Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

Bill McKibben

Book cover

A good book, but I didn’t feel like I got much out of it that I didn’t already get out of “Deep Economy.” In DE, McK argues that we should move to a more localized economy because it will make people happier; in “Eaarth,” he argues that we should move to a more localized economy because it is the only choice that will allow us to deal with peak oil and global warming. So, many parts of the two books felt similar. The whole first half of “Eaarth” is intentionally wrenching to read, as it is basically just a catalog of all the terrible things that are already happening to the world because of global warming. (I have to say that it definitely bugged me that McK never seemed to give a reason why he chose the name “Eaarth” to refer to the “new planet” we live on–anyone have an idea about that?) In a way these two books together are similar to Juliet Schor’s “Plenitude,” but I find McK to be a somewhat more enjoyable writer to read.

My favorite takeaway from this book, actually from the Afterword, is McK’s emphasis that the prominence of ecological catastrophes such as Deepwater Horizon is actually unfortunate because it leads us to identify accidents with danger to the Earth, whereas in fact the big-picture harm to the Earth simply comes when everything goes as planned.

My Goodreads rating: 3 stars