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Changing Planet, Changing Health: How the Climate Crisis Threatens Our Health and What We Can Do about It Hardcover – April 4, 2011

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Changing Planet, Changing Health: How the Climate Crisis Threatens Our Health and What We Can Do about It + The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth's Climate (Science Essentials)
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Editorial Reviews


“If ever there was a book that ought to be on everybody’s reading bucket list this is it.”
(Booklist 2011-03-01)

“A harrowing look at the road ahead that should urge immediate, proactive change.”
(Kirkus Reviews 2011-04-01)

“Makes it clear that the health threats from climate change are here, and need immediate coordinated effort to keep in check.”
(E! The Environmental Magazine 2011-03-10)

“An eye-opener ”
(Publishers Weekly 2011-04-25)

“Because human health is 'the bottom line' at which the many adverse consequences of climate change will converge, Changing Planet, Changing Health is an excellent corrective for climate-change myopia.”
(Nature 2011-04-21)

“This eye-opening book reveals how climate change alters patterns of disease and contributes to many of the world’s most serious human health threats.”
(Taste For Life Magazine 2011-10-01)

“Absorbing and informative.”
(Rich Heffern National Catholic Reporter 2011-07-21)

From the Inside Flap

"Changing Planet, Changing Health is a landmark book that will raise our consciousness about how we should respond to a growing emergency and save lives. Dr. Paul Epstein and journalist Dan Ferber offer stunning revelations about the ways that the climate crisis is jeopardizing food security and accessibility to drinking water while propelling disease vectors that are threatening public health worldwide. This book, the first to solely focus on the connection between the climate crisis and its damaging health effects, sounds a clarion call that shows how we can heal the earth, and ourselves."—Al Gore

“Climate change has brought a new imperative to global health efforts worldwide as the ‘changing planet’ both contributes to the spread of disease and worsens existing inequities. We must be ambitious in our response and heed the personal, political, economic, and institutional advice so keenly prescribed here by Paul Epstein and Dan Ferber. Our collective failure to intervene, or even to understand, portends disaster. But this volume also shows us just how much we can do to slow or arrest these adverse trends.”—Paul Farmer, MD, author of Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor and Co-founder, Partners in Health

"You'll never find a clearer or smarter explanation of one of the toughest problems the world faces as the Holocene ebbs and the warming era begins."—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

"Paul Epstein has long been at the forefront in alerting the public and our leaders on the many ways our lives and health are threatened by climate change. Together with journalist Dan Ferber, they have now written the book on the health effects of global warming. From malaria-carrying mosquitoes entering new regions now warm enough to support their life cycle to asthma triggered by higher carbon dioxide concentrations, to lives lost by extreme weather, Changing Planet, Changing Health is a vivid reminder of the urgency of the need for action. It can only be hoped that this sweeping and articulate book will trigger a renewed focus on this crucial challenge at a time when so many are distracted by other events."—Paul Volberding, MD, University of California, San Francisco

"This valuable and insightful book provides, in highly readable form, the most basic reason for concern over human source change in the climate system—the impact this change has on our health."—Paul Andrew Mayewski, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine

“Climate change isn't just 'inconvenient'— it kills. Bravo to Paul Epstein and Dan Ferber for laying out a clear explication. Deny the heat wave around you? OK, but brace yourself for the hospital bills.”—Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize winning writer and author of The Coming Plague

Changing Planet, Changing Health is an illuminating, important, and deeply sobering book.”—Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change

"As compelling as a detective novel, Changing Planet, Changing Health reveals the important—and often unnerving—links between climate and survival in a world in a world in which we are watching our known environment slip away. This is a vital story, and authors Paul Epstein and Dan Ferber have told it beautifully, so that their exploration of human behavior and consequences is wonderfully readable as well as being wonderfully smart."—Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition first Printing edition (April 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520269098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520269095
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,162,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Book Shark TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 24, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Changing Planet, Changing Health by Paul R. Epstein, MD, and Dan Ferber

"Changing Planet, Changing Health" is an excellent book about how climate change harms our health now , and how it will devastate us in the future unless we transform society and our global economy. This insightful 368-page book is composed of the following thirteen chapters: 1. Mozambique, 2. The Mosquito's Bite, 3. Sobering Predictions, 4. Every Breath You Take, 5. Harvest Trouble, 6. Sea Change, 7. Forests in Trouble, 8. Storms and Sickness, 9. The Ailing Earth, 10. Gaining Green by Going Green, 11. Healthy Solutions, 12. Of Rice and Tractors, and 13. Rewriting the Rules.

1. A comprehensive topic that was well researched.
2. Engaging prose and accessible for the masses.
3. Written with passion and conviction this book reads like a well crafted novel.
4. The authors rely on sound science and their love for this planet to share some very important information.
5. Great use of charts, illustrations and even great photos that further engages the reader into the topics of the book.
6. This great book emphasizes the direct impact climate change has on our species, namely on our health.
7. Great wisdom throughout this book.
8. Great explanation of systems theory, and how it plays a vital role in addressing global issues.
9. The fascinating story of cholera researcher Rita Colwell. Kudos to her!
10. The importance of rain forests.
11. A medical look at illnesses, epidemics and their relation to climate change. Great stuff!
12. A historical look at the term greenhouse effect.
13. So how do humans contribute to climate change? Find out in a comprehensive manner.
14. The impact of El Niño, and why is it called that?
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Siri Carpenter on April 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
What a revelatory book this was. I knew about some of the ways in which climate change threatens human health and safety, but had no idea of the breadth and scope of those dangers, or of the ways in which some are interconnected. Epstein and Ferber paint an impressively--if frighteningly--detailed picture of the health menace that our planet's inarguably changing climate poses. And somehow they transform this dauntingly complex material into something that is a pleasure to read, with the tangible human dimensions of the problems (and some solutions) evident on almost every page, from a Kenyan mother's desperate fight to rescue her deathly ill daughter from malaria contracted in a region once deemed "malaria-free," to the daily grind of a graduate student whose work in a Midwestern experimental soybean field aims to address the question of whether and how, in the face of increasing CO2 levels, we will be able to grow enough food to feed the planet. But Epstein and Ferber don't just present problems and then leave us with the depressing sense that we've long since passed our chance for redemption. Although they're clear that modern wants and needs have brought us to a dangerous precipice ("Again and again, we want too much, waste too much, and fail to consider the consequences," they write), they also propose thought-provoking solutions which I only hope will capture both the public's and the policy makers' serious attention.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Erdmann on April 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Epstein and Ferber have done a masterful job of connecting the dots between climate change and health, from a malaria epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, to airborne soot in Harlem where doctors at a local hospital care for asthma patients. I had an idea that climate change can harm health but had no clue how seemingly unrelated events from day-to-day choices combine to harm our environment and thus our health. The book is 299 pages, and includes an epilogue to last year's Deepwater Horizon explosion. It reads like an adventure story packed with researchers chasing epidemics and with determined citizens looking for ways to reduce their dependence on electricity. One of the sections that struck me most was the chapter on "Storms and Sickness". The Midwest has had more than its share of tornados this year. After a tornado touched down one half mile from our property a few days ago, I went back and reread this section trying to imagine how our lives would have changed if the trajectory of those horrific winds had shifted just slightly. People everywhere live with weather extremes. Droughts, hurricanes, and floods leave destruction in their wake and also unseen but powerful pathogens in raw sewage, in drinking water that needs to be boiled. Page after page of such information could leave the reader feeling helpless and hopeless but the authors close the book by fully outlining a clear and hopeful way forward in which all of us can join. Epstein and Ferber, through eloquent writing, compelling stories, and prodigious reporting bring both an immediacy and urgency to an issue critical to our continued existence.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Loretta J. Williams on July 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Clearly, compassionately and compellingly told.

Medical doctor Paul R. Epstein and science journalist Dan Ferber share stories of intrepid curiosity and commitment to finding the roots to public health dilemmas facing the globe and its people. We learn of the enormous number of indicators that we as humans have passed the point of disruption in the globe's system of checks and balances. We learn, too, of the politics of climate change and the possibilities for alternative policies for the public good.

Dr. Epstein tells of his experiences as a young tropical medicine doctor in newly-independent Mozambique in the 1970s, and how that led him to serving often marginalized communities in Greater Boston; and those combined experiences led him on to studies in public health, research collaborations, brainstorming sessions across disciplines and sectors. Now at the Center for Health and Global Environment at Harvard, Dr. Epstein tells inspiring stories of research efforts against the odds all across the continents, designed to learn why the increased occurrences of extreme weather, deforestation, infectious disease epidemics driven by exponential climate changes showing up in unexpected places and populations.

The authors speak of gatherings of interdisciplinary colleagues and sectors, and democratically shaped alternatives to the crises we face as human beings and global citizens. Particularly appealing to me was the worldview of the writers: non-US triumphalism. I learned much about what scientists and public health workers -named and credited throughout - are doing in Honduras, Bangladesh, Canada, Kenya, Mexico and the like.
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