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The God Species Paperback – July 1, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“If there is one reason to read Mark Lynas​’ book The God Species, it’s because of his exposition of the ‘planetary boundaries’ concept.” –Scientific American
 
“I believe it would behoove anyone who has an opinion about the future of our planet to read The God Species.” –Forbes 
 
“Lynas’s book is at the top of my must-read pile.” –Dot Earth blog, Andrew Revkin, New York Times
 
“An accurate portrayal of the state of the planet and a call to action using all means possible before boundaries are crossed with irreversible results.” –Kirkus
 
“Readers who were previously unaware of the scope of humanity’s effects on the world—on its climate, its biogeochemical cycles, the chemistry of its oceans, the color of its sky, the flow of its rivers, the number of its species and more—may find themselves shocked by its relentless exposition. Meanwhile many readers who are already alarmed by the state of the environment will find themselves shocked by what Mr. Lynas wants to do about it…his views are certainly not yet common currency, and…that makes his position both more interesting and more compelling.” –The Economist
 
“For all the angst this book may cause his Green allies, there can be no doubting his seriousness about climate change…This is a clear-eyed, hard-headed assessment of the ecological challenges facing us - and all the more bracing for it...vigorously provocative” –London Evening Standard
 
 "The power of Lynas’s voice comes not just from his famously deep research... but also his authority as a campaigner." --Sunday Times of London
“The most attention-grabbing passages in the book come in Lynas’s denunciations of the green movement.” –The Guardian
 “Lynas is to be commended for producing a work that challenges so many green movement taboos and for recognising the importance of hard science – such as nuclear power and genetic engineering – and sound economics as potential saviours of the planet. This is an insightful, honest book.” –Guardian.co.uk
 
“offer[s] planet-scale strategies for a sustainable future…sure to spark debate…at the heart of the book is the optimistic belief that humans are capable of understanding Nature and able to repair the damage that we have done and continue to do…” –Technorati Green
 
“Eco-activist and journalist Mark Lynas, famous for shoving a pie in the face of sane skeptic Bjorn Lomborg, has…changed some of his positions…Nuclear power? Certainly part of the solution…As is genetic modification…That's a win for science, for the future of policy and responsible stewardship of mother Earth.” –Science2
 
“Mark Lynas has written the clearest exposition so far of the environmental choices we face…He is wonderfully sane and cogent on difficult issues.” –American Public Media --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Mark Lynas is an activist, journalist and traveller. He was editor of the website www.oneworld.net and has made many appearances in the press and TV as a commentator on environmental issues. He is the author of High Tide and Six Degrees.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (GB); 1st edition (July 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000731342X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007313426
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #934,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Malvin VINE VOICE on October 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"The God Species" by Mark Lynas suggests that humanity, as the earth's dominant species, must face up to its environmental responsibilities in a timely, pragmatic and life-affirming manner. As a veteran environmental activist and consultant to the low-lying Republic of Maldives (an island nation that is severely threatened by climate change and rising sea levels), Mr. Lynas believes that urgent solutions to the environmental crisis must not be held captive to ideology or politics. In this passionate and intelligent book, the author presents a positive and politically-centrist vision of how humanity can and must use its ingenuity to save the planet.

Mr. Lynas' thesis holds that the Anthropocene era has arrived -- whether religious fundamentalists on the right or deep green advocates on the left care to admit it, or not. As Mr. Lynas discusses the nine environmental tipping points of biodiversity, climate change, nitrogen, land use, freshwater, toxics, aerosols, ocean acidification, and ozone, we come to understand that one way or another, humanity's actions (and inactions) matter a great deal. For example, Mr. Lynas helps us see that the decision to not build a nuclear power plant must be weighed against the cost of burning coal and accumulating more excess CO2 in the atmosphere. Mr. Lynas believes quite sensibly that conservatives must recognize that the indefinite and unlimited use of fossil fuels is not possible for the planet; while progressives must recognize the usefulness and (in his view) very limited downside risk of deploying nuclear power on a wide scale.

When not discussing the science around environmental issues, Mr. Lynas is keen to break through the ideological impasse that he feels has kept viable solutions off the table as time grows short.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mark Lynas is a well-informed journalist on the issue of climate change. There is much of value in his latest book, including the uncompromising assertion that we (that is we, the human species) need to stop using carbon-rich fossil fuels COMPLETELY as rapidly as possible.

So far so good. We must phase out the production of CO2 by burning fossil fuels in order to stop runaway global warming and catastrophic climate change. I disagree with Lynas's vehement promotion of nuclear power as a source of electricity. But the deeper problem is that Lynas is in denial about the possibility of continuing economic growth.

Herman Daly and other ecological economists argue that growth as material throughput simply cannot continue -- we must move to a steady-state economy in order to stabilize the relationship between humans and the ecosystem. Qualitative growth can continue, but not quantitative growth. Infinite growth is simply impossible in a finite ecosystem.

Lynas seems to think that this is a choice. He simply fails to understand that mainstream economics contradicts physics and biology. Endless growth is not just a bad choice, it is an impossibility. This is the conclusion of one of the more important books of our time, Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update (see my review).

See anything by Daly, including his classic Steady-State Economics, on the economics, and Thomas Homer-Dixon's The Upside of Down on making the best of social breakdown, which seems increasingly likely with every passing year that radical structural changes are avoided.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is meant to rebuke environmentalists who think corporate economic development may have environmental problems. The beginning chapters forcefully state environmental problems of biodiversity and climate change. Then the solutions include: A lot more nuclear reactors, pesticides, and genetic engineering. In case you thought Fukushima might cause one to think again about nuclear power, Lyas' answer is that it was all media hype, everything was really under control. And "experts say" genetic engineering is safe.
The underlying corporate technophile premise is that we should ramp up technology to give all future billions of humans the same lifestyle we have. Lots of luck with preserving biodiversity. And what other reason could there be for such a goal than corporate economic benefit? How could seemingly environmentalist National Geographic publish such a book? National Geographic is closely entwined with Rupert Murdoch's corporate conservative Newscorp--Newscorp owns 75% of NG's TV stations.
This book is probably worth reading for environmentalists. It could be our future, for as long as that lasts.
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This book is really good and really made me think. He pretty much bases the whole thing off of an idea that scientists came up with called the planetary boundaries, in which there are certain limits to how much we can change stuff, like the level of atmosphere CO2. He then proposes ways to avoid cross these boundaries.

The major theme of the book is that people dont have to give up modern lifestyle in order for society to be sustainable. Things just need to be changed. He criticizes alot of traditional environmentalist views, such as anti-nuclear, saying they are actually counter productive to trying to achieve sustainability.

He is not a scientist, but rather a journalist, so the text isnt that dense. However, he does cite a lot of scientific sources, which gives his claims credulity.

The only real criticism I have is that he tends to be repetitive, and by the end of the book i just started skimming to finish it, but all in all a very thought provoking book.
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