I recently finished reading Bill McKibben’s new book, Eaarth: Making A Life On A Tough New Planet, and while reading it, I talked about it so much to Mr. Livings, that he’s now reading it too. It’s a great book - one that has been giving Mr. Livings and I much to think about.
In the book, McKibben writes how global warming is no longer a future threat…something for our children’s children…but a present reality…That change has come, and we are changed, and now must go from here…figuring out how to best live upon this changed world of our own creation, altered by our own hands.
Throughout the book, McKibben gives many examples that illustrate this change…the many ways in which planet Earth is now planet Eaarth: the increase in weather-related disasters…the decrease in planetary biological diversity…the increase in world hunger…the decrease in ice…rising sea levels…louder oceans…fewer trees… He also makes important connections between climate and civilization, fossil fuels and modernity, growth, progress, consumption, identity, and the problem of being dependent on technology that is dependent on fixed past conditions no longer present, in order to properly function.
However, this book is not a simple inventory of loss and damage. It does not leave one feeling crippled by helplessness nor hopelessness in the face of forces larger than ourselves. Instead, it is a call to action. It is a call to rise. That though change has come and things are changed, we must act now before it is too late for us to act later…that there are habits we need to lose, skills we need to gain, soil we need to nurture, diversity we need to multiply, and systems we need to return to…with our food…with our energy…with everything…that are smaller…more localized…decentralized…absolutely necessary for us to go forward with into this changed world still changing…that is our future…and beyond…“We’ve turned our sweet planet into Eaarth,” McKibben writes, “but we’ve still got to live on that world, so we better start figuring out how.” For McKibben, he started 350.org - an international campaign to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis. For Mr. Livings and I, we ask ourselves, “what kind of livings shall we be?” And we look at ourselves. And we look at the world. Answering that question. And living it.
What future shall we see?