Friday, July 16, 2010

Alarm Bells

I’m reading a fantastic yet utterly frightening book right now called Eaarth by Bill McKibben. McKibben was one of the first to write a book about climate change geared toward a general audience, called The End of Nature, and he has written several books since, Eaarth being his most recent. The book is titled Eaarth because this is the new name McKibben has assigned to the new planet on which we live – one where natural resources are becoming scarcer, the climate is changing surprisingly rapidly, and the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher (392 ppm) than the level deemed safe for humanity by scientists (350 ppm; see this webpage for more information). He informs us that we have altered our old planet in so dramatic a way that many of the rules that once applied to it no longer do. To further exacerbate this, our country, at least, but really the entire planet has been pursuing growth and planning for growth continuously. Considering we do not live on the old planet we used to, we will not have the resources, such as oil and water, to sustain growth. In fact, there is much evidence that we soon will not have the natural resources to support ourselves at current capacity.

McKibben spends the end of the book trying to work out how we might live on this new planet we’ve created through global warming and exhaustion of resources. Largely, it’s a sort of get local, do it yourself message. He doesn’t believe there is anything we can do to get back to our old planet, but he does believe that we can exist on the new planet if we start learning to produce things for ourselves. For example, if I’m capable of producing my own food, then the poor yield on wheat and/or the lack of any fish in the ocean for fisheries to catch and provide to my supermarket won’t affect me as much. McKibben calls for governments and people to rid themselves of an expansionist, global point of view and get back to basics. Bigger is not better. In fact, bigger is ruining our chances at surviving on this so-called Eaarth.

It would be easy for me to get in far more detail here as the book makes many interesting points and is heavily researched with excellent notes. But I’ll leave it to you to pursue along with all of the other great resources we have to help connect you with the information you need!


Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future

Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

Permaculture: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability

State of the World 2009: Into a Warming World: A WorldWatch Institute Report on Progress Toward a Sustainable Society

Founded and lead by Bill McKibben is "an international campaign that's building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis - the solutions that science and justice demand. Our mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis — to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet."

Artic is Melting Even in Winter

Bill McKibben discusses Eaarth (a podcast)

Climate Changing ‘Faster, Stronger, Sooner’

Climate Warming Means Food Shortages, Study Warns

The End of Car Culture*
*Requires an APL card to access from home

No comments: