Synopses & Reviews
We all know our planet is in crisis, and that it is largely our fault. But all too often the full picture of change is obstructed by dense data sets and particular catastrophes. Struggling with this obscurity in her role as an editor at Nature
, Gaia Vince decided to travel the world and see for herself what life is really like for people on the frontline of this new reality. What she found was a number people doing the most extraordinary things.
During her journey she finds a man who is making artificial glaciers in Nepal along with an individual who is painting mountains white to attract snowfall; take the electrified reefs of the Maldives; or the man who's making islands out of rubbish in the Caribbean. These are ordinary people who are solving severe crises in crazy, ingenious, effective ways. While Vince does not mince words regarding the challenging position our species is in, these wonderful stories, combined with the new science that underpins Gaia's expertise and research, make for a persuasive, illuminating and strangely hopeful read on what the Anthropocene means for our future.
"Science journalist Vince has produced a book, simultaneously deeply depressing and thoroughly uplifting, that is all but impossible to put down. Organizing her stories by ecosystem, Vince chronicles the planetary changes humans have wrought during the Anthropocene, the current geological epoch. In superb prose she summarizes the actions of people whose lives have been irrevocably affected by climate change, urbanization, industrialization, and rampant greed. These same people, some of the poorest on the planet, are taking active steps to transform their lives and communities. Vince writes in the first chapter about Mahabir Pun, a Nepalese teacher who brought free WiFi connections to remote Himalayan villages, enabling students to attend school online and village nurses and midwives to work in a telemedicine and dentistry clinic linked via webcam. She also describes the remarkable efforts of an Indian civil engineer, Chewang Norphel, to construct temporary glaciers to provide water for remote, high-elevation villages whose natural glacial aquifers have disappeared as temperatures rise. Vince travelled for two years, interviewing and observing, to compile this amazing view of both the present and the future, and she concludes that it is not yet too late to create a rich and sustainable 'shared future.' Illus. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books 2015
"A highly readable take of the planets pulse."
"[An]impressive book, encyclopedic in its scope and relentless in its gumshoe derring-do. An emporium of fascinating information."
"A fascinating tour of the human side of climate change, complete with its perils, and the inspired efforts ordinary people are nonetheless finding to adapt and survive with grace."
Diane Ackerman, author of The Human Age
Celebrates the wonders of nature and reminds us that we are a superbly adaptive species.”
Booklist, Starred Review
A well-documented, upbeat alternative to doom-and-gloom prognostications.”
Kirkus, Starred Review
"Vince has produced a book, simultaneously deeply depressing and thoroughly uplifting, that is all but impossible to put down.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"With its engaging, thought-provoking narratives, this volume will expand, or perhaps fundamentally change, readers' views about the planet's emerging future. Highly recommended. All readers."CHOICE
"Our species has exploded into a new kind of forceone species able to alter the physical, chemical and biological properties of the planet on a geological scale. Gaia Vinces important book provides the evolutionary, temporal and biophysical context to show with clarity the stunning speed and magnitude of the human footprint on the planet. She manages to inspire with hope while conveying a cry of urgency."
David Suzuki, author of The Sacred Balance
A fine and timely book. Gaia Vince shows us how to stay steady and cheerful despite the ever intensifying drama of the Anthropocene”
James Lovelock, author of Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth
A beautifully written book that raises the most profound question of our time: How should we live? In the past this has been primarily a personal question, but now it has become the central question for us as a speciesand the fate of nearly every species on our planet (including our own) rests on our answer.”
Ken Caldeira, Stanford University
Gaia's remarkable journey is a unique inventory of life on earth, both wild and human, at this important moment in our history.”
This is a remarkable journey from a remarkable journalist... The Anthropocene era she documents emerges as something richer, more vital and more interesting than any previous era. In her eyes people are heroes rather than villains. Read this and you can believe in the future.”
Fred Pearce, author of When the Rivers Run Dry
Have you seen the state of our planet? Gaia Vince has. She travelled the globe for two years to investigate what we are doing to it, and this heroic feat of reporting is the result. She, and her readers, are left wiser, sometimes sadder, but still holding on to a core optimism about possible futures for our world.”
Jon Turney, author of The Rough Guide to the Future
About the Author
is a journalist and broadcaster specializing in science and the environment. She has been the editor of the journal Nature Climate Change
, the news editor of Nature
and online editor of New Scientist
. She writes for newspapers including the Guardian
, The Times
, Scientific American
, and Australian Geographic
. She devises and presents programs about the Anthropocene on BBC radio, blogs at WanderingGaia.com and tweets at @WanderingGaia. She resides in London.
Table of Contents
Geological Time Map
List of Illustrations