as opposed to Earth), things are hotter, and because of that, the stability that we've taken for granted for the past 10,000 years is no longer there. The oceans are becoming more acidic. The ice is meltin ...more
Dan
An excellent book. While none of the concepts or data were particularly new to me, since I live and breathe this stuff at work, it's still persuasive to read it all in one place. The basic argument is that we have, through our pollution causing global warming, already altered the planet profoundly - enough so that it ought to have a different name, Eaarth. That new Eaarth can't be put back to the old Earth, even if we stop polluting completely today... which we are politically and socially unwil ...more
g-na
This book was both excellent and horrible.

It was an excellent, comprehensive look at the damage we are causing to our planet. The author goes into detail about how things are changing here on Earth due purely to the actions of mankind, and as a result, we are now living on a planet different from the one we evolved on; he calls this "new" planet "Eaarth." In all the reading I have done about conservation, climate change, anthropogenic changes, and the like, this is the first thing I've read tha
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Terri Jacobson
An amazing, important, frightening book on the science behind climate change. The book covers so many things--rising soil temperatures from tearing down rain forests, rising ocean temperatures and the destruction of coral reefs, melting glaciers and permafrost, the acidification of the oceans, increasing ferocity of climate events like hurricanes, hailstorms, and droughts. The book makes the connections among all these ongoing crises and what it portends for planet Earth. Then there is the growi ...more
Fred
Eaarth is about the changing planet. McKibben says that the planet has changed as a
result of global warming and that we're now living on a different planet and we can
never go back to the old one. I accept that. The best parts of the book is the scary
shit which is going to happen.

A warmer planet is one where diseases will thrive, storms will be more intense and
infestations of insects will be worse and more widespread. There will be more droughts
and more intense rainfall because of more moisture
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Stuart
Apr 23, 2010 Stuart rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Greenpeace-types, radical environmentalists
Twenty years ago, Bill McKibben wrote an interesting, thoughtful and informative book, The End of Nature. I was hoping for something similar here. Instead I was bombarded by a 70,000 word apocalyptic vision of a world already gone to complete hell with "solutions" that sound like they came out of a Mad Max movie. "What happened to this person to make him fall off his rocker over the intervening twenty years?" I thought. At about the 68,000 word mark I found the answer. In 2000, Bill McKibben con ...more
Diane Kistner
What would it be like to live on another planet? Like the proverbial frogs sitting in a pot of water slowly coming to a boil, we'll all eventually find out whether we want to or not.

Bill McKibben maintains that we NOW live on a very different planet, a planet that's rapidly becoming less and less like the one humans have inhabited for many thousands of years. And it's too late to turn our space ship around and go back "home." No, we have to wake up and start learning how to live on the planet as
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Susan Austin
I love Bill McKibben's work in helping to lead the 350.org movement. What he says and does in that role is spot on. He is one of the greatest climate activists I know. So it was great to read this book and get a bit more background to the evolution of his beliefs and activities. The main point he makes in this book is that we have already dramatically changed the earth's climate and we are already seeing many of the disastrous impacts of this. He lays out some startling and convincing evidence t ...more
Justin
McKibben's characterisation of climate change as the loss of the planet we once knew and the future we thought we had is keen insight. That climate change is far from a problem to solve for our children and our grandchildren; it was a problem for our parents.



The discussion of a different future based on survivability and resilience through a decentralised and re-localised socioeconomy gives some cause for hope. Yet it seems too thin, too many areas of life as we know it left unremarked and unres
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Bill McKibben is the author of Eaarth, The End of Nature, Deep Economy, Enough, Fight Global Warming Now, The Bill McKibben Reader, and numerous other books. He is the founder of the environmental organizations Step It Up and 350.org, and was among the first to warn of the dangers of global warming. In 2010 The Boston Globe called him "probably the nation's leading environmentalist," and Time maga ...more
More about Bill McKibben...
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future The End of Nature Wandering Home: A Long Walk Across America's Most Hopeful Landscape:Vermont's Champlain Valley and New York's Adirondacks (Crown Journeys) Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau (Library of America #182)

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