Cover image for Falter : has the human game begun to play itself out? / Bill McKibben.
Title:
Falter : has the human game begun to play itself out? / Bill McKibben.
ISBN:
9781250178268
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt and Company : distributed in Canada by Raincoast, 2019.
Physical Description:
291 pages ; 24 cm
Contents:
An opening note on hope -- The size of the board -- Leverage -- The name of the game -- An outside chance -- Epilogue : grounded.
Abstract:
Thirty years ago Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about climate change. Now he broadens the warning: the entire human game, he suggests, has begun to play itself out. Bill McKibben's groundbreaking book The End of Nature -- issued in dozens of languages and long regarded as a classic -- was the first book to alert us to global warming. But the danger is broader than that: even as climate change shrinks the space where our civilization can exist, new technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics threaten to bleach away the variety of human experience. Falter tells the story of these converging trends and of the ideological fervor that keeps us from bringing them under control. And then, drawing on McKibben's experience in building 350.org, the first truly global citizens movement to combat climate change, it offers some possible ways out of the trap. We're at a bleak moment in human history -- and we'll either confront that bleakness or watch the civilization our forebears built slip away. Falter is a powerful and sobering call to arms, to save not only our planet but also our humanity.
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Summary

Summary

Thirty years ago Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about climate change. Now he broadens the warning: the entire human game, he suggests, has begun to play itself out.

Bill McKibben's groundbreaking book The End of Nature -- issued in dozens of languages and long regarded as a classic -- was the first book to alert us to global warming. But the danger is broader than that: even as climate change shrinks the space where our civilization can exist, new technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics threaten to bleach away the variety of human experience.

Falter tells the story of these converging trends and of the ideological fervor that keeps us from bringing them under control. And then, drawing on McKibben's experience in building 350.org, the first truly global citizens movement to combat climate change, it offers some possible ways out of the trap. We're at a bleak moment in human history -- and we'll either confront that bleakness or watch the civilization our forebears built slip away.

Falter is a powerful and sobering call to arms, to save not only our planet but also our humanity.


Author Notes

Bill McKibben grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts. He was president of the Harvard Crimson newspaper in college. Immediately after college he joined the New Yorker magazine as a staff writer, and wrote much of the "Talk of the Town" column from 1982 to early 1987. After quitting this job, he soon moved to the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.

His first book, The End of Nature, was published in 1989 by Random House after being serialized in the New Yorker. It is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has been printed in more than 20 languages. Several editions have come out in the United States, including an updated version published in 2006.

His next book, The Age of Missing Information, was published in 1992. It is an account of an experiment: McKibben collected everything that came across the 100 channels of cable tv on the Fairfax, Virginia system (at the time among the nation's largest) for a single day. He spent a year watching the 2,400 hours of videotape, and then compared it to a day spent on the mountaintop near his home. This book has been widely used in colleges and high schools, and was reissued in 2006. McKibben's latest book is entitled, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.

Bill currently resides with his wife, writer Sue Halpern, and his daughter, Sophie in Ripton, Vermont. He is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College. 030 (Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Three decades after bringing news of climate change to a broad audience with the book The End of Nature, environmental scholar McKibben once again examines the impact of global warming in unsettling look at the prospects for human survival. He notes at the outset that, as a writer, he owes his readers honesty, not hope, of which there's little to be found. McKibben does find cause for optimism in two human "technologies" or innovations-nonviolent protests and solar panels-"that could prove decisive if fully employed." But he suspects that humanity won't do so. He also examines how Ayn Rand's outsize influence prevented American government from effectively responding to global warming and how Exxon concealed its own researchers' findings about the threat. His analysis factors in two other developments, in addition to global warming, as causes for worry. Unregulated artificial intelligence could lead to self-improving AI which would "soon outstrip our ability to control it," and which might eventually deem human life unnecessary. Meanwhile, advances in bioengineering have brought new plausibility to seemingly fantastic concepts such as designer children and even immortality; McKibben makes clear that such "progress" would radically change what it means to be human. Readers open to inconvenient and sobering truths will find much to digest in McKibben's eloquently unsparing treatise. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

McKibben (environmental studies, Middlebury Coll.; The End of Nature) continues his decades-long exposition of the ever-increasing dangers of climate change as well as considers how artificial intelligence may threaten our future. The author combines these two threads to warn that humans may be reaching the end of their "game" on earth. He first presents a data-rich examination of the implications of rising global temperatures, then turns his attention to the ideas that have led to our current economic inequality, specifically, the libertarian ideas of Ayn Rand that have influenced many politicians and most entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. He also discusses the new frontier of gene editing and its implications for combatting disease, but also for creating designer babies, which could increase societal inequality. After discussing new trends in space exploration, he notes that no planet has the benefits we should hope to -salvage here on earth, presenting a sobering case for hope and a plan of action that focuses on nonviolent resistance and solar panels. Absorbing and gracefully written, this work will leave readers with much to consider. VERDICT Highly recommended for thoughtful audiences with a concern for life on our planet.-Caren Nichter, Univ. of -Tennessee at Martin © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

An Opening Note on Hopep. 1
Part 1 The Size of the Boardp. 5
Part 2 Leveragep. 81
Part 3 The Name of the Gamep. 131
Part 4 An Outside Chancep. 189
Epilogue: Groundedp. 245
Notesp. 257
Acknowledgmentsp. 279
Indexp. 281