Natural disasters, climate change, resource exploitation, and human development are all changing our planet at a relentless pace.
Turn on the television, read any newspaper—one cannot avoid stories of the major changes that are taking place on Earth. Hurricanes and tornados in the Midwest, flooding along the coasts, melting of polar ice caps. What's going on?
This book is an attempt to answer some of those questions. Written by leading experts, and using unique before-and-after satellite imagery to document what's taking place, Fragile Earth presents all of the changes that are occurring and what the likely outcomes for our planet will be.
Different phenomena pose different risks. Natural phenomena, like earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, landslides, and avalanches, and wild weather, like tropical storms, tornadoes, and massive dust storms, pose risks to local populations who cannot safely escape these sudden cataclysms. But there are also more subtle changes happening that can be just as destructive in the long run.
Take, for instance, the parched earth—places where desertification, shrinking lakes and drying rivers, and drought are becoming prevalent. What are the long-term effects of these phenomena on human populations? Or the so-called "Big Thaw"—dwindling glaciers, polar ice cap changes, rising sea levels: what are the effects of these ever-increasing conditions?
The question this book poses is simple: What is to be done? There are answers to these problems, if we become more focused on solving them. The expert contributors give some of those answers, including conservation of current resources as just one of many.