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Environment, Power, and Society for the Twenty-First Century: The Hierarchy of Energy

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231128872
ISBN-10: 0231128878
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Get a rare, fresh, enlightening glimpse of the Big Picture of our environmental and energy problems… Highly recommended.

(Choice)

Book Description

CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, 2007

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (June 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231128878
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231128872
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great actualization of Odums classic work. The complexity of style is somewhat between the quite easy to read "A Prosporous Way Down" and the seminal work "Environmental Accounting". It needs some time to get used to the writing style, anyway it also needs time and concentration to read the book (for a non-academic like me at least).

Nevertheless, the information is deep and revolutionary. For anyone seriously interested in diving deeper into the topic of systems ecology and energy laws, this is the book to read. Includes important predictions and proposals for the time to come.

Here we have the scientific basis for permaculture (sometimes described as systems ecology for the commons)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Odum was a pioneer in systems theory, which for many scientists, would have been enough

But, he didn't stop there. He uses prose, diagrams, illustrations and mathematical formulas to explain how energy is organized in a transformative hierarchy in the physical environment from soil, sun, plants, animals up to human societies. Most interesting is Odum's analysis of human information, including human finance & human technology, as forms of energy predicated, at least for now, on oil. Odum points out that humanity will have to move from attempting to dominate and consume a finite nature to finding a fit with its naturally recurring systems and cycles.

This book is not an easy read. However, it is rich and provides new ideas that will force every reader, including scientists, to reconceptualize how they view nature & human society.

A must read for the serious environmentalist.
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I noticed the first edition back in the early 70's as a new book in college library. I was a poor student and this is the only book I recall being so impressed by that I ordered a copy which I still have. The view through Odum's macroscope was transformative. It is not unknown in the history of science that paradigm shifting thinking by a scientist doesn't really kick in until after his death. My guess is Odum's work will continue to be built upon and someday, instead of almost all having to take Econ 101, no one will be able to consider themselves educated without taking at least Emergetics 101. Until then, there is this offering.
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If you are a serious motivated reader who likes some maths this book has much to offer you in giving an integrated unique view of energy in the biosphere.
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