The Inevitable (The Apocalyptic Truth Book 2)
Craig Childs walking on the desert or climbing a mountain is like a gourmand at a sumptuous feast: You just want to turn over that rock he sees, move dust to expose an ancient artifact, or scale the cave wall in front of him. Childs delights in the details of the rock, sand, and ice, and in them he finds stories as large as the planet itself. In his hands, the main casualty of apocalypse is our familiar view of Earth: Apocalyptic Planet is lyrical, informative, and full of surprises. Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. Science Specialty Travel Category: About Apocalyptic Planet The earth has died many times, and it always comes back looking different.
Also by Craig Childs. Inspired by Your Browsing History. The Mind of God. Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang. You Are the Universe. Daniel Goleman and Richard J.
Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Ever-Ending Earth
Ottmar Ette and Julia Maier. Women in Science Puzzle. How to Cuss in Western. The World in a Grain. Through Two Doors at Once. The Secret Language of Anatomy. How Soon is Now? At Least Know This. A Handful of Happiness. Antonella Tomaselli and Massimo Vacchetta. The Darker the Night, the Brighter the Stars. The Promise of the Grand Canyon.
The Birds and the Beasts Were There: The Pocket Atlas of Human Anatomy. Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? The Little Book of Knowledge: Staring out at the madness of snow and ice and nothing else but the horizon. We are reminded that our core is molten, radiation dense, overlain with tectonic plates that grind against each other and raise mountains and eat CO2 levels, create glaciers.
And heal from cataclysmic assaults like the Late Heavy Bombardment. Childs writes with crystalline clarity and dreamlike bonding both; a poet explorer, a compelling literary combination of insanity and nirvana. I am humbled and awed, by the writing, the adventure and the awesome power of earth and its place in the galaxy. And will go on, even when I can no longer read about it. View all 4 comments. Apr 27, Larry Bassett rated it liked it Shelves: I'm stretching it a little bit to give this book 3 stars. It does have some parts that are pretty fascinating and the author seems to know a lot about a lot of somewhat odd things.
I have written notes about each chapter so I'm not going to be repetitious in this review. The guy writes well. Is this a travelog? He did occasionally make me want to get off my butt and go out and see the world again. He reminded me of some of the places in the world that I I'm stretching it a little bit to give this book 3 stars. He reminded me of some of the places in the world that I have actually been at some point in my life and that was nice.
But what I mostly got out of this book was the realization that all of the things that threaten the earth like mostly what we hear about these days is climate change all of these things May very likely end life on earth but it is most likely that the earth itself will go on as it has for billions of years and many many changes some of which have been extraordinarily dramatic.
For some strange reason I find that fact to be an enjoyable realization. The closest timeframe that the author suggests for the end of human life is to 10, years if we manage to melt all the ice. So I guess if you are reading this you can rest easy. Oct 17, Tina Cipolla rated it it was amazing.
The fact that I went to see this author do a reading certainly adds to my experience of this book, but even if I were to ignore Child's excellent presentation, this book still gets 5 stars from me. The story of the Everending Earth, Craig Childs looks at a series of planetary end scenarios. Each frightening and fascinating and most are events that have already happened on this planet at some point--asteroid strikes, super volcanos and the like. He describes the end scenari The fact that I went to see this author do a reading certainly adds to my experience of this book, but even if I were to ignore Child's excellent presentation, this book still gets 5 stars from me.
He goes to the Atacama, the Greenland ice sheet, the retreating glaciers of the Patagonia, the corn fields of Iowa, the lava fields in Hawaii, the mountains of Tibet you get the idea and from these locations he discusses possible end scenarios for our species. I recommend this book for geology nerds of all stripes, environmentally concerned, preppers you will quickly come to see how inadequate your prepping is , and anyone interested in natural history. Nov 06, Jennifer rated it really liked it Shelves: I think the thing that pushed this book to a four star rating for me was the really unique way in which the author juxtaposed his musings on the upheavals that could end our civilization with descriptions of his travels in environments that mimic these upheavals on a smaller scale--the monoculture of a large Iowa farm, the tectonic majesty of a Tibetan river gorge, the blank ice fields of Greenland.
It gave his work an immediacy that others lack. Jun 25, Lizzy Lessard rated it it was ok Shelves: More of a memoir of the author trying to envision life in various apocalyptic events than a "what if" type of book. Personally, I was expecting more facts and less personal history. Oct 02, Kathy rated it liked it. Mar 25, Richard Reese rated it really liked it. Craig Childs is a nature writer and globetrotting adventure hog. The jungle drums are pounding out a growing stream of warnings — attention! The Christian currents in our culture encourage us to perceive time as being something like a drag strip.
At one end is the starting line creation , and at the other end is the finish line judgment day. In his book Apocalyptic Planet, he gives readers a helpful primer on eco-catastrophe. Out of the pile of planetary disasters, he selects nine examples, travels to locations that illustrate each one, and then spins stories. Each tale cuts back and forth between his adventures at the site, and background information from assorted sources.
Deserts are a quarter of all land, and many are growing now. History tells us that they can expand and contract rapidly, taking out societies in the process. Four out of ten people live in regions prone to drying up. New Mexico once experienced a drought that lasted 1, years. Beneath the driest regions of the Sahara, pollen samples indicate that the land was once tropical savannah and woodlands.
A few years ago, Atlanta, Georgia not an arid region came close to draining its water supply during a long drought. Glaciers are melting at rate that alarms people who think. Childs visited the Northern Patagonia Ice Field, where hunks the size of buildings were crashing down off the edge of the dying glacier. Enormous volumes of melt water are raising the global sea level.
He also visited the Bering Sea, where the old land bridge is now feet m underwater. Beringia was once a broad treeless steppe, home to an amazing community of megafauna. If climate change eliminates all ice, the seas could rise another feet 36 m or so, and major rivers will run dry from lack of melt water. About 40 percent of humankind resides near coasts. Nobody knows how fast the seas will rise, or how much. The planet has been smacked countless times by asteroids.
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Many believe that the dinosaur era was terminated by the Chicxubal impact on the Yucatan Peninsula. There are many, many objects zooming around in space that could hit us, but Childs recommends that our time would be better spent worrying about catastrophic volcanic eruptions. There are daily eruptions from active volcanoes. Extreme eruptions have loaded the atmosphere with dust, blocking out sunlight, leading to winters that lasted for years. Humankind once had a close call with extinction when Mount Toba erupted 73, years ago.
As glaciers melt and dam reservoirs evaporate, there will be less weight on the land below, allowing it to rise. Tectonic shifts can lead to earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and altered ocean currents and weather patterns. All civilizations are temporary outbursts of overbreeding and harmful lifestyles.
On a visit to Mayan ruins in Guatemala, Childs discussed their collapse, the result of a combination of factors.
The Invisible Writing
Estimates usually range between million and 15 billion, as if there is one correct answer. Ocean acidification, chronic overfishing, and other harms have sharply reduced the vitality of marine ecosystems. Chronic forest mining, soil mining, and industrialization have sharply reduced the vitality of terrestrial ecosystems. Climate change is likely to reduce it further still, as large numbers of plant and animal species go extinct. There have been five mass extinction events in ages past, and we are now in the sixth.
Childs takes us on an amusing visit to the site of a catastrophic mass extinction, the state of Iowa, where 90 percent of the ecosystem has been reduced to agriculture. He and a buddy spent two days hiking through fields, dwarfed by tall stalks of corn maize , during a week of blast furnace heat. They were looking for signs of life besides corn, and they found almost none. The ecosystem was once home to species of plants, 60 mammals, birds, and over 1, insects. Yeast devours sugar and converts it into alcohol and carbon dioxide. When yeast are added to a vat of freshly pressed grape juice, they plunge into a sweet paradise, and promptly produce a bubbly population explosion.
The alcohol in the vat will keep increasing until it reaches toxic levels, at which point the yeast experience a mass extinction event, the tragic consequence of living in an artificial environment constructed by thirsty alcoholics. Childs believes that civilization and human domination of the planet waited until recently because we thrive in warm weather. Humans evolved in a tropical climate. Eventually, we migrated into non-tropical climates, and developed the skills and technology necessary for surviving in chilly weather, but the ice ages were a time of struggle, not a sweet paradise.
Then, a freak thing happened. The weather got warm, and stayed warm, for 10, years. Suddenly, we were like yeast in grape juice. The pound gorilla in this book is climate change, and concern about the decades that lie before us. Childs cites the views of a number of scientists, and they are all over the place. A loose cannon at the EPA says that global warming is a hoax, but the others agree that the climate is warming, and humans are the primary culprits. Others think that if emissions are reduced, disaster might be avoided.
Another says that humankind will be gone in years.
Huge temperature swings lead to extinctions, but life on Earth has persisted. The current jump in temperature is unlike the previous ones in that it is the outcome of human activities. It is the result of a unique combination of factors, with no historical precedent. Humans are unique in being able to adapt to a wide variety of ecosystems, but ecosystems are far less adaptable to sudden climate shifts.
Agriculture is on thin ice, as are seven billion people. Rial understands that nature is highly unstable, and quite capable of rapid and unpredictable changes. May 17, Rana rated it did not like it Shelves: Just not the book I thought it was. Very little travel and a whole lot of whining about how the ice is melting. I mean, don't get me wrong. Climate change is bad. Ice caps melting is bad.
List of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction - Wikipedia
There is just so much white-man ethos here, like weird references to people on his glacier tours having sex and native girls wearing gang tshirts. Aug 04, Mark rated it liked it. I'm not sure what I expected from this book or this author. I'd never read anything by Childs before but had heard him on NPR in a background sort of way and recalled, vaguely, liking what I heard.
I'm also planning a Big Trip by bicycle that includes parts of the desert southwest and his name came up in relation to those-who-write-about-the-desert and I thought I'd give him a go.
First, let me speak to the things I did NOT enjoy about his work. Why are we treated to "sex on ice" not once but twic I'm not sure what I expected from this book or this author. Why are we treated to "sex on ice" not once but twice? I'm not a prude, far from it, but if I wanted to read about sex on a melting glacier I would look for a book that had that sort of thing as a major current throughout the work. There may be a market for such a thing and I may well take a thrust at writing it, pun intended. What did this sly wink at sex on ice tell me?
Well, 1 it's cold; 2 it's slippery, and; 3 it's wet, and not in a good way. Come to think of it, we get "sex on ice" three times, as the author specifically thanks the manufacturer of the crampons the little fuckers wore while learning those three points above. Okay, I get it. I don't care to know unless you spend a little or a lot more time on telling me about it.
And drop the pretense of the "apocalyptic planet" while you're at it. Or do a better job of working that into the story. Better yet, leave it out and write a different book about sex in extreme climatological settings. Just add a comma and ". The first time I ran across this it was as if I had actually run across it, as in barefoot across glass.
Distracting and a bit painful. When it kept happening it actually hurt as I found myself gritting my teeth. The final distraction was the overall tone of the work. The earth has gone through a number of mass extinctions, major geological changes, and death by global, icy, grip. We just happen to be here, sentient beings that we are, for this round of destruction. On the one hand I can see this. Sure, why get excited about the utter destruction of the surface of the planet?
Given enough time, the whole thing is going to vaporize as our star morphs into a red giant followed by a nova.
Just lie on the floor and remain calm. Maintain a "geological time-set" and don't worry about the next years. Who cares if the whole planet becomes some kind of uninhabitable rock, whether that uninhabitability be due to ice or heat or lack of water or asteroid impact or volcanism or. Sorry, but I'm still vested in my ego-driven view of existence and it bothers me that we're likely doomed whether that means tomorrow or a century from now. I find it hard to see the writing on the wall and just shrug. Whether it's a Mexican desert or an Arctic island or a blasted, lava-covered landscape, Childs really puts you there with him.
Zombie Apocalypse! Fightback
It's not so much an attempt to describe the fine details of a place as it is capturing the feel of it, even - in the case of the Atacama - the taste of it. He also does a fine job when it comes to the people around him. To my surprise he does an excellent job putting those two things together - the place and the people in it.
He does, however, sometimes go a little overboard as above with "sex on ice" but usually not TOO far overboard. I learned a great deal without either having the information spoon fed to me or being patronized. That in itself is a grand accomplishment. All in all I'd say "Apocalyptic Planet" is worth reading. Mar 02, Dave rated it it was ok. I think most people would probably like this more than I did. To me the whole idea of visiting the most inhospitable regions of the earth to visualize this planet's potential apocalyptic scenarios just felt like kind of a pointless gimmick, almost like he was just looking for a way to justify travelling to a bunch of unique locations.
I really wasn't too interested in his personal adventure stories or in his clever metaphors for sunrises and flowers and shit. This is one of those books where the I think most people would probably like this more than I did. This is one of those books where the facts and statistics are strongly diluted with this stuff. Not what I'm into, but again I think this style is probably closer to what normal people prefer to read.
At first I was a little worried that this guy was pushing the idea that since mass extinctions and climatic shifts happened naturally there's no reason for people to worry about their impact on the planet. Thankfully though that's not his position. It actually kind of reminded me of reading Christopher Boehm's books on egalitarianism a while ago, seeming to word his arguments in ways that would trick Ayn Randish right-wingers into reading it and realizing how insane they are. For those of you who aren't familiar with Boehm's work, he presented egalitarianism as a "reverse hierarchy", which, although not how I would describe it, at least does get the attention of people stupid enough to think the rich are the ones being victimized.
His view was more like yeah, humans generally work together to keep bullies from dominating the group they live with BUT that's not a bad thing. Craig Childs seems to be trying to attract those who blame volcanoes and solar flares for the disturbing trends in climate. In his case it's more like yeah, volcanic eruptions and many other natural phenomena do cause significant changes BUT our behavior has made things much more precarious, to the point where natural occurrences that otherwise wouldn't cause much damage could now be the straw that breaks the camel's back, and what would generally take thousands of years is now taking only decades.
So he does get it. My biggest issue with this is just the lack of solutions. I mean, there are so many of these books out there right now, almost every single one endorsed by Bill McKibben, that have absolutely nothing to say about fixing anything. Human beings have known about passive solar houses, permaculture, the problems with infinite growth and planned obsolescence, and everything else for decades already.
Yet even people who say they care about these problems are still building the same stupid "traditional" house designs, riding their stupid lawnmowers around, driving 30 minutes to buy their plastic-wrapped "food" from Walmart, and they think it's fine as long as the big screen TV is powered by solar panels and the car gets good gas mileage.
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And they believe that because it's basically what mainstream environmentalists are telling them. I'm sick of it! Having some good things to say about nature and science really doesn't make up for the lack of useful information. Aug 02, Jason rated it really liked it Shelves: He has a way of telling stories that are so captivating that you can't put the book down until you're done.