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    Original Essays | September 21, 2015

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The God Species: Saving the Planet in the Age of Humans


The God Species: Saving the Planet in the Age of Humans Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

We humans are the God species, both the creators and destroyers of life on this planet. As we enter a new geological era - the Anthropocene - our collective power now overwhelms and dominates the major forces of nature.

But from the water cycle to the circulation of nitrogen and carbon through the entire Earth system, we are coming dangerously close to destroying the planetary life-support systems that sustain us. In this controversial new book, Royal Society Science Books Prize winner Mark Lynas shows us how we must use our new mastery over nature to save the planet from ourselves.

Taking forward the work of a brilliant new group of Earth-system scientists who have mapped out our real 'planetary boundaries', Lynas draws up a radical manifesto calling for the increased use of environmentally-friendly technologies like genetic engi- neering and nuclear power as part of a global effort to use humanity's best tools to protect and nurture the biosphere.

Ecological limits are real, but economic limits are not, Lynas contends. We can and must feed a richer population of nine billion people in decades to come, whilst also respecting the nine planetary boundaries - from biodiversity to ocean acidification - now identified and quantified by scientists.

Ripping up years of environmental orthodoxy, he reveals how the prescriptions of the current green movement are likely to hin- der as much as help our vitally-needed effort to use science and technology to play God and save the planet.

Book News Annotation:

Environmental writer Lynas draws on the work of a group of international scientists affiliated with the Stockholm Resilience Center, who have described, in exact numerical terms, which systems of the earth are being most affected by human activities and the limits of these human activities in terms of damage to the earth. The author gives recommendations on how we should manage the planet in nine areas: biodiversity, climate change, nitrogen, land use, freshwater, toxics, aerosols, ocean acidification, and the ozone layer. He looks at social, economic, and political aspects as well as scientific aspects. Surprisingly, the author argues that nuclear power, genetic engineering, and geoengineering are not as harmful for the planet as the continued use of fossil fuels. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

About the Author

Mark Lynas has worked for nearly a decade as a specialist on climate change, and is author of three books on the subject: High Tide: News from a Warming World (2004), Carbon Calculator (2007), and Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet (2007).

High Tide was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Award for Non-Fiction and short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award. Six Degrees was long- listed for the Orwell Prize in 2008 and won the Royal Society Prize for Science Books in the same year. The book has now been translated into 22 languages around the world. 

Six Degrees is published in the US by National Geographic, which has also made a television documentary based on the book and broadcast on the National Geographic Channel internationally.

Lynas writes a fortnightly column for the New Statesman magazine, and is a regular contributor to the Guardian. He is also a Visiting Research Associate at Oxford University's School of Geography and the Environment.

Product Details

Lynas, Mark
National Geographic Society
Environmental Science
Environmental Studies-General
Publication Date:
9.31 x 6.33 x 1 in 1.0625 lb

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