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Whole Earth Discipline: Why Dense Cities, Nuclear Power, Transgenic Crops, Restored Wildlands, and Geoengineering Are Necessary [Kindle Edition]

Stewart Brand
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.00
Kindle Price: $11.84
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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

An icon of the environmental movement outlines a provocative approach for reclaiming our planet

According to Stewart Brand, a lifelong environmentalist who sees everything in terms of solvable design problems, three profound transformations are under way on Earth right now. Climate change is real and is pushing us toward managing the planet as a whole. Urbanization?half the world?s population now lives in cities, and eighty percent will by midcentury?is altering humanity?s land impact and wealth. And biotechnology is becoming the world?s dominant engineering tool. In light of these changes, Brand suggests that environmentalists are going to have to reverse some longheld opinions and embrace tools that they have traditionally distrusted. Only a radical rethinking of traditional green pieties will allow us to forestall the cataclysmic deterioration of the earth?s resources.

Whole Earth Discipline shatters a number of myths and presents counterintuitive observations on why cities are actually greener than countryside, how nuclear power is the future of energy, and why genetic engineering is the key to crop and land management. With a combination of scientific rigor and passionate advocacy, Brand shows us exactly where the sources of our dilemmas lie and offers a bold and inventive set of policies and solutions for creating a more sustainable society.

In the end, says Brand, the environmental movement must become newly responsive to fast-moving science and take up the tools and discipline of engineering. We have to learn how to manage the planet?s global-scale natural infrastructure with as light a touch as possible and as much intervention as necessary.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Brand, co-author of the seminal 1969 Whole Earth Catalog, compiles reflections and lessons learned from more than 40 years as an environmentalist in this clumsy yet compelling attempt to inspire practicable solutions to climate change. Brand haphazardly organizes his manifesto into chapters that address environmental stewardship opportunities, exhorting environmentalists to become fearless about following science; his iconoclastic proposals include transitioning to nuclear energy and ecosystem engineering. Brand believes environmentalists must embrace nuclear energy expansion and other inevitable technological advances, and refreshingly suggests a shift in the environmentalists' dogmatic approach to combating climate change. Rejecting the inflexible message so common in the Green movement, he describes a process of reasonable debate and experimentation. Brand's fresh perspective, approachable writing style and manifest wisdom ultimately convince the reader that the future is not an abyss to be feared but an opportunity for innovative problem solvers to embrace enthusiastically. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"'This book is truly important and a joy to read.' James Lovelock * 'Stewart Brand's timely and down to Earth new book gives me hope that his wisdom will help us prevent the Earth system breaking as the economic system has done. The last things we need are more theoretical models or visionary hitech. This book is truly important and a joy to read. It is a practical guide to damage limitation and a sustainable retreat to a far more efficient society.' James Lovelock"

Product Details

  • File Size: 637 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0044KLPJC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #275,046 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
119 of 139 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I was interviewing George Soros as the Dow rapidly shed 300 points and crashed through the 10,000 level.

"Is this it?" I asked.

Soros shrugged --- a very calm reaction from an investor who might have seen his portfolio shrink by hundreds of millions of dollars in a matter of minutes.

I lost much less that day, but I had a different reaction --- panic. The thing to do, I concluded, was to trade my beloved Classic 6 in Manhattan for a self-sustaining house in the country. Ten acres would suffice, as long as they had decent water, land suitable for a large garden and enough sunlight for the solar panels.

I bought a URL for the web site I planned to launch: [...]. This was no back-to-the-land hippie retreat. I would be stepping into the smart future: small town/rural purity (Woodsmoke) with the 21st century benefits of a fast Internet (Broadband) and Amazon.com's free shipping.

Given all that, you will understand that I was quite stunned to read "Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto" --- by Stewart Brand, creator of the 1960s and 1970s classic, the "Whole Earth Catalog" --- and discover that the last place its author would have me go is back to the land.

In these pages, Stewart Brand lays out a mind-blowing vision for the planet's salvation: migration to the cities, power generated by mini-nuclear reactors, healthier crops through genetic engineering.

This may well be the most important book I'll read this year. Certainly, it's the most aggressively optimistic book that's also closely reported --- Brand's a student who shows his work. Granted, a lot of it is technical. Skip those pages. Just read with a pencil. Mark what seems important and/or drives you crazy.
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60 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steering between Pollyanna and Chicken Little October 21, 2009
Format:Hardcover
This is the most revealing and compelling of Stewart Brand's writings to date, and I've read pretty much everything he has written in the past 40+ years. Brand is a conceptual artist whose medium is words. He specializes in developing, creating, and promulgating interesting and useful perspectives. Somehow he always manages to find whatever is exciting, important, or cool about whatever he is investigating and to reframe the subject at hand to make you want to learn more. His reframings are powerful. They are aimed to give you a new and improved perspective and point of view, and that is what they do, but they do so with your informed consent.

A lot of people have looked into squatter cities and shanty towns, but Brand does a better job of showing how they are part of an organic and evolutionary and even in some ways positive, optimistic process than most others I've read. There has been a lot of shouting on all sides of the debate on nuclear energy -- this is a really good attempt to get the pros and cons on the table in rational discourse and (mostly) dispense with the flame wars. Same goes for the discussions of genetically engineered crops and geo-engineering. We desperately need a much higher quality public dialog on all these subjects, and this book is a real contribution toward putting all these issues on the table in a discussable format. Stewart is right -- the time for allowing ideology and sentimentality to stand in front of what science is telling us is over, and we are going to be forced as a society to make some difficult decisions relating to the future of our climate and the management of our ecosystems.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I have long considered myself to be a pragmatist without a cause. Nonetheless, I have been fully convinced by reading this book that the time to start a major overhaul in the way we think about global issues is RIGHT NOW. Stewart Brand does a fantastic job laying the facts bare in a way that will convince anyone from the most rational pragmatist to the most ardent environmentalist that we need to start fixing our civilization RIGHT NOW. Not only that, but we must use every tool and technology that we have invented to help us achieve this goal.

His warnings are dire, but hopeful. His advice is strongly worded, but entirely justified. If you are looking for a rational voice in the debate about climate change, genetically modified organisms, the overpopulation "problem" and other issues whose specter is now cast over the future of our species, you must read this book.

It is rare to find a book that is balanced, informative and wholly engaging -- this is one of them.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We must fix it. October 21, 2009
Format:Hardcover
When Stewart Brand captured a generation's imagination 40 years ago with The Whole Earth Catalog, his motto was "We are as gods, and might as well get good at it." With this book, as humankind confronts climate change and other vast, urgent threats largely of its own making, the motto has matured: "We are as gods and HAVE to get good at it." Brand's magisterial tour of urbanization, biotechnology, climate change, energy and agriculture is a feast of surprises, unorthodox opinions, startling insights, wry observations, and moments of reverence and wonder that will inspire and energize productive, practical people everywhere, whether they consider themselves green or not. I don't know if there is a National Book Award for manifestos ... but hey, there wasn't a National Book Award for catalogs when Brand's first great book won, back in the day. And never mind prizes; Whole Earth Discipline offers us a way for humankind to save its own skin.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful book...I think it needs to be on the required reading list for high school students.
Published 2 months ago by Malgamation
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 star because it is an immensely important book. ...
5 star because it is an immensely important book. Some critical comments could be made on the way it is structured, but there is no need to read it linearly, from its first page to... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lars Risan
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesomely informative and pragmatic thoughts on surviving global...
Provides the everyday reader with clear, concise, understandable summaries of numerous scientific and technological developments that may enable human civilization to survive the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by joanna gaylord
4.0 out of 5 stars Trace the still-developing thoughts of one of the original leaders of...
The author of the “Whole Earth Manifesto” which helped to inspire the young Green movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, tells how his ideas have changed in light of 21st... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dave Todaro
5.0 out of 5 stars Do the work of reading this one!
Must read by a master - well researched, and interpreted from S.B's rich context. He has the intellectual depth and the integrity to recognize some of his previous conclusions... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Online since68
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
What I wanted
Published 8 months ago by Santiago Uribe
5.0 out of 5 stars You owe it to yourself and your planet to read this book.
Though I may not agree with everyting as stated in the book, this is such a complete well researched and reasoned, open minded look at the reality of things as they are and as they... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Chris Kalmbach
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye -popping arguments for a fresh approach
Stewart Brand's well-grounded reasoning and carefully researched supporting facts opened my eyes to how much I had accepted as "holy facts" about healing Nature... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Janis O'Kelley
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting and surprising.
As I have not yet finished this book, I can't quite write a full review; but I think it is a very thought provoking and absorbing read. Read more
Published 10 months ago by kotchinka
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking must read for anyone who cares about the future....
Although I just read this book almost five years after it was written, it is even more relevant and fact filled. Read more
Published 12 months ago by JDRulon
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More About the Author

All 73 years is here:

http://sb.longnow.org/SB_homepage/Bio.html


--SB


















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