Human Volcano: Population Growth as Geologic Force

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Environmentally speaking, we have met the enemy, and he is us. Though the biosphere has never been more diverse, species are disappearing far faster than the natural rate of extinction. In this latest volume in the acclaimed Changing Earth series, John Erickson tackles the sticky issue of human impact on the environment, likening the effects of population growth to a volcanic eruption - quick, far-reaching, and incredibly powerful. Beginning with the origins and evolution of Homo sapiens, Erickson traces humankind's tremendous expansion and the subsequent strains placed on the environment. Chapters examine global pollution, resource depletion, climatic change, agricultural "carrying capacity," habitat destruction, and the recurring problem of overcrowding. Along the way, Erickson weaves in a discussion of the Earth's necessary - and fragile - natural cycles, and how these are affected by human tinkering, as well as an overview of the five major historic extinctions, touching upon present-day disappearances in the biosphere and focusing on the likelihood of a modern mass extinction. Recommendations for offsetting the already tremendous damage are provided, too. Like earlier volumes in the series, The Human Volcano is amply illustrated and supported by an extensive glossary and chapter-by-chapter bibliography. A complete index and several tables provide quick access to the information. Never before in the Earth's history have so few put so many in jeopardy. Read The Human Volcano and understand why.
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Editorial Reviews

Likening population growth to a volcanic eruption, the text reveals the geologic effects of overpopulation on planetary resources such as wildlife habitats, food availability, climatic conditions, and agriculture. It discusses the human impact on the Earth's natural cycles, introducing the concept of carrying capacity, and provides an overview of five major historic extinctions. Includes b&w photos and drawings, a glossary, and chapter bibliographies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816031306
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Series: Changing Earth Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 8.32 (w) x 7.84 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Dawn of Civilization 1
2 The Population Explosion 19
3 The Balance of Nature 37
4 Environmental Degradation 56
5 Resource Depletion 74
6 Climate Change 93
7 Carrying Capacity 112
8 Habitat Destruction 133
9 Biological Extinction 150
10 The Habitability Crisis 168
Glossary 183
Bibliography 193
Index 199
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