Synopses & Reviews
An icon of the environmental movement outlines a provocative approach for reclaiming our planet.
According to Stewart Brand, a lifelong environmentalist who sees everything in terms of solvable design problems, three profound transformations are under way on Earth right now. Climate change is real and is pushing us toward managing the planet as a whole. Urbanization — half the world's population now lives in cities, and eighty percent will by midcentury — is altering humanity's land impact and wealth. And biotechnology is becoming the world's dominant engineering tool. In light of these changes, Brand suggests that environmentalists are going to have to reverse some long-held opinions and embrace tools that they have traditionally distrusted. Only a radical rethinking of traditional green pieties will allow us to forestall the cataclysmic deterioration of the earth's resources.
Whole Earth Discipline shatters a number of myths and presents counterintuitive observations on why cities are actually greener than countryside, how nuclear power is the future of energy, and why genetic engineering is the key to crop and land management. With a combination of scientific rigor and passionate advocacy, Brand shows us exactly where the sources of our dilemmas lie and offers a bold and inventive set of policies and solutions for creating a more sustainable society.
In the end, says Brand, the environmental movement must become newly responsive to fast-moving science and take up the tools and discipline of engineering. We have to learn how to manage the planet's global-scale natural infrastructure with as light a touch as possible and as much intervention as necessary.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Brand calls for responsible science instead of sentiment and fear, planet craft instead of politics.... [A] book to wrestle with, a power tool for change." (Starred Review) Booklist
"Brand...provides readers with the most necessary survival tool in this era of increasing climate change: well-researched, accurate information and a guide with which to use it.... A must-read." Kirkus Reviews
"Despite the occasional flippant comment, Brand's tough but constructive projection of our near future on this overheating planet is essential reading for all." Library Journal
With a combination of scientific rigor and passionate advocacy, Brand shows exactly where the sources of environmental dilemmas lie and offers a bold and inventive set of policies and solutions for creating a more sustainable society.
"This is a very scary book by a very bright man, offering a picture of humanity's future that is both ominous and exhilarating."
-Edward O. Wilson
This eye-opening book by the legendary author of the National Book Award-winning Whole Earth Catalog persuasively details a new approach to our stewardship of the planet. Lifelong ecologist and futurist Stewart Brand relies on scientific rigor to shatter myths concerning nuclear energy, urbanization, genetic engineering, and other controversial subjects, showing exactly where the sources of our dilemmas lie and offering a bold, inventive set of policies and design- based solutions for shaping a more sustainable society. Thought- provoking and passionately argued, this is a pioneering book on one of the hottest issues facing humanity today.
About the Author
Stewart Brand is the founder of The Whole Earth Catalog and Co-Evolution Quarterly. He is the author of The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT and How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built, and is the Director of the Global Business Network in Emeryville, California. He lives on a tugboat in San Francisco Bay.