Monday, April 4, 2011

Can we survive Eaarth?

I don’t think there is a (rational) human being alive that realistically thought that mankind would inhabit another planet.  Yet that is exactly what Bill McKibben suggests in his latest book Eaarth.  He argues that we no longer live on planet Earth, because the planet we stand on now doesn’t look or behave like the one that birthed mankind 50,000 yrs ago.  This new planet—Eaarth—is more aggressive and hostile, more turbulent and chaotic, and completely unforgiving of our past sins.  

The numbers in the book are staggering, and no matter how avidly people try to refute them—accurate. Confirmed.  This is our fault. No questions asked.  The people who contest this are in denial, and/or scared stagnant.  The biggest problem with ‘Going Green’ is that it calls for a complete overhaul of our way of life—and that scares the shit out of people.  No one likes change on any scale, be in individual, national or global.  No matter how obvious the need (for change) is people drag their heels until they crash into the ‘now or never’ wall.  Bill McKibben in this book is essentially saying that we crashed through that wall just as we were learning where it stood, and we did so because we were too focused on NOT losing everything we’ve worked so hard for.  Hmm, maybe ‘worked hard for’ isn’t the right wording since one barrel of oil equals ten years of manpower! Worked ‘smarter’ might be a better term, if the means hadn’t driven us to the catastrophe we’re now facing (even reluctantly). 

So what do we do now?  Other than being brutally upfront and honest on where we stand as far as this global crisis, the big message in this book is that we need to stand, legs spread, bend over and forcibly remove our heads from our asses and get cracking on adapting to the new planet we now find ourselves living on.  I apologize for the visual, but Bill didn’t hold any punches in his text so neither shall I. 

Whilst reading the first two chapters I was reminded of two quotes from JFK that I feel need to be adopted with fervor:  “Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man… No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.

The second, while referencing our greatest achievement as a species, showcases what amazing things we are capable of when we give our all to a goal.  We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”   

If we could commit to go to the moon in a single decade, WHY can we not solve thins problem?  Yes, it is inherently more complicated, complex & difficult —as I said would involve a complete overhaul of how we live our lives… but if we can do something as wholly unnecessary as space travel, then how can we not tackle the issue that threatens our survival as a whole, and win?  This challenge requires creative thinking, ingenuity, & problem solving on a scale few could ever imagine.  It can’t be solved by cynics, skeptics, or those in to turn a quick profit… but I believe it CAN be solved.  Oil (all fossil fuels) is not the answer, it’s the cancer… and now we need to find the treatment(s) to heal & revitalize the entire world.


  1. You're absolutely right! We can get this done if we work together. Sure it's going to be hard, but what important task is easy?

  2. This book was grossly depressing, so I like the optimism you have at the end of your post. I think Bill needs to take some anti depressants or something. Also awesome JFK quotes!