“Deep Future the Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth” by Curt Stager (Thomas Dunne, 2011)

Deep Future
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The only people who haven’t come to accept the fact that global warming and climate change is happening are those who are not facing reality, deluding themselves; and while many of us have ideas, thoughts and concepts of what climate change may bring over the next century, Deep Future goes one giant step further for Earth.  Curt Stager is an ecologist, paleoclimatologist and science journalist, who has written for National Geographic and Science magazine.  In Deep Future he goes into detail on what effect climate change will have on our planet not just over the hundred years, but over the next hundred thousand.

Stager makes clear two things early on in the book.  One is that the likelihood of the world falling into an ice age any time soon are pretty much impossible, as the required level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was far exceeded some time ago, regardless of whether the Gulf Stream stalls or not.  The other is that we are now living in a new age, which is coming to be known as the Anthropocene, better known as the Age of Humanity or the Age of Humans.  It is the age in which everything we have done and everything we do has a long-lasting effect on our planet.  Eleven detailed chapters with titles like: “Beyond Global Warming,” “Oceans of Acid,” “The Rising Tide,” and “An Ice-Free Arctic,” Stager doesn’t hold back in giving the grim news of the future of our planet.  The point that he makes clear is that this isn’t going to happen tomorrow; it’s going to take hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands of years.  We are also coming towards the end of our fossil fuels, meaning we will eventually not be able to continue heating up the planet any more.  A plateau will be reached in the far future, and then the earth will eventually return to normal in the very distant future.

While many of the devastating effects discussed in Deep Future will not come to fruition for a long time, they are nevertheless fascinating and disturbing to discover, and Stager is sure to keep readers informed of what they can do now to alleviate some of these seemingly inevitable events.

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Originally written on March 4, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.