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Missy Walmer
Environmental Science
Dr. Urban
3 December 2015
Eaarth Writing Assignment
The book hits hard in the beginning with the argument that the world we once
knew, is no longer the world we know. Everything about the healthy Earth we used to live
in, is depleting at a fairly fast pace that is basically putting our future grandchildren at risk.
But its possible, that in the time given, it could be hitting generations before our
grandchildren. If efforts were put into effect on this given day, is would take centuries to
make change. And even then the damage that has been done is irreversible. Like McKibben
says, Were like the guy who ate steak for dinner every night and let his cholesterol top
300 and had the heart attack. Now he dines on Lipitor and walks on the treadmill, but half
his heart is dead tissue. Were like the guy who smoked for forty years and then he had a
stroke. He doesnt smoke anymore, but the left side of his body doesnt work either. No
matter what efforts the people of the world take, its nearly impossible to regain what
weve already lost and are continuing to lose. The idea is so scary, directors should forget
about zombies and vampires and focus on the actual fearful events taking part in our very
own lives today, thats something to cringe about.
The depletion of our once plentiful world is almost like a spiral of problems. Which
problem should be tackled first? Who should spend the money to put plans into action?
Will those efforts even be enough? Basically, the answers are unknown, such events have
never taken place before. Global warming, like McKibben says is just one big experiment,

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on a global scale, literally. The elements of our earth are changing and increasing in
problematic terms: air, fire, water, and earth. Our air is becoming too polluted, too many
parts per million of carbon. Fires are occurring more often and are more severe. Water has
a higher acidic level due to pollution and runoff along with a tremendous loss of the Arctic
ice cap. And as for earth, the rain forest is drying, cedars are disappearing, and other
natural habitats are becoming less and less frequent. So many scientists have made guesses
as to how much farther we can take it until we wont be able to continue any longer. But
with a situation that has never occurred before, how does one even decide?
Manifest Destiny. The philosophy of the U.S. that pretty much expressed
ideas of expansion by all means. All around the world, countries are constantly striving for
progression and growth. But just that one ideology might be something the world has to
tamper with, too much technology requires too much energy which then produces too
much pollution and negative side effect. McKibben puts it into retrospect comparing the
number of owners in America and China. If China owned as many as America, vehicles
owned on the planet would skyrocket from 800 million to 2 billion. That would create an
astronomical amount of more pollution, a higher need for energy, and just a bigger
ecological footprint. America does everything big the biggest economy, the biggest
military, the biggest Big Gulp soft-drinks-in-a-tub, the biggest budget and the biggest
debts, the biggest ecological footprint. Big isnt always better.
The cost of our actions is not cheap by any means. The rising water temperatures
make cyclones and hurricanes more likely to happen. Such events come at a great cost for
repair and rebuilding infrastructure. Chinas GDP was at an expense of five percent each
year from weather-related disasters. Estimates of $152.8 billion would be the cost of

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damage for another Katrina-strength storm. Costs of $1,164,566.77 for washed out roads
or $538 million for an elevated highway are for one-time occurrences, but theyre
becoming more frequent! McKibben throws out tons of numbers to the reader because
money is how people understand damage and risk and acts as a measurement of possibility.
Rising global temperatures have increased population sizes of disease carrying bugs
such as the Aedes aegypti a type of mosquito which carries a disease called dengue fever.
This fever has no vaccine or any real treatment and causes severe hemorrhages and the
sweats. They were able to live in water storages and in coconut shells. The warmth extends
the range in which they can live and it also reduces the size of Ae. aegypti larva and they
must feed more frequently. The dengue fever was also accompanied by a rise in malaria
outbreaks.
Believe it or not, along with the rise of the temperature, comes fighting and wars.
Darfur says, there are too many people in a hot, poor, shrinking land, and its not hard to
start a fight in a place like that. There have also been many wars over water because water
effects agriculture and food availability and access.
Embracing the local can create better relationships among people. Data has been
compared to describe people who shop in a grocery store or convenient store to those who
grocery shop at a farmers market. People at the farmers market had many more
conversations and interactions. Buying locally is more intriguing to help out local
businesses and dodge the risks of such places like Walmart. People communicate and trust
grows, theres a sense of community among people. Since our agriculture is suffering from
said conditions, serious minds have put thought into small-scale agriculture, alternative
agriculture, and farmer schools. Old and new ideas are mixed to elevate farming practices.

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There have also been land trusts which preserve unspoiled scenic views to eventually
give to farmers to use for agriculture. However, McKibben says the middle men have to be
eliminated from agriculture and livestock. The animals are crammed, unhappy, and by
estimates, as much as half of global warming gases can be tied to livestock industry,
however this could be improved if it were to be turned over to local farmers. Such variety
will help make crops sustainable and more efficient if pests or disease spread through.
Overall, McKibbens main idea is that things need to change in order to keep living
on Earth, or as he says our newfound, seemingly altered Eaarth. Growth and expansion,
what our economy has known all along, needs to transform into maintenance. He also
mentions how he has multiple works published but just because all of his pieces were
published in all the right places, didnt mean his voice would alter things and start the
crusade towards a better world. Instead, he had to make a difference and awaken some
other newfound activists and innocently lead the largest political rally based on global
warming. Its about time to start the rallies and demand change.
After reading McKibbens book, there are a few things I commend and a few I wish
he wouldve done differently. The analogies he makes to compare certain things are
phenomenal. They put into perspective the connections that most people dont make. For
example, the way he compares someone who has had a stroke but lives with only have a
living heart to the way were treating our planet is eye opening, and kind of scary. Its like
we have gone past the point of no return. If we were to do a complete 360 degree turn
around and do everything right we still wouldnt be able to gain back such a luscious
planet we once had. Theres no going back, not enough repair could be done.

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I wish McKibben would have made more of an emphasis on how rises in
population have a large impact on global warming and pollution. He mentioned every now
and then about the numbers of people and how educating women would hopefully decrease
births per woman. But while reading, I was waiting to be presented more facts and
numbers about how our population is rising. Our population is obviously greater than it has
ever been, so obviously thats going to directly effect the amount of carbon in the air,
amount of waste, amount of usage and energy demand, demand for space and food, etc.
Currently this year, our fall hasnt felt like fall, it was very mild. Reading this book
during a warm fall and having not seen snow and its not December makes all of these
disasters mentioned in the book seem extremely real. Im not sure if this is just occurring
for this year and happens every once in a while, or if progressively more and more fall and
winter seasons will be warmer and milder due to rising temperatures globally. Its freaky to
think that possibly in my lifetime people wont live the way they have for decades. The
focus might not be on growth and expansion anymore, but solely on trying to keep what
little we have left.
To think that when we talk about history we learn about how in ancient civilizations
humans would hunt with bows and arrows, gather berries, spend hours on prepping a meal
from that days kill smoked on a campfire, living such minimal lives. And now, we go to a
grocery store ten minutes down the road to pick from a selection of prepackaged chicken
leg, thigh, drum, or breast, we cook on a stove that heats up in seconds with a push of a
button, or a majority of the time get in our gas guzzling vehicles and arrive at a building
which spits out food through a window costing just a few pieces of paper. Could it be that
we arent succeeding, but actually receding and going backwards?

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Discussion Questions:
1. Do you think we should begin to worry about our population size globally and
ways on how to control it due to the effects?
2. Is it possible that weve become too advanced that its created a decline in our
success and worldly health?
3. Do you think that in our lifetime we will see an Eaarth almost no longer
inhabitable?