Literary Analysis Essay on Eaarth by Bill McKibben

Published: 2023-03-16
Literary Analysis Essay on Eaarth by Bill McKibben
Type of paper:  Book review
Categories:  Global warming American literature
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1899 words
16 min read


Bill McKibbenn is an American environmentalist who have chosen a rather creative manner to deliver awareness of the facts about the climate change being observed in a gradual manner, which is actually taking place with a fast pace. He is an enthusiastic, passionate individual who has a love of the environment and has dedicated his life to protecting it. In his newest book Eaarth, he provides a bold and a striking message on the dangers of climate change. He starts his book by reminding people of how the planet is beautiful and a perfect home for individuals to thrive, evolve, and grow. He then tries to persuade the readers about the substantial changes the earth has undertaken: the poles are melting, the temperature is rising, and the coral reefs are dying. Even the politicians are warning us about global warming.

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While the book provides a terrifying look at the damage that individuals have done to the planet, the author as well propose some of the things that must done in order to survive. He suggests that individuals reduce their consumption of everything from energy and fuel, to products that are imported from distant countries. Individuals must move in a direction that is more self-sustaining and less wasteful. In addition, they should be willing to step away from convenience and put forth some effort in caring for themselves as well as their society.


The book Eaarth by McKibben is divided into four chapters, all of which are important in understanding global warming. The first chapter, titled "A New World," describes the conditions people find themselves in today's world. The second chapter is called "High Tide" and tackles the most basic concepts of modernity, growth, and progress. This section brings together science and politics, thus providing an understanding of the political, economic situation in the world of the rich and emerging nations that will try to address climate change. In the third chapter, called "Backing Off," McKibben visualizes the world as being durable, and strong enough to support what we already have instead of reaching for economic growth. In the last chapter, McKibben lays out his vision for the future. He focuses on two big concepts, i.e., we should think small, and we have to adapt to this new planet.

In chapter one of this book, McKibben's explanation of why we should change earth from having either to A'S or to R'S or just changing the name entirely is to show us that even though we live on this so-called planet earth, it is all together and radically changed. The author has a specific reason as to why he adds another 'a' in the word earth, i.e., he deliberates that human beings are not living on the planet Earth (McKibben, 27). He continues to argue that individuals have oversaturated the planet with increased global warming as well as testing nuclear bombs. The pollution, along with the industrial wastes, has caused the ice-covered landfills of mountains to meltdown, and this has increased sea levels, thus leading to floods (McKibben, 27).

According to the author, individuals slowly recognize the detrimental effects they have caused to the ecosystem, and this has led them to distinguish the difference between earth and earth. They are, however, doing nothing to bring back the surface to where it is supposed to be, i.e., its previous position (McKibben, 27). For example, they have not stopped their destructive behaviors like misuse of energy and deforestation. One crucial point that the author makes in chapter one is that we need to start thinking about our grandchildren and start facing the problem. I believe this is a fundamental fact that we must face the problems now since we cannot keep on thinking about the future, yet we are not involved in the present. Individuals focus on the magnitudes of these problems rather than dealing with their roots. By focusing on what is happening rather than what will or may, the author forces the reader to understand the direness of the situation (McKibben, 27).

In chapter two of the book, the author goes on to explain how the earth will not be able to sustain the population as well as the economic growth around the world. For the past few years, the tremendous economic affluence has made the individuals desire more and more significant (McKibben and Schumann, 56). McKibben deems that if individuals continue taking advantage of the earth, then society will collapse eventually. Research shows that if the Chinese start owning cars the rate at which the Americans are holding, then the number of vehicles on earth is expected to rise from 800 million to two billion (McKibben and Schumann, 56). In short, what the author is trying to say is that if we want to prosper and fight global warming, we must strive so hard to make our economy more modest.

As McKibben argues, individuals have caused damages to the environment, some of which have initiated several problems that lead to a lack of basic human needs (McKibben, 28). For instance, the release of high carbon dioxide in the atmosphere brings about global warming, thus leading to low rainfall and, eventually, poor harvests (McKibben and Schumann, 57). Global warming as well causes floods, which in turn lead to the damage of infrastructure, and this brings about the high cost of living (McKibben and Schumann, 57). Indeed, global warming has caused significant changes in climate patterns as it makes the temperature of the earth to rise above the standard rate, and this poses a substantial threat to the environment. According to the author, individuals are responsible for global warming since they take part in activities such as combustion of fossil fuels, and this produces carbon, which causes global warming (McKibben, 28). The efforts to control global warming have proved to be unsuccessful, and this is as a result of industrialization. The situation has even worsened because the developing countries are trying to compete with the west by becoming industrialized, and this has further increased the release of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (McKibben, 28). Many countries have come up with measures aimed at reducing carbon print, but the efforts have failed.

In chapter three, the author states that in today's society, the giants, which are the businesses and the organizations, are too big to fail (McKibben, 49). For instance, he argues that giants like Citibank and AIG have come to the size where if they collapse, they will bring down the entire financial system. The big businesses that are too big to fail are a massive problem in our society, and they threaten the livelihoods of small businesses (McKibben and Schumann, 57).

In an attempt to protect the security of the society, McKibben suggests to back off on the giants and look at the smaller things. In other words, he wants people to support small local businesses and purchase locally grown products to be more economically and environmentally friendly. The author also suggests that people need to look at things on a smaller scale for the security of our society to be protected. To reduce the depletion of resources, individuals need to figure out how to reuse what they have rather than producing more materials (McKibben, 40). I support the author's idea of supporting local businesses instead of buying from big corporations. By doing this, we are not only supporting the growth of the local economy but also establishing relationships that are hard to exist between consumer and large corporations (McKibben, 40).

Finally, in the last chapter of the book, McKibben explains his vision for the future. He focuses on two main concepts, which include thinking small and coping with the new planet. He also lists many viable alternatives for the future, and one idea that he talks about is making use of human wastes to grow crops. According to him, this will help in reducing wastes as well as increasing the production of food. Another agricultural idea that McKibben mentions are communal and local farming practices. According to McKibben, individuals will be forced to eat local foodstuffs, as importing food from other countries will be hard. Early in this chapter, McKibben states, "the amount of individuals with too little to eat is now increasing" (McKibben, 44). Therefore, our system of agriculture needs to be changed.

Overall, going through the four chapters, I realize that the book is not only a good read but also an informative one. The author's main argument concerns how people has created a new planet out of the original planet earth. The creation of the idea of "earth" makes the reader realize the fundamental changes that are taking place. It informs the reader that the universe may begin looking like another planet, for instance, mars or that it might start viewing like a previous geological (McKibben, 41). This represents the most essential informative shift this book takes, and this makes the readers realize that these changes do not constitute a shift in the planet, but the creation of a new one, whose trials individuals will have to face (McKibben, 44).

The earth, unlike the original earth, has a rate of production that significantly surpasses the earth's holding capacity. McKibben is, therefore, worried about the size of the global economic growth rate as well as the predilection individuals have on positive economic development. According to McKibben, positive economic development happens when the total production in a country surpasses people's necessities. This, however, is not an accurate measure of productivity in a state or economic growth reason being, the economists, do not account for carbon dioxide emission. The author hence argues that the existing measures of economic development should be substituted with the standards that account for carbon productions (McKibben, 43). I think the cost of living will always increase because individuals are not concerned about the environment despite having positive economic growth. People will be forced to buy essential products such as food at higher prices while their countries have strong economies (McKibben, 43).

As it is, it appears that Bill McKibben accuse the prominent industries of the oil spills as well as the destruction of the marine life. There are many instances throughout the book that shows anguish concern against the multinational organizations. It is noted in the book that many oil businesses have marked increased returns within a short period. This signifies that they are more interested in making profits without having to consider the environment (McKibben, 43). From my observation after reading the book, McKibben's philosophy is not any different from that of other conservationists such as Edward Abby and John Muir. However, his approach is very useful as compared to others. If the pieces written by John Muir and Bill McKibben are to be compared, the readers can see that John has somewhat discussed the beautiful scenarios of the planet earth while McKibben illustrates the environment's changing aspects that will not allow the ideal situations to be seen by the future generations (McKibben, 43).


The author concludes that individuals should stop concentrating much on economic development, which is the main reason for ecological changes, according to him. He argues that the economies have been stripping off the natural resources from the planet to enhance their economic status. However, the new earth, according to McKibben, should involve staying in a world where the individuals are willing to live with less. Because individuals have less attachment to material things and are more attached to nature, this earth will always have many economic issues.

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