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Earth: Describing a Fundamentally Changed Planet - Essay Example

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Your Name Prof’s Name Date Eaarth: Describing a Fundamentally Changed Planet There has been a recent proliferation of books about the terrible state of the planet, and they all contain the same doom and gloom message, using the same techniques…
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Earth: Describing a Fundamentally Changed Planet
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Download file to see previous pages This new planet, Eaarth, is different from the ones humans have known in a wide variety of ways, and McKibben makes it his task to describe what we will expect from our new planet, and how it will be to live on it. Eaarth achieves its pedagogical aims in several important ways. Firstly, McKibben coined the term “Eaath” to emphasize that these changes are fundamental and constitute a shift into a palpably different planet, secondly, he focuses more on the current situation of “Eaarth,” which we clearly understand rather than mentioning possible future events, and thirdly, he uses the concept of Eaarth to describe the changes of lifestyle that will necessarily occur. One of the most important ideas McKibben uses is the idea that the planet we knew has gone, which he emphasizes through the creation of a name for our new planet, “Eaarth” (McKibben 2). This makes the reader connect to the fundamental changes that are taking place, and understand the order of magnitude they represent. It is easy to shrug off some of the statistics he uses – like the fact that the polar ice caps are receding at unprecedented rates, and that there is now “twenty two percent less polar ice than has ever been observed before” (4). But we do not care about the polar ice caps, by and large, nor do we care about an increase in thunderstorms (3). But the creation of the idea of “Eaarth” makes the reader realize fundamental shifts are taking place. It tells the reader that Earth may start looking like another planet, Mars, for instance, or that it might start looking like a previous geological age – the Triassic or the age of pangea. This represents the most fundamental pedagogical shift this book takes, making the reader realize that these changes do not represent a shift in the planet, but the creation of a new one, whose trials we will have to face. The second way that McKibben uses the concept of a changed, new planet is through, unlike many other environmental books, focusing on the changes that have already happened, to inform the reader that we are currently living on Eaarth, that this is not a change that will happen in the future, but rather a reality we are living now. He tells the reader, for instance, that rivers “are” drying up, rather than “will dry up more later,” and that the amount of water flowing into the Pacific Ocean has already decreaced by an amount equaling the volume of the Mississipi (6). This concetration on the current state of affairs continues throughout the book, including analysis of people’s current psychological states. He outlines the current mindset of the constant need for economic growth (48), for instance, as being responsible for both the current state of the planet and the fact that it continues to degrade. By focusing on what is happening rather than what will or may, McKibben forces the reader to understand the direness of the situation. Finally, McKibben makes the realities of Eaarth real for his readers by outlining what these changes will mean for lifestyle in the world. He describes the current lifestyle developed countries lead as being solely the consequence of an explosion of hydrocarbon use which will not be able to continue into the future (123). Food production, for instance, has so poorly kept up with population growth that the amount of food stored in silos can only feed the planet for “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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