Automotive Holiday Deals Books Holiday Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon Adele egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Get Ready for the Winter Martha Stewart American Made Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Amazon Gift Card Offer minions minions minions  Amazon Echo Starting at $84.99 Kindle Black Friday Deals Entertainment Collectibles Shop Now HTL

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Book is used, fast shipping and great customer service.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit Hardcover – April 22, 2000

151 customer reviews

See all 24 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
Hardcover, April 22, 2000
$5.00 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Editorial Reviews Review

What's most inspiring about Earth in the Balance is who wrote it. It's a big deal, after all, that a sitting senator was willing to write, "We must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization." And that's not all. In his 1992 book, Al Gore also wrote:
I have become very impatient with my own tendency to put a finger to the political winds and proceed cautiously.... [E]very time I pause to consider whether I have gone too far out on a limb, I look at the new facts [on the environment crisis] that continue to pour in from around the world and conclude that I have not gone far enough.... [T]he time has long since come to take more political risks--and endure more political criticism--by proposing tougher, more effective solutions and fighting hard for their enactments.

And the buzz on the street is that Gore actually wrote those words himself.

When Earth in the Balance first came out, it caused quite a stir--and for good reason. It convincingly makes the case that a crisis of epidemic proportions is nearly upon us and that if the world doesn't get its act together soon and agree to some kind of "Global Marshall Plan" to protect the environment, we're all up a polluted creek without a paddle. Myriad plagues are upon us, but the worst include the loss of biodiversity, the depletion of the ozone layer, the slash-and-burn destruction of rainforests, and the onset of global warming. None of this is new, of course, nor was it new in 1992. But most environmentalists will still get a giddy feeling reading such a call to action as written by a prominent politician.

The book is arranged into three sections: the first describes the plagues; the second looks at how we got ourselves into this mess; and the final chapters present ways out. Gore gets his points across in a serviceable way, though he could have benefited from a firmer editor's hand; at times the analogies are arcane and the pacing is odd--kind of like a Gore speech that climaxes at weird points and then sinks just as the audience is about to clap. Still, at the end you understand what's been said. Gore believes that if we apply some American ingenuity, the twin engines of democracy and capitalism can be rigged to help us stabilize world population growth, spread social justice, boost education levels, create environmentally appropriate technologies, and negotiate international agreements to bring us back from the brink. For example, a worldwide shift to clean, renewable energy sources would create huge economic opportunities for companies large and small to design, build, and maintain solar panels, wind turbines, fuel cells, and other ecofriendly innovations.

Gore doesn't mince words when describing just how hard it will be to get out of this jam. Real hope is contingent on a swelling up of concern among the public--and fast. A year into the vice presidency, in an interview with writer Bill McKibben, Gore paraphrased a key passage in his book, "The minimum that is scientifically necessary far exceeds the maximum that is politically feasible." Ah, a political out. Some readers will ask of Gore: what has he done since publishing his book to advance the political feasibility of decisive environmental action? --Chip Giller

From Publishers Weekly

Vice President-elect Gore explains the necessity of enviromentalism and offers bold initiatives for change in this thoughtful, compelling primer, a QPB selection and PW bestseller. Illustrations.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Revised edition (April 22, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618056645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618056644
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,461,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Former Vice President Al Gore is co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management. He is also a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and a member of Apple, Inc.'s board of directors.

Gore spends the majority of his time as chairman of The Climate Reality Project, a non-profit devoted to solving the Climate Crisis.

Gore was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, 1978, 1980 and 1982 and the U.S. Senate in 1984 and 1990. He was inaugurated as the forty-fifth Vice President of the United States on January 20, 1993, and served eight years. During the Administration, Gore was a central member of President Clinton's economic team. He served as President of the Senate, a Cabinet member, a member of the National Security Council and as the leader of a wide range of Administration initiatives.

He is the author of the bestsellers Earth in the Balance, An Inconvenient Truth, The Assault on Reason, and Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis. He is the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary and is the co-recipient, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for "informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MMH on March 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We are burdening our fragile environment with waste and tearing it apart to acquire, always, more we than we need. In one lifetime even I have seen the detrimental effects of our careless use of resources and disregard for the fragility of the earth. This book is a wake up call for those who will listen, a call coming barely in time, if not already too late. This book is comprehensive, but clearly absolutely gripping read.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
36 of 51 people found the following review helpful By GreenPeaceOxfam on November 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This work sets an incredible standard for what the overprivileged and uninitiated might call "alarmist" environmental literature. It is a definitive work that comprehensively addresses the state of the environment, tracing its historical aspects and examining its societal dynamics, even to the level of modern psychotherapeutic psychology. He is meticulous in presenting the facts and images without veering into untenable predictions of non-essential disasters, as plagued Paul Ehrlich's early books. He refers carefully to scientific information, and the unavoidable consequences of foreseeable conditions. Global climate change, for example, will likely make some areas uninhabitable. Gore makes a profound analogy by incively comparing the tragic environmental situation with the unprecedented nature of the nuclear arms race, citing how it has changed from a "fight- to a process of destruction." Industrial civilization and world ecology have reached a similar stage, he indicates.

His solutions are strong given his level of perception and analysis as a government policymaker. They are not much good for rapid change, however, or for grassroots action. While health food stores already existed back in 1992, it is amazing to witness how many efforts have lead to more sustainable products since then. Unfortunately, the green business trend is new, and, perhaps protectively, he appears to leave out any significant mention of environmentalists and entrepreneurial efforts, especially the initiating of Greenpeace by its Sierra Club founders, health food stores and food cooperatives, Anita Roddick and the Body Shop, and Greenpeace's promotion of non-chlorine bleaching techniques.
Read more ›
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Brian Miller on January 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
I am unsure what frightened me more, the ominious environmental facts presented in this book or the dangerous impermeability of several Amazon reviewers. If one enters this book with an open mind, the result will be a re-evaluation of how one relates to the natural world. Gore is not pushing for the destruction of the American economy but instead a more fair juxtaposition of today's benfits versus future consequences. For someone to curse this book without even remote heed to what it states scares the living daylights out of me. I am not saying this book should be converted into American policy verbatim. However, if we do not use the knowledge and experience of this book as part of an international effort to achieve balance between the present and the future, then we are in trouble. Or let me rephrase that, our kids are in trouble.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Al Gore was still a Democratic senator from Tennessee in 1992 when this book was published. He ended up that year as the Vice President, and since leaving office in 2001 has written other environmentally-minded books such as Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis and The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, as well as his Nobel Peace Prize lecture Our Purpose, and of course his Academy Award-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.

He wrote in the Introduction, "Writing this book is part of a personal journey that began more than twenty-five years ago, a journey in search of a true understanding of the global ecological crisis and how it can be resolved... it has also led me to undertake a deeper kind of inquiry, one that is ultimately an investigation of the very nature of our civilization and its relationship to the global environment... At some point ... we lost our feeling of connectedness to the rest of nature. We now dare to wonder: Are we so unique and powerful as to be essentially separate from the earth? Many of us act---and think---as if the answer is yes... I am convinced that many people have lost their faith in the future, because in virtually every facet of our civilization we are beginning act as if our future is now so much in doubt it makes more sense to focus exclusively on our current needs and short-term problems...
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
46 of 67 people found the following review helpful By K. Parsons on February 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Al Gore has presented us with one of his famously overblown but compelling discourses on what is actually a very critical subject. What is missing in our approach to this book (based on the reviews I have read here) is perspective. IT'S NOT ABOUT AL, SILLY! Oh, sure, this book definitely benefits Gore in many ways... but the subject matter is what counts. I grew up in New York's Adirondack region... and I know firsthand the silence that acid rain brings. Twenty-five years ago I would thrill to dozens of fish jumping for insects in Adirondack lakes... twenty years ago, at the apogee of the acid rain crisis, I could pass an entire day at Lows Lake or Upper Saranac without seeing a fish jump. I also remember the stench of Lake Erie in the west wind and as a young boy being amazed that people were driven from their homes at Love Canal. Fortunately, there are now jumping fish in the north country, Lake Erie has been resurrected from the dead and many Superfund sites have been cleaned up. Presently living part-time in Orange County, California (no stranger to pollution problems), I see concerted efforts to repair some of the damage our society has done. The value in works like Algore's book, or more powerfully, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring is that they have FORCED people to PAY ATTENTION to these things. When my ex-girlfriend was diagnosed, at 37, with lymphoma, I drew a parallel to her residing and working in an area known for airborne pollutants and industrial solvent contamination. Eyes opened, I decided to make the small. personal changes which cumulatively lead to sweeping changes if adopted by large numbers of people. OK, so I drive a truck (and a gas-hog at that)... I am not a vegetarian, and I definitely am not an activist...Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews