Thursday, May 19, 2011

Here on Earth by Tim Flannery - Book Review

To heal a wounded Earth

Global warming is a `hot' topic nowadays and there have been many books on this subject. However Tim Flannery takes a different approach.

Starting from the very beginning of Earth's creation, Tim takes us through the complete story of our planet and the biography of our species. Though a natural disaster like an earthquake or tsunami would look like catastrophic event to us and other living beings, the earth has been affected throughout its history by many violent events. Some are very rare like an asteroid impact while others like climate cycles and flooding seem more regular and part of systemic process. These events either directly or indirectly seem to have driven the evolution of life from microcellular organisms to finally the human species, over the last three billion years. During this time many species came and went including the powerful dinosaurs. However till humans started settling down by inventing agriculture about ten thousand years ago, no species have created a serious impact on the earth's ecosystem on a global scale.

In the last few thousand years, wittingly or not, humans started changing the earth's ecosystem drastically. Not only did this result in the extinction of a large number of life forms like the mammoths and the bisons, but significant changes to the climate started taking place. With the industrial revolution a couple of hundred years ago, our species multiplied many fold and the energy needed to sustain our civilization is creating so much waste that our planet is unable to bear it.

Is our Earth a living being? Whether we believe that or not, but it is our home and it sure is getting wounded. How do we heal it? Unfortunately there are no easy fixes - but Tim explores various ways by which we can take control and move in the right direction before it gets too late. He explains the science in a very simple and straightforward manner and I would recommend this book strongly to all who are worried about our future.

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