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Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us about Our Future

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Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us about Our Future Cover

ISBN13: 9780061137914
ISBN10: 006113791x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"Perhaps if people read Under a Green Sky and tell their friends about it, we might have a chance. Many people are apathetic about global warming because the press concentrates on superficial metrics like mean temperature and sea levels rising a few feet. So we grow oranges in Alaska, who cares? Peter Ward offers a reason why we should all care, and right now." Doug Brown, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

More than 200 million years ago, a cataclysmic event known as the Permian extinction destroyed more than 90 percent of all species and nearly 97 percent of all living things. Its origins have long been a puzzle for paleontologists. During the 1990s and the early part of this century, a great battle was fought between those who thought that death had come from above and those who thought something more complicated was at work.

Paleontologist Peter. D. Ward, fresh from helping prove that an asteroid had killed the dinosaurs, turned to the Permian problem, and he has come to a stunning conclusion. In his investigations of the fates of several groups of mollusks during that extinction and others, he discovered that the near-total devastation at the end of the Permian period was caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide leading to climate change. But it's not the heat (nor the humidity) that's directly responsible for the extinctions, and the story of the discovery of what is responsible makes for a fascinating, globe-spanning adventure.

In Under a Green Sky, Ward explains how the Permian extinction as well as four others happened, and describes the freakish oceans — belching poisonous gas — and sky — slightly green and always hazy — that would have attended them. Those ancient upheavals demonstrate that the threat of climate change cannot be ignored, lest the world's life today — ourselves included — face the same dire fate that has overwhelmed our planet several times before.

Review:

"Disarmingly engaging....Ward asserts that humankind has flourished during a remarkable period of climatic stability and notes how tragic it will be if our carbon habit brings this boon to a catastrophic end. An important addition to the necessary literature of global warming." Booklist

Review:

"Although the technical level of the content may be beyond high school students, this excellent book is highly recommended." Library Journal

Book News Annotation:

"I am as scared as hell, and I am not going to be silent anymore!" Ward (biology, earth and space sciences, U. of Washington, Seattle) examines evidence about past mass extinctions in reviewing the issues that cause him to be so concerned about current global warming. The book concludes with Ward's interview with David Battisti, an architect of climate science, who paints bleak scenarios about familiar places reflecting his belief that we are headed for a new greenhouse gas-fueled extinction. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

According to paleontologist Ward, all but one of the major extinction events in history have been brought on by climate change — the same global warming that occurs today. The author argues that events in the past can give valuable information about the future of our planet.

About the Author

Dr. Peter D. Ward is a professor of biology and earth and space sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. He also serves as an astrobiologist with NASA. Ward is the author of more than a dozen books, including the highly acclaimed Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe with Donald Brownlee and Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Ann.coffey, July 13, 2008 (view all comments by Ann.coffey)
I hope Peter Ward will take note of the 2nd commenter and have the book carefully proofread prior to reprinting, or have a page of errata inserted into every copy sold. Authors who have important information to get "out there" should realize that they have a huge responsibility to those who would like to use their information to persuade others of the need to take action; in this case, on stemming the tide of biodiversity loss. Information containing errors, no matter how small they might be, can so easily be picked apart and dismissed - particularly by those who are happy with the status quo. Remember that one dirty drop in a bucket of clean water can contaminate the whole lot.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
davemuffly, January 5, 2008 (view all comments by davemuffly)
The segwayer review above shows clearly why we have a peer review system in science, and why reviews by unknown people are so dangerous. Ward's science, as presented in the book, has been thoroughly peer-reviewed. Ward is bringing us up to date on the state of one small branch of multi-disciplinary science, and i congratulate and thank him for it. It may be an out-of-the-spotlight area of science, but, at this moment in time, I'm hard-pressed to think of any science more important than what is presented in this book. The book changed my life, and that of others with whom I've shared it. I encourage all to read, and most importantly, communicate about what is presented here. The future of the biosphere-as-we-know-it may depend on you.

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(3 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
segwayer, August 1, 2007 (view all comments by segwayer)
Had Peter Ward had his book proof read I would recommend it. Ward must have read lots of German literature, because his sentences go on and on and on. He has a number of incorrect facts Like Helium 2 is the normal Earth Helium and Helium 3 is extra terrestrial - NOT. Too many little errors. Entertaining and thought provoking, - I did not put it down, but his projection of why Peruvians chew coca leaves, I believe is wrong. having lived in peru and chewed coca. Too many easily disproven facts, factoids, and theories. His graphs have easily found errors. 940 instead of 1940, in a list of 1920, 1930, 940, 1950. Stupid mistakes. Get a proofreader.
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(7 of 16 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061137914
Subtitle:
Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future
Author:
Ward, Peter D.
Author:
by Peter D. Ward
Publisher:
Smithsonian
Subject:
Environmental Science
Subject:
Paleontology
Subject:
Global warming
Subject:
Extinction (Biology)
Subject:
Life Sciences - Ecology
Subject:
Earth Sciences - Meteorology & Climatology
Subject:
Global warming -- Environmental aspects.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
April 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.89 in 15.76 oz

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Related Subjects

Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General
Science and Mathematics » Geology » Paleontology

Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us about Our Future Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Collins - English 9780061137914 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Perhaps if people read Under a Green Sky and tell their friends about it, we might have a chance. Many people are apathetic about global warming because the press concentrates on superficial metrics like mean temperature and sea levels rising a few feet. So we grow oranges in Alaska, who cares? Peter Ward offers a reason why we should all care, and right now." (read the entire Powells.com review)
"Review" by , "Disarmingly engaging....Ward asserts that humankind has flourished during a remarkable period of climatic stability and notes how tragic it will be if our carbon habit brings this boon to a catastrophic end. An important addition to the necessary literature of global warming."
"Review" by , "Although the technical level of the content may be beyond high school students, this excellent book is highly recommended."
"Synopsis" by , According to paleontologist Ward, all but one of the major extinction events in history have been brought on by climate change — the same global warming that occurs today. The author argues that events in the past can give valuable information about the future of our planet.
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