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The End of Nature: Tenth Anniversary Edition

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Reissued on the tenth anniversary of its publication, this classic work on our environmental crisis features a new introduction by the author, reviewing both the progress and ground lost in the fight... This description may be from another edition of this product.

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7 ratings

Please read this book

This was a great read incredibly still relatable to today, nearly 40 years later. Introduces readers to biocentric ideology, saving nature for for the sake of nature.

The End is Near

"End of Nature', like Francis Fukuyama's "End of History", is a catchy title, well engineered to sell copies perhaps, but its a 'bridge to no where', vain, misleading and disingenuous. The End of Humans someday maybe, but the End of Nature is not coming. Blue State Liberals and a few doddering old money conservatives have long been troubled by the destructive prevailing 19th century assumption that natural resource exploitation is what God put us all here to do. This is the prevailing 21st century assumption. Environmental regulations notwithstanding, global warming and all of science to the contrary, there has been no serious effort to reconsider whether waste and consumption is such a good idea. Garret Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons, among others showed that there will be no serious effort to reconsider this assumption. Our Deciders wont abjure fossil fuels and most of the public is behind that. SUV sales are up. Consumption and growth are the Big Modern Gods. No City, state or county has attempted to quit that and embark on a wholly sustainable path. We must all take the long view, as George Carlin said cheerfully, and recognize that in the end, 'Nature will shake humans off like a bad case of fleas'.

Prophetic and life changing.

In the ten years between the time THE END OF NATURE was first published in 1989 and reissued in 1999, we experienced seven of the ten warmest years in recorded history (p. xiv), which establishes Bill McKibben as a global warming prophet. And the thing is--we're still not getting it. "We live in the oddest moment since our species first stood upright," McKibben writes in the new Introduction to his environmental classic, "the moment when we are finally grown so big in numbers and in appetite we alter everything around us" (pp. xv-xvi). The United States alone dumps 15 percent more CO2 into the atmosphere than it did ten years ago (p. xvi). Arctic glaciers continue to retreat, ice grows thinner, and the sea level steadily rises (p. xviii). In short, "this buzzing, blooming, mysterious, cruel, lovely globe of mountain, sea, city, forest, of fish and wolf and bug and man; of carbon and hydrogen and nitrogen--it has come unbalanced in our short moment on it" (p. xxv).McKibben's basic argument is that our relationship with the concept of "nature" as something separate and wild has changed, and in our pursuit for "a better life," we have totally wrecked the environment (p. 48). By changing the weather, for instance, we have altered every spot on earth, depriving nature of its independence, leaving "nothing but us" (p. 58). Stated differently, we have ended nature's separation from human society (p. 64).Because nature provides us with a sense of comfort, reading THE END OF NATURE is not a happy experience. McKibben has issued a wake-up call, and his book should be required reading for any global-warming skeptic, or for anyone who drives a SUV. As Thoreau said, we are living lives of quiet desparation--we enjoy the consumptive, easy life. However, as McKibben's compelling argument demonstrates, such a lifestyle is incompatible with the well being of our planet. He encourages us not only to change the way we act, but also to change the way we think by adopting the radical notion that we learn to respect nature "for its own sake," as a "realm beyond the human," and give it "room to recover" from the damage we have done (pp. 174-77). This book was a life changer that prompted me, in part, to move from the concrete, urban sprawl of Phoenix, Arizona to Boulder, where there is a respect for open space, and where it is still possible to have a humble relationship with nature.G. Merritt

Terrific Explanantion Of Forces Leading to Global Warming!

Anyone familiar with the author's other books on man and his fateful connection to the natural environment owe it to themselves to read this seminal offering first published over a decade ago when the phenomenon of global warming was a hotly argued and angrily debated issue. The publication of this new 10th anniversary edition arrives in a world in which most of the author's frightful prognostications regarding the negative consequences of the hotly-debated "Greenhouse Effect" issue of a decade ago have been proven to be accurate and true. If anything, McKibben's warnings were, in retrospect, conservative. For example, five of the ten warmest years on record have been in the last decade. Thus, "The End Of Nature " must be regarded as an intriguing book that comprehensively covers a critically important phenomenon; the massive intrusion of man, technology, and civilization into the natural order of the world's ecosystems to the point that we have ripped them asunder. While the Bushes and Gores fiddle away in their Washington offices, the forces of man are still engaged in such a maddening and suicidal plundering of the world's biological treasure house. The author's basic thesis, now well validated by over a decade of dramatically documented data regarding the globe's climate changes, is that though our massive intrusion into the delicate balance of gases, fluids, and temperature gradients so important in determining the world's weather patterns, we have altered and fragmented the earth's natural balance in an order of magnitude so large and so overwhelming that it has now permanently negated nature's capacity to operate autonomously, independently, and naturally. We have in essence replaced natural forces with our own efforts, and have now become the single most important and decisive element in climatic calculus that determines the weather. As a result, it is no longer possible to pretend that nature is something that just happens out there, and that we are merely subject to its forces and its whims. Instead, the author argues, it is human actions and human interference that now fatefully orients and influences the forces determining the weather. Yet, we live in a culture so embedded in patterns of denial about the effects of scientific and technological intrusion into the natural world that we seem to now regard the natural wilderness as mere grist for amusement parks. We seem so disconnected to nature or to its delicate balancing acts that we have no regard for the consequence of our continuing intrusions into its innermost workings. We seem to have forgotten our dependence on the elements of the natural world in order to survive, and consequently do not comprehend the disastrous consequences our massively ignorance, interference, and corruption of the natural world around us will likely bring. Instead, we worry about our stocks and mutual funds, ignoring the facts that the world's potable water is disappearing as the world's population incr

Please don't read this if you are clinically depressed.

Warning. If you truly believe that ignorance is bliss, stop now and do not buy this book. If however, you care at all about the planet, and/or you care for your children and the world they will inherit, you must read this book. This is the most frightening and depressing book I have ever read and in some ways I wish I had never read it. I spent the week after reading it in a deep funk and the camping trip I took the next weekend was tainted by the my new awareness of the wilderness that we have as a civilization already destroyed. The cause of enviromentalism has never seemed so desperate and hopeless to me, but now that McKibben has opened my eyes to the steep slope towards oblivion that we are on , it seems criminal not to try to stop our fall, at least for my childrens sakes. This book should be required reading for all candidates for public office and high school graduation. In the decade since its publication much of the environmental degradation predicted has already occured, some like the melting of the Antartic ice sheet and accelerating destruction of the ozone layer at the fastest predicted rate. I would be very interested to read an update detailing exactly how far this has deteriorated in the last decade. Something must be done! But what? We are living blissfully in ignorance while the very oceans, the atmosphere that protects us and the earth that sustains us are being destroyed at a rate that probably even with total cooperative world effort and prioritization, we could not stop.We're talking about mere decades here! But in the present political and social climate in the U.S.,can anyone imagine our environment becoming the national priority? So, I'm left with, What can I do. I guess that other than urging this book on all my friends,( one of whom a conservative who after borrowing it for the weekend chastised me, " Thanks for ruining my weekend and my trip to Mt. Rainier!"), this review is a meager start for me. Maybe a start for you is to READ THIS BOOK! If not, our civilizations epitaph, written on a scorched and sterile Venusion planet may read, "They had a last desperate chance, but they decided to stick their head in the sand."

An Important Book

Bill McKibbon's The End of Nature was first published in 1989. Had I read the book then, my reaction would have been diluted. Instead, after finishing the book in July of 2000, I am stunned by the accuracy of his analysis -- especially regarding the inescapable ramifications of human-induced environmental changes and the path being followed by designers and marketers of genetic engineering. Books that complement Bill's well-expressed thesis include Mander & Goldsmith's "The Case Against the Global Economy" and Winona Laduke's "All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life" and Jeremy Rifkin's "Entropy".

Eloquent, Beautiful, Shattering

If I could recommend only one book to family, friends and neighbors about the gathering environmental darkness, this would without question be it. The End of Nature, now about ten years old, was generally dismissed by the intelligensia, (notably Christopher Lasch of Harper's), who described it as a "tear-stained" work of "rural piety", not incidentally missing the point entirely. This is not a garden-variety work of environmental apocalypticism, though McKibben does allow that the odds in favor of just such an ecological and social collapse are pretty good. The "successful" alternative future he describes is equally, if not more horrible. If, by dint of technology and sheer ingenuity, we manage to avoid the consequences of the ongoing overshoot, what then? Imagine, if you can, a world in which we, our pets (and pests) and a carefully selected handful of bioengineered plants and animals live on, and in which almost everything else dies. Without wilderness, without even a semblance of connection to our origins, we probably could continue some form of human civilization. The question, however, is why, as individuals, we would want to. The groundwork for this sort of dessicated world is already well-laid, given our very American demands for paved roads and air conditioning everywhere we go, along with our ceaseless demands for more stuff - and make that bigger and cheaper, too. McKibben does harbor some optimism that we can choose to take a more difficult path. I only wish I could share that optimism. Read and remember this important book!

The End of Nature Mentions in Our Blog

The End of Nature in Celebrating Edward Abbey
Celebrating Edward Abbey
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • January 31, 2020

In celebration of Edward Abbey's birthday earlier this week, we are featuring a reading list of similar authors who came before and after him. More than just environmentalists, these activists raised clarion calls in defense of nature.

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