A broken planet

The author, Bill McKibben is well known environmentalist and is founder of the environmental organization (350.org). He is widely regarded as the most vocal advocate of climate change and its consequences on future generations. In the past, he contributed towards global awareness of alerting about climate change. In the book, Falter, McKibben clearly emphasizes that we should not only save our planet from the vagaries of climate change but we should also save our soul.

The major concern for the author is that human civilization has reached a tipping point, where future of the humans seems to be bleak. The humans have been engaged in conquering the secrets of mother earth since industrial era, and now they are engaged in the mass scale destruction of the same. As per author, humans are approaching to a point, where it will be herculean task for them to regain the original status of the earth.

The writer of the book is of the argument that in majority of cases humans have failed to understand the repercussions of individual based actions that poses daunting challenges in future mitigation plans. McKibben further opines that humans now face three challenges: to adjust to a new life on a broken planet, to fight the hyper-individualism that now animates government and to reverse the ways that technology is bleaching out the variety of human existence. In general, the book is interesting and thoughtful that will greatly entice new knowledge to new comer in the field of environment and climate change. Furthermore, this book is useful and worth reading for general public who want to get firsthand information about deteriorating environmental condition.

Important Components of the book:

The author of the book, McKibben has divided his book entitled “Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?” into four parts. The part one of the book is named as ““The Size of the Board”, the part second as “Leverage”, the part third as “The Name of the Game” and the fourth part as “An Outside Chance.” In the beginning (i.e. in the part one), author gives broad information about various horrific disasters which are happening across the globe. The major idea seems to be the ‘idea of progress’ based on the fact that development is going on large pace without knowing that there are also negative consequences.

In the second part author seeks to explain the root cause of problems faced by world. According to him multinational companies (including Exxon and Shell) are posing great problems for our environmental. It is also an extended idea of Dr. Garret Hardin which he advocated in his article titled “Tragedy of Commons”. Dr. Hardin thoroughly explains the exploitation of common resources (for example open ocean, forest etc.) by governments (developed countries) for their selfish desires. The part two of the book can be considered as “Leverage”. In the third part, author finely explains two technological breakthrough phenomena that open possibilities for the future of humanity that are deeply problematic. In my opinion, author uniquely explains various aspects of climate crisis presently faced by us. He also criticized climate skeptics for their role of not advocating ill effects of fossil fuels on our climate.

Criticism of the book: Major criticism of the book is that author does not explain exact cause of present crisis, and further there is least structural analysis of capitalism. The author does not explain the effect of global capitalism that has also led to deterioration of environment. Furthermore, there is no mention of various societal changes and culture on various aspects of the climatic crisis. The author does seem to explain the problems faced by the developing and underdeveloped countries, but still holds them equally responsible for the present crisis.

The author provides interesting and valuable details and insights into various aspects of global climate crisis, but there is hardly any substantial tools in the book which can be useful for the mitigation of the crisis.

Dr. Ummer Rashid Zargar is Assistant Professor, Department of Zoology, Govt. Degree College Anantnag,