The Future Earth: A Radical Vision for What's Possible in the Age of Warming Paperback – 6 August 2020
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About the Author
Eric Holthaus is the leading journalist on all things weather and climate change. He has written regularly for the Wall Street Journal, Slate, Grist, and The Correspondent, where he currently covers our interconnected relationship with the climate. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Part 2 concerns me a little. It uses an imaginary timeline to illustrate possible actions and proposed solutions. My concern is that mixing science with an imaginary timeline may confuse the proposed solutions and their consequences based on the assumptions about what will happen when. The science is clear on what will happen, the timing is much harder to predict. Consider that Arctic warming is happening much faster than predicted just a few years ago.
When reading this fictional scenario, keep in mind that it may not happen this way or when suggested. However there are many excellent actions suggested in the scenario. Sometimes the author makes it clear that a solution is being proposed, other times it’s hard to separate the fictional narrative from the proposed solution.
The Epilogue in Part 2 is an excellent place to explore possible actions that can happen now and guidance on how to cope with the reality and change your way of life with climate change in mind. This is an important chapter.
My concern is that the global economic impacts of climate change must be experienced before we are convinced to demand a fundamental change of our socio-economic way of life. The author believes this can happen in time; I’m not so sure.
I've been aware of climate change and taking action to reduce emissions since 2008. I'm part of multiple organizations focused on limiting climate disruption and have also greatly transformed my personal life over the past 12 years. It is not often that I read something related to climate emergency that shifts, or expands my understanding. This book impacted me deeply. I knew that life is going to be different when I'm older no matter whether we as humans make the changes necessary to limit warming to 1.5C of warming or not but I had not fully let it really sink in. This book made it glaring clear for the first time, just how much and how rapidly everything is going to change.
I've read the Unhabitable Earth and The Future We Choose and have heard what will happen if we continue on the path we are currently on but actually going through the decades a few years at a time was different.
I know how important it is for us to act now and to make far-reaching changes to our society and I am so anxious for this massive undertaking to really begin. I am spending the majority of my free time trying to figure out how I personally can help drive this change to happen as soon as possible.
Thank you Eric for this motivating book! I am starting a book study of it at work and in one of the environmental organizations I am a member of. My coworkers are very excited about a climate change book that gives hope.
In part one of the book, Holthaus describes the “living emergency” of climate change, weaving together (1) a clear and sobering picture of the science of climate change, and (2) inspiring stories about courageous individuals on the front lines of the climate emergency. My favorite story was about his visit from the remarkable young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. Greta and her father Svante stayed overnight at the author’s home while they were traveling around the United States and Greta was speaking and meeting with other climate activists. After a night’s rest and breakfast, Greta, her father, Holthaus, and his young sons went for a walk and chat in his neighborhood. Holthaus was deeply moved by her moral clarity, sense of urgency, and her “clear vision of a world that’s not just survivable but thriving” (p. 39).
Part two is a set of three decade-by-decade scenarios that together describe a hopeful climate future and how we could actually get there. The scenarios are: (1) 2020-2030: Catastrophic Success, (2) 2030-2040: Radical Stewardship, and (3) 2040-2050: New Technologies and New Spiritualities. Holthaus uses a technique similar to one often used by futurists and strategic planners, starting with a preferred future in mind—a vision of what we aspire to and want to achieve—and identifying actions over time needed to succeed. Using this approach, he draws us into a positive future and demonstrates that transformational change is possible.
Unlike almost all other books about climate change, “The Future Earth” covers both the dire seriousness of the crisis and realistic grounds for hope. It is an audacious vision of a positive future.