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This Is the Way the World Ends: How Droughts and Die-Offs, Heat Waves and Hurricanes Are Converging on America

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  246 ratings  ·  68 reviews
A unique view of climate change glimpsed through the world's resources that are disappearing.

The world itself won't end, of course. Only ours will: our livelihoods, our homes, our cultures. And we're squarely at the tipping point.

Longer droughts in the Middle East. Growing desertification in China and Africa. The monsoon season shrinking in India. Amped-up heat waves in Au
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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One of the things a reader might hope for when reading about current and very likely environmental catastrophes is some guidance from the author about what the reader can do to help remedy the situation. The ability to take meaningful action is a buttress against despair when reading such a book. While the author makes some suggestions aimed at institutions and government agencies, there are no suggestions given to the common reader who is not working for or with large institutions and/or govern ...more
May Ling
Summary: This book is going to appeal if the Environment is #1 on your issue list, you have never traveled the world, and you know nothing of politics or economics. Otherwise, it's a skip unless you are interested in trying to understand what the environmentalists don't understand.

There are those that felt that Nesbit wasn't deep enough in his research. I both agree and disagree. I disagree in the sense that he clearly did a lot of research about various areas of the world. That's why I bumped h
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The gate that we face at present is not a question of surviving or conquering the planet. We have done all that and more. Now, today, we do not need to save the planet. We have conquered Earth. It is ours. The question before us, the gate we must pass through, is whether we can save ourselves as a vanquished Earth begins to turn against us. In the end, the planet will be fine. We might not be.”

I live in Western Japan. During this summer we: experienced an earthquake, scorching hot temperature
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Current knowledge of impending tragedies, well organized and clearly presented.
10/20/19 - Quotes staying with me:
p157 - "Part 6 - The Future"
"As the number of refugees increases ... will the growing trend of nationalism cause countries to seal their borders?"
p159 -
"The people of Bangladesh have nowhere to go. It is likely to get much worse in the future, on several fronts. ... Bangladesh is one of the countries most at risk for even modest sea level rise. If seas rise just one meter, up to 2
Sep 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
I'm marking this DNF at about page 85. There are a few things that are really bothering me about this book. First of all, there's little substance to the arguments. It seems like all we get is soundbites - just whatever sounds most alarming with only cherry-picked factoids backing it up. Please tell us a little about the studies being cited and why they are more reliable than studies from the naysayers. I'd love to see some of the anti-climate change arguments refuted with sound science. Instead ...more
Donna Hines
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
We can ignore the evidence or we can come to terms with the truths!
Global warming has already arrived.
The Earth is slowly coming to an end and it needs our attention if we are to at least slow the process if not reverse it.
We cannot keep kicking the can down the road. The time to wake up and smell the coffee boiling over is now.
With massive species in extinction, ocean systems collapsing, water scarcity, natural disasters increasing, food insecurity rising, ocean acidifying destroying coral reef
Otchen Makai
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastically informational, educational, interesting and intelligently written. Jam packed with scientific stats and so much more.
This book should be read by everyone.

(view spoiler)
Chris Demer
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, environment
This is a book everyone-especially law makers - should read.

The beginning portion of the book delivered information that most of us know or should have known: There is irrefutable evidence of dramatically climate change. The ice at the poles - including the "third pole" the Himalayas, as well as uncounted glaciers in mountainous areas and Greenland are melting. The average earth temperatures have been rising steeply since the dawn of the industrial revolution and burning of fossil fuels. The oce
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-books
I've read many climate change novels in recent years and while this may not add much new information, it does a better job of organizing that information than most. I like that he starts with the truths, that is what irrefutably (although I'm sure there are still naysayers) is happening right now on our planet. He then discusses the repercussions of climate change, such as droughts, disappearing water, rising seas, increased heat waves and how it affects the world's geopolitical design. At the e ...more
C.J. Shane
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Jeff Nesbit’s book gives us up-to-date information and analysis regarding the climate crisis, including what is happening right now and what will happen very soon. He connects the dots between human-caused ravages to our environment, the increasing numbers of environmental refugees, and the increasing incidents of geopolitical conflict related to these issues. Water is a constant theme in the book; sometimes too much water, but mostly not enough. We are using up our drinkable water. Add to that ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you do not think that climate change is an immediate and deadly problem for humans, you need to read this book. And if you don't think humans are instrumental in the changes happening, you need to read this book.

The oceans are 30% more acidic now than they were at the beginning of the industrial revolution. (42) That's because the oceans have absorbed 525 billion tons of carbon dioxide since then. (41) That came home to where I live in the Pacific Northwest as it has meant problems in oyster
Angela Gyurko
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As an author of dystopian fiction, I love that there are five books entitled "This is the Way the World Ends" on Goodreads. Because clearly, I'm not the only one who wonders which of the many forms of our destruction our civilization will take. The horsemen of the apocalypse are not mythical creatures descending from the sky, they are physical phenomenon we are creating (good job, humanity, good job).

For those of you who don't ponder dystopian thoughts on a regular basis and would like to start,
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
For anyone who wonders what is happening to our world as it heats up, why it is that we have so many refugees, why more storms are devastating when they come, this book will help make sense of all of this. The weather patterns are changing, and changing rather drastically. The author gives a good overview of the drought situation in the Middle East, the growing deserts in Africa and China, heat waves in places that are already approaching danger levels for survival of living beings. All of this ...more
Tasneem Tripathi
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really appreciated the primer on climate change. The author described what is happening in the sky, water and land; provided concrete examples of current political and social upheaval resulting from water and food scarcity; proposed what we can expect in the immediate future if we don’t do anything; and offered promising and simple solutions: carbon tax and infrastructure improvements.

The examples and solutions were respectively tangible and actionable. He didn’t make emotional pleas as other a
Anna Smithberger
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This definitely reads a bit more pop-science than others I’ve picked up on the topic recently, but it’s very readable and frames climate change as both important environmentally (imp. for dems) and economically (imp. for repubs) which makes it accessible to everyone without the automatic shutdown political ideologies can bring on.
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A bit introductory, but it focuses on some topics that aren't so common. If the Himalayas as the Third Pole is old news to you, the book might not be helpful, but it covered topics that were new to me, particularly the geopolitics section. However, a large portion of the end is devoted to solutions in a way I did not find convincing. ...more
Ashe Dryden
Lots of repetition. Arguments aimed at folks who aren’t sold on climate change, so there’s a lot of inch deep and mile wide going on here with all the problems that go along with it. Seems more motivated by individual action vs top-down coordinated action, largely to appeal to the folks who’ve been hesitant to take these issues seriously.

There are better written books with better background + politics out there, I wouldn’t recommend this one.
Michael Paquette
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The tipping point and the global disaster that we face, the realities that we are doing little to address and what each of us must do to save the planet.
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some books are scary.
As a child The Hobbit scared me. As an adult I could understand that the likelihood of running into Sméagol was slim and the story turned from scary to fantastical.
While the powers that be may want you to believe that climate change is a modern day fantastical Sméagol, this book will open your eyes ... and terrify you in a way Tolkien never could.

I was shocked by this book. How did I not know that 200,000 people die annually in Bangladesh due to river erosion. That seems li
Scott Haraburda
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Well-written with excellent references and endnotes. I could not put the book down and read this book without stopping. This was a timely and thought-provoking book that should be read by everyone today.
David Hile
I had high hopes for this books. I had listened to an interview with the author and thought it had promise so bought it. It turned out to be a long categorized list of talking points. Essentially it's preaching to the choir. People who buy this book will most likely climate change believers and will be looking for more science and back ground. Unfortunately this book was very light on both and was laced with passive aggressive political commentary. ( when will people learn that a club is not a g ...more
Leo Knight
This book needed a good, ruthless editor. The author repeats himself endlessly. This makes for a frustrating read. The author should have cut about two thirds of his redundant padding. Then it would have been readable, even compelling. The blurb tells me he was "director of public affairs for two federal science agencies and a senior communications official at the White House." Perhaps these gigs created an urge for useless verbiage. ...more
Stefan Styk
Incredibly repetitive. Clearly not written by a scientist because each topic scratches the surface of issues then repeats the same talking points for an entire chapter. The main call to action only comes at the end and felt like an afterthought.
Blaine Morrow
Nesbit chronicles the changes in climate which are most likely to affect humans. His focus on specific "hot spots" and some of the geopolitical effects of the crises developing in them is especially interesting. ...more
I understand that this is supposed to be a thousand-foot view of the impacts of climate change, but I don't think Nesbit is the right person to write this book. This book reads as dilettantish in the extreme. Its crimes, in order: 1) non-expert policy recommendations and 2) awful writing.

1) Non-expert policy recommendations: I appreciate the author's effort to take a global look at the impacts of climate change in Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China, among others. However, I worry abo
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I abandoned this book around the 26% mark.

This book is an example of how a title sets expectations. I picked up this book specifically because the title seemed to promise something a bit different: not just stories about how climate change is happening in other places in the world but how it will directly affect Americans. And, even better, it seemed to promise to tie together how the things happening "over there" are related to (or will will soon lead to) things happening "in America".

I was hop
Christina Dudley
Like most environmental books, this one is pretty alarming and depressing. Despite the subtitle, "How Droughts and Die-Offs, Heat Waves and Hurricanes Are Converging on America," the book has a global scope. How has climate change (always, always for the worse) all over the world led to food- and water shortages, which leads to rural folk moving to the cities, which leads to a big population of impoverished folks who aren't happy, which leads to unrest? And it's going to get way worse. More drou ...more
May 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
In This Is the Way the World Ends: How Droughts and Die-Offs, Heat Waves and Hurricanes Are Converging on America, Jeff Nesbit discusses the current crises facing our world.

Having recently read Jared Diamond's very well-researched volumes (Collapse Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, and Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, that were very heavy in information and content, I found that This Is the Way the World Ends: How Droughts and Die-Offs, Heat Waves and Hurricane
H Peter Ji
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Just a few words. This book mostly focuses on the problems, not how to solve the problems that us humans are facing, in terms of climate change.

But then, what can the author suggest, other than pointing out the problems? It talks about what the companies and countries are doing at the end of the book, but for how many pages. Having said that, if you don't know anything about what's happening all over the world, grab this book and educate yourself.

However, if you've been following climate chang
As former director of two federal science agencies and a senior communications official and frequent writer for NYT, USNWR, etc. Nesbit is well-qualified to write this book. His exposition is clear, detailed, intricate, and frank.

But the book depresses me. Nesbit explains how we should all be alarmed and doing what we can to change our life styles around the world to enable us, well, my grand nieces and nephews, to live, not as lavishly as they do now (at ages 14 through 15 months) but at least
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JEFF NESBIT was the director of public affairs for two federal science agencies. He was once profiled in The Wall Street Journal as one of the seven people who ended the Tobacco Wars. He was also a national journalist, communications director for former Vice President Quayle, and the director of a Washington, DC-based strategic communications business. Now the executive director of Climate Nexus, ...more

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