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Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  3,188 Ratings  ·  477 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
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 15th 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2010)
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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
David Schaafsma
Oct 05, 2016 David Schaafsma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: environment
So, you probably think you don't want to read this book or this review, because it is about bad news you maybe think you already know, and will include not enough good--or really new--news about imminent solutions. But I'll tell you: It's well written and important, from the world's premier climate change writer.

I recently reread Bill McKibben’s 1986 The End of Nature, the first book about global warming for a general audience, in preparation to read this more recent book, Eaarth: Making a Life
Jan 27, 2012 Ted rated it really liked it
McKibben argues that the place we now live has been changed by humans sufficiently (in totally bad ways) so that we no longer live on the same planet on which human society has developed over the last several thousand years. (Hence we no longer live on Earth, but "Eaarth".) I think he is probably right, and this is a profoundly disturbing fact to contemplate. He has pretty much given up attempting to “solve” the problem of global warming (we can’t any more) though of course he is still devoting ...more
May 01, 2010 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 26, 2010 Chuck rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 10, 2010 Bakari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 25, 2010 Reid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jose Moa
Dec 17, 2015 Jose Moa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
350ppm is the level of carbón dioxide that most of the climatologist think is the tipping point to save the planet of a catastrophe and also is the name of the organization founded by Bill Mckibben;but this point is already surpassed and now we are arround 400ppm and the earth thoug we dont emit a more gram of carbón dioxide would be yet storing heat and warming because the sistem is yet out of equilibrium by the enormous heat capacity by the oceans,when the eqilibrium be reached the planet posi ...more
C.J. Shane
Feb 05, 2011 C.J. Shane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 almost 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 us are ...more
Jun 11, 2011 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Zoe Aleshire
Apr 25, 2010 Zoe Aleshire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bradley Jarvis
Jun 19, 2010 Bradley Jarvis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 19, 2010 Corrina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Bill McKibben is a world-famous environmentalist. He is the founder of, a very big organization whose purpose is to solve the climate crisis. Without a doubt, he has written a very scary book. Well worth reading, to help put climate change into context.

The main point of this excellent book, is that our planet is not the same as it used to be; hence, the title Eaarth. Climate change is happening right now. Sea level is rising faster than expected. Dry areas are becoming drier, while wet r
Oct 28, 2011 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bob Redmond
Jul 19, 2010 Bob Redmond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-and-farms
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
Jan 30, 2017 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Americans eat 200 pounds of grain directly, and 1,800 pounds that’s been run through an animal first. By contrast, the average Chinese eats 850 pounds of grain with his chopsticks, and only 154 pounds indirectly, via cow or pig. It takes eleven times as much fossil fuel to raise a pound of animal protein as a pound of plant protein” (177).

If you want in and you're looking for a good place to start, how about eating lower on the food chain? Meatless Mondays didn't work for me, but eating one mea
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through Library Thing's Early Reviewer giveaway program.

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
Catherine Siemann
Jun 29, 2013 Catherine Siemann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
McKibben is very honest about the disaster we're already in (and this was written several years ago before our carbon levels hit 400).
McKibben doesn't pull any punches in the first two-thirds of this book. He argues that global warming isn't something that just our grandchildren will have to worry about, which is so often what is touted by politicians and people in general. Nope, he argues that the stuff that will happen in the hazy future is already beginning to happen TODAY. He fills the pages with of facts, observations, and hypotheses he draws from those facts, painting a bleak picture of humankind's future. We're pretty m ...more
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
Diane Kistner
Oct 28, 2012 Diane Kistner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 02, 2010 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 melting. S ...more
Mar 08, 2011 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 15, 2010 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mankind has irreparably changed the Earth’s climate and weather conditions. This book gives the details, and tells how to survive on this new world.

The Earth that mankind knew, and grew up on, is gone. A new planet needs a new name; hence Eaarth. It is a place of poles where the ice caps are severely reduced, or gone. It is a place where the oceans are becoming more acid, because of excess carbon absorbed into the water, not to mention the toxic chemicals and other pollutants being dumped into i
Susan Austin
Jan 22, 2013 Susan Austin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Bill McKibben's work in helping to lead the 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
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
Aug 06, 2010 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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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, 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...

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“In the world we grew up in, our most ingrained economic and political habit was growth; it’s the reflex we’re going to have to temper, and it’s going to be tough.” 1 likes
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