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Whole Earth Discipline: Why Dense Cities, Nuclear Power, Transgenic Crops, Restored Wildlands, and Geoengineering Are Necessary Paperback – September 28, 2010
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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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
'Now the new style of environmentalism has a worthy prophet, Stewart Brand, and a bible, Whole Earth Discipline.' Financial Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
Very mind altering and helpful, a real update to what I meant to know before I read this book. Although I am not of his opinion in some respects, I am 100% congruent with his perspective which was my own long before I found the "long now foundation":
Sustainability means to alter one's behavior to sustain human life on this planet for - say - another 10.000 years.
Example: If you want electric power for everyone there seems to be no way but to replace coal fired plants by Thorium fired plants.
Why? In 200 years all fossile energy sources including Uranium will be depleted and we will very possible see a catastrophic climate change induced by human activity long before that date if we really burn all of these. Renewables are very fine and we should use the maximum amount of these. But:
1) wind and solar are and will be much more expensive than coal and not everyone will be able to afford these
2) wind and solar need a lot of space such that they cannot be applied to every usage scenario
3) even if we start investing into wind and solar we will never cover all energy needs of 9 Billion people in 2050
4) wind energy depends on wind blowing, solar depends on sun shining. That is why they need complimentary power which can not be fossile in the long run. As water power or biogas is not available in most places and not in the necessary amount, there will never be enough complimentary. Alternative will be Electricity storage which is roughly 20 Cent per Kilowatt hour at its cheapest, adding again to the cost
5) Complete failure of Germany to pull that thing off is proof enough for the rest of the World: at a projected cost of more 1.000 Billion Euros in subsidies promised by current law they did manage actually increase the spillout of CO2!
Burning Thorium is the one solution that will power our world for the next 20.000 years, based on the knowledge of today.
If Brand was your hero then, make him your hero again
Dramatic and convincing, this book unleashes a convert’s enthusiasm on these and other topics. It’s likely to convert many, many readers – like me.
Brand usually states his case with clarity, but you’ll find some rambling. You may not get all of his humor; and his supporting arguments are eclectic enough to occasionally distract, running the gamut from hard science to fringe philosophies. It is all delivered with an urgent enthusiasm that keeps the book moving and paints a vivid impression of the man who wrote it.
Brand writes that he holds his views loosely to allow for new learning and the possibility of change, even as he states them boldly. His admiration for scientists shines through (he says their jobs are to challenge and disprove each other). His division of the human race into romantics (who fall in love with problems), scientists (who discover and analyze problems) and engineers (who solve problems) is helpful; as is his comparison of “foxes” and “hedgehogs.”
Brand writes with the authority of a well-connected founding father of the environmental movement, and with the wizened perspective of an elder statesman among environmentalists who, true to his Gaian philosophical underpinnings of seeing and celebrating the interconnectedness of systems, does not overlook the potential of governments and corporations as systems that can solve mankind’s most pressing problems. The result is an interesting smorgasbord of ideas for anyone who is trying to learn about global sustainability issues.