By Bill McKibben
Times Books; 272 pages
Bill McKibben may be the world's best green journalist, but even he wishes the climate-change skeptics were right. That would mean we weren't headed for a warmer planet--one that McKibben calls Eaarth (the extra a is for extra awful)--that will be profoundly more difficult to live on. But our fate is sealed: "Global warming is no longer a philosophical threat, no longer a future threat, no longer a threat at all. It's our reality." McKibben backs up his claim with page after page detailing the impact that global warming has already had, from the fast-melting Arctic to the expanding tropics. Eventually the litany becomes numbing, but that's McKibben's goal--to wear you down with facts until the full force of what we've done to the planet becomes unmistakable. What really sets Eaarth apart from other green books is McKibben's prescription for survival. This won't be just a matter of replacing a few lightbulbs; McKibben is calling for a more local existence lived "lightly, carefully, gently." It's a future unimaginable to most of us--but it may be the only way to survive.