The Outlining of Global Warming Factors in McKibben's Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

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The book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet by Bill McKibben is split into four separate chapters. Each chapter discusses an issue in regards to global warming. In chapter 1, McKibben begins talking about how human interaction has messed with the sustainability of the Earth. He explains the title, in which the extra “a” represents the contrast between the old sustainable earth, and the new “ruined” earth. Later on, in chapter 2, McKibben describes the economic growth of the planet. He explains how the Earth cannot sustain humanity’s current rate of economic growth. The economy on Earth has been expanded for human wants, but not for sustainability. Chapter 3 turns the focus to big business. The coined term “too big to fail” is thrown around in this chapter. He focuses on small economies and explains how they work so well. If people want to preserve the security of society, the focus needs to be shifted to the smaller scale. Supporting local business means new jobs and consumer connections not found in big corporations. This relates to the idea of “Eaarth” because supporting large corporations is often an unsustainable practice. Chapter 4 is all about food. McKibben describes where food comes from, and stresses the fact that it is important to know where the food people consume comes from. Further than that, he stresses how important it is to know the ingredients in what is eaten as well. The big idea in this chapter is thinking globally, but acting locally. It is important to focus on decentralization.

Bill McKibben’s previous book, The End of Nature, published during the 1990s, took on a warning approach. He writes of the up and coming effects on the environment happening during the time, such as the greenhouse effect and ozone depletion. He claims it will ultimately lead to a sharp spike in global warming. This directly correlates with Eaarth, as it essentially has an “I told you so” tone to it. McKibben, on his website, says about The End of Nature: “more than simply a handbook for survival or a doomsday catalog of scientific prediction, this classic, soulful lament on Nature is required reading for nature enthusiasts, activists, and concerned citizens alike”. The same could be said for Eaarth. Newer environmental activists were too young in the 1990s to fully appreciate the work of The End of Nature. Therefore, Eaarth provides a modernized view of global warming and the effects since his first book was published. It appeals to the younger adult crowd who maybe have not either heard or thought about these effects before.

Overall, Eaarth is not just a factual science book, but rather a persuasive piece explaining what everyone can do to chip in and create a more sustainable planet. It is a call to action. Instead of stopping at the negative facts, McKibben creates a vision of practical scientific solutions to the negatives. This makes it an incredibly empowering piece comparative to its peers. Most scientific articles and journals about climate change only talk about doomsday and never offers any solutions. Through this book, McKibben creates a doomsday world, but takes it one step further than his counterparts and offers feasible solutions. This makes it an essential read for all, because every individual can be brought up to speed on the issues, and then everyone can come together and work on solving the issues. This is a read that can push us to a more sustainable future.

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