Leaving Eden: To Protect and Manage the Earth

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Leaving Eden is a wide-ranging survey of what is arguably the greatest challenge facing humanity today: the preservation of the natural environment. Nisbet discusses the primary physical, chemical, and biological controls on the natural environment, focusing on the complex interplay between atmospheric and terrestrial elements such as the sun, the oceans, and the forests, and is concerned with the effects of human disruption of these natural systems. Integrating discussions of scientific puzzles with problems facing humanity at large, the author addresses issues such as the greenhouse effect, acid rain, deforestation, chlorofluorocarbons, nuclear waste, agricultural subsidies, and population management. The book also offers an extensive discussion of the ways in which the environment can be protected. With its particular emphasis on the interaction of human behavior and nature, this book is suitable not only for individuals interested in environmental studies, geography, economics, and earth science, but for all those concerned with the future of the Earth.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Nisbet writes with clarity and elegance about our planetary predicament. We have left Eden, and there is no way back. But there are many ways forward, some more alarming than others. Here is a geophysicist, in easy mastery of the available science, to give guidance. He is not the first to bring out the extent of our ignorance, nor the need for a fundamental change of culture. But he brings together realistic prescriptions for policy, ranging from energy to land use to human behavior, with flashes of insight, originality and wit. Sir Crispin Tickell, Warden of Green College, Oxford

"We are in charge of the planetary environment as never before. As we drive ourselves from Eden this volume will prove an invaluable companion; an excellent handbook especially to the physical and chemical intricacies of our environmental challenge." Dr. Thomas Lovejoy

"My favorite signboard reads 'When all else fails read the manual'. Nisbet's book is the first authentic guide for the Earth and how to live on it. Much more than a manual, this splendid, readable and thoughful book occasions enlightened self interest, the wisdom we need to become again a part of Nature." James E. Lovelock

"Leaving Eden is an impressively comprehensive explanation of most everything science knows about chemical and ecological balance in the planetary atmosphere. The non-expert, stick handling around chemical symbols and such, will find Nisbet's work more than a little interesting, plenty frightening, but not devoid of hope....Nisbet's encyclopedic book is an outstanding study of the current condition of nature and man." Paul Hanley, Saskatoon Star Phoenix

"...provides clear, concise accounts of the different aspects of global environmental change, from the soil to the upper atmosphere, displaying a talent for condensing scientific information into handy, bite-sized chunks." Adrian Weston, New Scientist

"The discussions of thresholds and of entry and decay times in biogeochemical cycles are noteworthy. The scientific presentations are then used to synthesize an excellent discussion of how people and goverments might come to find a critical self-interest in the sustaining of a viable earth....Highly recommended...." Choice

"This book is interesting and potentially important....This book makes two major contributions. In the first half, the nature of global environmental systems is described in ways that can be understood without an extensive technical background. The second half of the book builds on the understandings of these processes, but then posits that international environmental management will be difficult and will take time, but that it is necessary and possible. Leaving Eden should be read by all decision-makers who must exert leadership in these topical areas, by the educated lay public (who need to understand these issues), und by those in these technical fields who want a broad discussion of the social importance and costs of the environmental processes that form the basis of the functional biosphere." Paul G. Risser, BioScience

"In this richly informative and readable book, E.G. Nisbet treats the reader to a detailed, yet synoptic, overview of the problem of global climactic and environmental change—its causes, consequences, and possible remedies. What distinguishes this book from many others on the same subject is the author's careful review of the evidence, his balanced approach in defending his own views and opinions, and the breadth and depth of his command of the massive information that enters any realistic assessment of the issues surrounding global change....Leaving Eden should become a standby for those who want to refer to or recommend a thorough, careful, and readable account of global change, its causes, consequences, and cures." Mark Sagoff, Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy

"...Nisbet is doing what more scientists should be doing: looking beyond the limited application of our work to its ultimate consequences....any scientist wanting an overview of the global environmental debate is recommended to read this book. Hopefully some policy-makers will read it too. They will find it wide-ranging, authoritative and even, in the end, optimistic." N.H. Woodcock, Geological Magazine

"...This is required reading." Energy Studies Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521425797
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 380
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgements and apologies; 1. Introduction; 2. The natural earth; 3. The causes of change; 4. The consequences of change; 5. To manage the planet; 6. Reducing our impact: the means to generate and conserve energy; 7. Managing the Earth's vegetation; 8. The management of man; 9. A new global economy.

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