Bill McKibben:

How and to what extent have humans become a driving factor in ecological changes worldwide; such as altering the air or the pH of the oceans?


McKibben's points

"In very large measure, our helplessness is a problem of affluence…. our sense of entitlement is almost impossible to shake. That is why the energy crisis was so interesting: for a brief moment, it actually unnerved us."

pp. 197-198.


"As a result of this reversion to form, the federal government that fall [1988] decided to relax fuel-economy laws."


" 'Human beings are now carrying out a large-scale geophysical experiment of a kind that could not have happened in the past, nor be repeated in the future,' they wrote. . . . if adequately documented, may yield a far reaching insight into the processes determining weather and climate."

Roger Revelle and Hans Seuss, (1957) in McKibben. p. 10.

"The story of the end of nature really begins with that greenhouse experiment, with what will happen to the weather."


"A clean-burning engine. . . .It will emit about 5.6 pounds of carbon in the form of carbon dioxide for every gallon of gas it consumes."

p. 11.

"A little bit of greenhouse is a good thing, then–the plant that is life thrives in its warmth."





physical facts are almost as stubborn as the chemistry of infrared absorption. They mean that the world will use more energy -- between 2 and 3 percent more each year by most estimates."

p. 13

"In other words, this is not something that has been happening for a long time.... Its a hundred yard dash, drag race, getting faster all the time."

p. 13

The Defiant Reflex

"The size and complexity of the industrial system we've built makes even the most obvious and immediate changes physically difficult."

p. 143.

How can we educate people to be happier when “doing with enough?”


"We can have big wilderness, and we can reintroduce extirpated species, but unless the fact that there are way too many people on the earth is dealt with, unless humans can find their way home again, then the problems will continue."

Dave Foreman, p. 181.

What the End of Nature means is that

    1. you count
    2. your behavior matters
    3. it is human to care for others

You count because of these laws:

Laws of Ecology


Summarize the main points of the three authors; Margulis, Williams, Nash.

How do we effectively allow people to heal and repair environmental damage?


Examining our dependence on automation and industrialization.

Acid rain is due to high sulfur coal emissions.

Gasoline for cars and transportation is a long term threat.

Deforestation is so widespread that wood shortages will occur by 2010-2020.

Energy efficiency needs to be encouraged.

Location efficient design is a serious approach to follow.

Urban reforestation must be a priority, People and Trees projects.

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