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The Future Earth: A Radical Vision for What's Possible in the Age of Warming

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  494 ratings  ·  95 reviews
The first hopeful book about climate change, The Future Earth shows readers how to reverse the short- and long-term effects of climate change over the next three decades.

The basics of climate science are easy. We know it is entirely human-caused. Which means its solutions will be similarly human-led. In The Future Earth, leading climate change advocate and weather-related
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 30th 2020 by HarperOne
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Andrew LeBlanc
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
If you're looking for some lightweight Woke Pornography, you may enjoy this book!

**Don't read the rest of this review**

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut, I found this "optimistic" vision of our climate future is probably the most depressing thing I've read all year.

In the book's light Science Fiction mid-section, the author presents as our only way to barely escape climate doom involves everyone on Earth, in the year 2020, somehow magically becoming a super-woke leftist. We solve the climate crisis by: ending Ca
Hákon Gunnarsson
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I have for some time now been immersed in the climate change debate, and I have to admit over time I have come to alternate between cautious optimism, and well, frankly, sorrow or something quite close to it. Listen, I came across an interesting quote by Larry Kudlow in a news article quite recently. He has served as an economist in various positions throughout his career, and he said:

“It turns out President Biden may be the most left-wing president we’ve ever seen,” Kudlow said. “His actions on
A realistic picture of the state of the environment, plus optimistic speculation about how new technologies and models of governance could reverse some of the damage. Holthaus breaks the middle part of the book into three chronological sections, covering the decades between 2020 and 2050. Some of his proposals would be considered radical by current political norms. There is much to admire in this vision of the future. However, there are flaws in how it is delivered. The content feels repetitive ...more
Shruti Sharma
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
I liked reading this very hopeful book. It helped me deal with my anxiety on why other people are not scared, worried about our environment. The book has some valid points on why 'making conversation' is the best way to deal with our reality. A good read for environmentally conscious people. ...more
Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publisher HarperOne (Harper Collins) for providing me with an early copy of this book in exchange for my honest review! The Future Earth is out June 30.

It felt a bit odd to be finishing this book at this present moment given everything that's happening (i.e. covid-19, the murder of George Floyd and the events following) as right now climate change seems to be the least of our worries; however, the hopefulness of this book also made this a phenomenal time to r
Auriel Fournier
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is optimistic in a way I didnt expect. It paints pictures of what could be and how it could happen, while recognizing the grief of climate change and the pain and suffering and uncertainty that is coming.

I look forward to using the examples in this book to talk to people about what the future could look like, which is often the part of talking about climate change that can be so hard.
Aug 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can a book deal with the issue of climate change in an overly glossy and optimistic manner? Apparently so. The author attempts to make a 3 decade future-looking approach to ‘solving’ the climate crisis and yet the entire time it feels like it barely breaks the surface of the science and hard realities that each of his approaches entail. For some of these solutions other authors have written entire books on the subject and seeing as this is a short book to begin with it again just seems too facil ...more
Laurent Franckx
Oct 11, 2020 rated it did not like it
Didn't finish it. This is a textbook example what you get when someone with a background in natural sciences becomes an amateur social scientist. Holthaus falls in all the classical traps: promoting wrong or trivial ideas as profound, emphasizing anecdotes above analysis once he leaves his own field, etc
I have no doubt concerning his good intentions, but this is not the book you want to read if you aim to understand climate policy.
In June I was notified that I'd won a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway. In true 2020 fashion, I didn't actually receive the book until December.

In those six months, some of the events Mr. Holthaus writes about (in a speculative fiction sense) did not come true. Luckily, he was right about Trump not winning the election, but he didn't predict how much of an ordeal the election itself and Trump's refusal to concede has become. Additionally, he did not foresee how large the COVID-19
Jul 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Reading this book right now was an interesting experience. This author is very optimistic - too optimistic in my opinion. To readers who already share his views, he's just preaching to the choir. He lays out how we can save our planet by mapping out what we need to change by 2050. Decade by decade, he tells us how the world will come together, how capitalism will be ended in favor of a more communal economy, how government leaders will spontaneously do the right thing. I do believe him that if t ...more
Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was very good!! The author finds a good balance between being optimistic and realistic. He takes you through the next 30 years describing all the tough choices and actions we’ll have to take to undo all we’ve already done with regards to climate change. Throughout the book he drives home the point that tackling climate change is not just an environmental movement, but also a humanitarian one. Climate justice is social justice!!

One of my favorite parts was learning about all the crazy new s
Caleb Kirby
Apr 28, 2021 rated it did not like it
Probably the worst book I’ve ever read. From the mind of an emotionally distressed, immature, weak, privileged, unaccomplished, beta male, comes some pretty horrific ideas about what the future could hold if we just demonize fossil fuels, demolish capitalism, and maybe do a little terraforming when nothing we tried actually works. Woefully lacking in any substantive scientific material, the author favors hyperventilated platitudes and racial justice doctrine over honest dialogue. Why these peopl ...more
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"As long as we are still here, it means we haven't yet lost the fight. And that realization gives me a glimmer of hope."

When I picked this up I was not expecting an optimistic take on the earth after climate change, but I'm very glad that's what I got. It's not naively hopeful, but managed to strike a solar punk, hope punk kind of vision of our future based on the current state of climate science and activism. As a reader who desperately needed a moment of hope, I really appreciated this book
Benjamin Myers
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Eric weaves an imperative web with story, research, and message that is yet another valuable call to action around the climate crisis. I liked the fact that it was from a meteorologist and had a lot to do with democratic reform. I also liked the focus on the next 30 years.

Oct 30, 2020 rated it liked it
A man's vision for the future where we make amends and reverse climate change. Interesting way of delivering, by actively imagining the future by the decade and the changes that need to happen in order to ensure we have a future on Earth. ...more
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
Couldn't finish it. A pile of American-centered wishful thinking. ...more
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I think his overall recommendation of stubborn optimism and trying to think past apocalyptic dystopia into potential utopia is a good one, but at the same time I think that advice is about all this book really has to offer.

For starters, more than any book I've read this year, it feels woefully out of sync with reality. Some of that is that it opens with a possible description of 2020 and allow me to start sad-laughing right now. He very obviously thoug
Matthew Tyas
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
There's some fascinating ideas in here around decentralised and post capitalist societies. Bits of it feel a little too much like speculative fiction but the ideas are solid regardless ...more
Jul 05, 2020 added it
The stand on merging humanities and science is extremely crucial, as we have suffered way long separating two fields. We need to acknowledge our conservative side and engage more with:

Indigenous scientists not for the sake of nostalgia, but to fill affiliation gaps from those who needs to be reminded to care about the land

Colonial historians not for the sake of verbal historiography, but to understand patterns of exploitation

Ecological teachers not for the sake of giving more jobs, but to turn
Sarah Gantsoudes
Jun 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ecoanxiety, on-repeat
A humane, accessible, and galvanizing guidebook for the 21st century, with transformative justice as its lodestar.

With "the keen eye of a climate reporter and the broken-open heart of a parent," Eric Holthaus begins with a survey of the familiar enormity of climate change as Earth inhabitants experience it now and are predicted to endure it in the century to come. Then, The Future Earth strikes into novel territory, imagining the next three decades as ones in which science, indigenous activism,
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Eric Holthaus’s ‘Future Earth: A Radical Vision For What’s Possible in the Age of Warming’ is unique in its scope, conceptually speculative and realistic. It is grounded by an eclectic mix of evidence of global warming and narratives of social movements led and championed by activists and researchers from Global South. In its two parts, the book tackles the present and future of the world, piecing together climate-related events, socio-political movements, global policies and narratives of actio ...more
Ryder Kimball
Feb 08, 2021 rated it liked it
This is one of the tougher reviews I’ve had to write simply because my opinion on it alternated almost page to page. I love, for obvious reasons, its main topic: the construction of an inclusive, progressive, and climate-conscious society. Unlike so many books by his contemporaries, Holthaus imbues his writing with a profound sense of optimism, with positivity, and ample encouragement. He references many of the books and people I’ve recently discovered that have influenced me (Octavia Butler, ad ...more
HekArtemis Crowfoot
3.5 stars. Mostly it's quite interesting with some interesting ideas. But, it's also annoyingly US-centric in many ways - like sure, it makes absolute sense that several places in the world will just randomly choose to become new states of the US because of... reasons? Lol.

It's also very badly optimistic in a not realistic way. The author makes some pretty big assumptions and jumps in human altruism and togetherness that just make no sense when you actually understand anything about humanity -
Philip Loring
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With "The Future Earth", Eric Holthaus has done a great service to society. He has shown us with the clarity of a scientist but the passion of a parent, both the great magnitude of the environmental and societal challenges in front of us and also the real and achievable solutions that are within our reach. Holthaus' narrative, told from the perspective of a journalist in the not-to-distant future, blends the truths about the recent past and present with projections about the short-term future in ...more
Apr 25, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: audible
I found the beginning and ending powerful, but the middle part felt tentative and overall gimmicky. In the middle part Eric Holthaus writes a fiction about what could happen between 2020 and 2050, or rather what he hopes will happen. Most of the imagined facts felt to me like ways to refer back to issues that are being discussed or tackled at the moment. I have nothing against it in principle, but it is here done poorly, in a way that I felt diluted the interesting facts and necessary debates in ...more
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Here's an excerpt from my book review. Read the whole thing here:

A Hopeful Vision of Our Planet’s Future

In a remote pocket of the Pacific Ocean lie the Marshall Islands, which nearly 60,000 people call home. But the islanders are facing the grim and very real prospect of losing their entire country in their lifetimes. One resident, Selina Leem, spoke at the Paris climate summit in 2015, passionately arguing that she refuses to lose her homeland, which wil
Dan Castrigano
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good. But not really what I was expecting. It's essentially a futures protocol - like the kinds I've run with my students before. Imagine the Earth in the 2020s, 2030s, and 2040s. Work backwards. And we can make it happen. I like tons of stuff in here - from circular economy, universal basic income, four day work week, the elimination of lawns and widespread small-scale growing of food, ripping up of highways, and the changing of social norms - like no/slow travel and a return to smaller communi ...more
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ok, so Eric is a friend of mine, so this 5-star review may be a little biased, but I really enjoyed the book. I especially liked the closing chapters, which brought it all together, and I was really appreciative that Eric's prescription for action was for us to simply talk to each other.

This book certainly has inspired me to make some changes in my life in regards to climate change. For example, I live in a state where I could actually choose my electric provider. I assumed it would be more exp
Noreen Chase
May 30, 2021 rated it it was ok
Not for me.

I tried to finish reading the book, but I couldn't do it. The author, Eric Holthaus, clearly states the format of the book is in two parts. The first part covers current state of the world with climate change and the second part of the book he details his fictional version of what the world could be like if climate change was brought under control. I thought it was such a different take on this subject that I would give it a try. But, in fact, that is where the book loses me because i
Jul 09, 2020 rated it liked it
I love the concept of imagining a better future, rather than wallowing in (and therefore reinforcing) despair and dystopia. Equally important is the way climate issues were largely reframed not as technical
challenges to solve, but systems to reinvent.

Having said all of that, the optimism, at times, veers into naïveté—the sort of structural and societal revolution described here ignores the political reality of the United States, at least in terms of what’s politically feasible in a largely divi
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