An academic summary of the book Eaarth by Bill McKibben.
The chapter starts out by explaining that on a new planet that “growth may be the one big habit we finally must break.” Growth has been a fundamental trend in the United States in the last few decades. McKibben gives a hypothetical image of growth to blow the reader away with the quote, “if the Chinese, say, ever owned cars at the same rate as Americans, the number of vehicles on the planet would go from 800 million to almost 2 billion.” The current economy on earth is tailored for expansion and in the process has caused great debt to the country as a whole. Individual lives have also been ruined because of the economy. The major problem however lies in the fact that our economic decisions have destroyed the planet on which we live on and just recently the world’s stance is to invest money on making our economy ecologically sustainable. Green techonogy is the obvious future for the human race. Thomas Friedman from the New York Times states, ““We don’t just need a bailout. We need a reboot. We need a build out. We need a buildup. We need a national makeover.” What he is trying to say is that our fundamental values- the building blocks of our economy need to be reconsidered with the environment (long term) in mind. It was intriguing to me how McKibben described money on a new planet. “Money, in our system, equals information. It’s how we understand risk; it’s how we measure possibility; it’s the only gauge we have for understanding our collective future. If you have a lot of money, you have a lot of options, and if you don’t have much, your options narrow. On this new planet we’ll have less money than we thought we would, and hence fewer choices.” He then goes on to talk about how when the oil prices rose in 2008, the cost of pavement skyrocketed. It made me relate to our discussion in class on how money isn’t “real.” The amount of materials and information that is available equals true power. The Chapter ends with the statement “The rest of this book will be devoted to another possibility—that we might choose instead to try to manage our descent. That we might aim for a relatively graceful decline.” This stimulated my thinking and really made me wonder what the future may hold for Earth, and future planet. It is up to our generation to incite change and tweak the current institutions to move towards a more sustainable planet.