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The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet Hardcover – April 9, 2013
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"Brilliant. Naam shows that innovation is the only force equal to the global challenges that face us, and that we can prosper if we harness it."
"A refreshingly thorough roadmap of solutions to our energy and climate crisis."
Top Customer Reviews
The main argument: Ever since the industrial revolution the developed world (and increasingly the developing world) has enjoyed remarkable economic growth. This economic growth has yielded wealth to a degree previously unimaginable. Indeed, many of us today enjoy conveniences, comforts and opportunities of a kind that have traditionally been unattainable by even the world's wealthiest and most powerful people.
However, we may question just how sustainable all of this economic growth (and the resulting wealth) really is. For the economic growth has been accompanied by environmental depletion and degradation of a kind as unprecedented as the growth itself. And while some of the environmental crises that have come up along the way have been solved by new technologies, others yet remain, and are as daunting as any we have seen. Climate change in particular stands out as one of the greatest challenges we now face. What's worse, many of the earth's resources that we have used to generate the economic growth are dwindling, and face extinction. Indeed, the very resource that has powered the industrial era (and that has also caused many of our deepest environmental woes), fossil fuels, has now nearly peaked.
Looking to the past, we find that we would not be the first civilization to perish at the hands of a resource shortage brought on by overzealous extraction. Indeed, such an event has occurred on several occasions (including amongst the Mayan civilization, and that of the Easter Islanders).Read more ›
For example, as Naam explains in Chapter Four, a single "ecological footprint" can be used to measure human consumption of the earth's finite resources. "The world has about 1.8 hectares of useful living land per person on it. Yet the average citizen of the world uses up 2.7 hectares of that land via that lifestyle. (A hectare is around 2.5 acres, so that's around 6.7 acres.)...[At estimated] levels of per capita consumption, the planet can't support the 7 billion people it has on it, let alone the 9 to 10 billion it will have by mid-century. It can support only about two-thirds of the current population of the planet, or around 4.7 billion people. So what becomes of the 2.3 billion people the planet can't support today? The 4 to 5 billion surplus people we'll have by midcentury?" Ominously, high-income countries averaged 6.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is on par with Game of Thrones season 6 episodes 9 and 10. Very important issues described in a very accessible manner. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Holmström Jonas
The first part, a description of our current environmental issues, was so depressing it made me want to dive into pounds of chocolate fudge! Read morePublished 6 months ago by A. Decker
If you're interested in the future of our species and our world, Ramez Naam is an author worth following. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Alohanaut
Just finished his other nonfiction book, More Than Human, and have to say that I'd recommend this one over that. Mr. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Monty & Hobbes
A modified form of this began as a letter sent to Jeff Bezos, CEO, at Amazon. The bureaucrats of the Amazon mail room sent it back unopened. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Don Klemencic
This was a very good book that has got my thinking more centered instead of being politically one sided. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
Mind expanding. A some facts from a great perspective, balanced and yet positive about the future. A thourourly enjoyable read.Published 15 months ago by rob0bOy
Once again, Naam weaves a narrative detailing humanities great potential to solve world problems through innovation. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Florence Spalding