As a girl, I read the Little House on the Prairie series and dreamed of a time when people cooked over an open fire and gave handmade gifts. As an adult, I actually hoped that Y2K would bring a change. While we called it a “scare” back then, few would have guessed Y2K could actually have saved humanity. A forced change in our lives of excess might have depressed the masses, but the idea of living closer to the earth always appealed to me. Reading Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet was like spending time with an old friend who shared my desire for a simpler life. A smart old friend. While I’m passionate about living a simpler life, author Bill McKibben lays out for readers exactly why drastic changes are necessary to the way we’re living.
Our old familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding, and burning in ways that no human has ever seen. We’ve created, in very short order, a new planet, still recognizable but fundamentally different. We may as well call it Eaarth.
While some people stubbornly cling to the idea that we can continue driving our children to school in over-sized vehicles more suited to farm chores, McKibben makes a strong case for implementing changes immediately if we want to continue to inhabit this planet. Global climate change isn’t coming soon; it’s here.
Safe carbon dioxide levels in order for this planet to remain healthy are – at most – 350 parts per million. Currently? Our planet clocks in at nearly 390 parts per million, resulting in the relatively recent rise in the number of hurricanes, the melting of Arctic ice, and devastating floods. These phenomenon appear on the surface to be Mother Nature at work, but McKibben carefully spells out with statistical evidence just how humans are at the root of this devastation.