Harvesting the Biosphere

Harvesting the Biosphere

Author: Vaclav Smil

Publisher: MIT Press

Published: 2015-08-21

Total Pages: 317

ISBN-13: 0262528274

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An interdisciplinary and quantitative account of human claims on the biosphere's stores of living matter, from prehistoric hunting to modern energy production. The biosphere—the Earth's thin layer of life—dates from nearly four billion years ago, when the first simple organisms appeared. Many species have exerted enormous influence on the biosphere's character and productivity, but none has transformed the Earth in so many ways and on such a scale as Homo sapiens. In Harvesting the Biosphere, Vaclav Smil offers an interdisciplinary and quantitative account of human claims on the biosphere's stores of living matter, from prehistory to the present day. Smil examines all harvests—from prehistoric man's hunting of megafauna to modern crop production—and all uses of harvested biomass, including energy, food, and raw materials. Without harvesting of the biomass, Smil points out, there would be no story of human evolution and advancing civilization; but at the same time, the increasing extent and intensity of present-day biomass harvests are changing the very foundations of civilization's well-being. In his detailed and comprehensive account, Smil presents the best possible quantifications of past and current global losses in order to assess the evolution and extent of biomass harvests. Drawing on the latest work in disciplines ranging from anthropology to environmental science, Smil offers a valuable long-term, planet-wide perspective on human-caused environmental change.


Extinction Governance, Finance and Accounting

Extinction Governance, Finance and Accounting

Author: Jill Atkins

Publisher: Routledge

Published: 2022-05-30

Total Pages: 610

ISBN-13: 1000570185

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The planet is currently experiencing a mass extinction event, with human and business activity being the root cause of species loss and habitat destruction. Industries, companies, banks, investors, accountants and auditors have all played their role. This book explores how they can also provide a solution. The book presents plans, metrics, frameworks, mechanisms and financial innovations that can be, and are being, implemented through the financial markets in order to save and protect species, enhance biodiversity and, at the same time, preserve the financial markets and the business world. This biodiversity handbook addresses the intersection between species extinction and the global capitalist system. With contributions from leading non-governmental organisations such as the Capitals Coalition, Business for Nature, the Ecojustice Foundation, ShareAction and the Endangered Wildlife Trust, plus senior researchers in the field, as well as industry experts from Moody’s, EOS at Hermes Federated Investment Management, BlueBay Asset Management, ODDO BHF Asset Management and OSSIAM (to mention just a few), this book is at the forefront of addressing the crucially important topics of extinction accounting, finance and governance. Drawing on leading research, the book is written in an accessible style and is relevant to researchers and students in the fields of sustainability, governance, accounting, finance, corporate social responsibility and corporate governance. It is essential reading for investors, responsible investors, bankers, business leaders and policy makers in the field of sustainable financial markets. Given the interdisciplinary nature of this book, it is useful to conservationists, ecologists and others involved in species and biodiversity protection.


Governing Technology in the Quest for Sustainability on Earth

Governing Technology in the Quest for Sustainability on Earth

Author: Dain Bolwell

Publisher: Routledge

Published: 2019-02-11

Total Pages: 294

ISBN-13: 0429770596

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Governing Technology in the Quest for Sustainability on Earth explores how human technologies can be managed to ensure the long-term sustainability of our species and of other life forms with which we share this world. It analyses human impact, the discourses of environmentalism and issues of economics, history and science. As these variables are complex, drawing on issues from the social, physical and life sciences as well as the humanities, Dain Bolwell uses an interdisciplinary approach to investigate these concepts and their related public policies. Exploring three major existing and emerging technologies – chemical herbicides, nuclear-electric power generation, and robotics and artificial intelligence – the book demonstrates the multifaceted and complicated nature of the grand challenges we face and draws out the measures required to effect sustainability in the wider political sphere. Exploring how we can govern technology most effectively to ensure a long term and sustainable future, this book will be of great interest to students and researchers of environmental studies, science and technology and environmental law and policy.


The Biologist's Imagination

The Biologist's Imagination

Author: William Hoffman

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Published: 2014

Total Pages: 305

ISBN-13: 0199974594

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"Scholars and policymakers alike agree that innovation in the biosciences is key to future growth. The field continues to shift and expand, and it is certainly changing the way people live their lives in a variety of ways. But despite the lion's share offederal research dollars being devoted to innovation in the biosciences, the field has yet to live up to its billing as a source of economic productivity and growth. With vast untapped potential to imagine and innovate in the biosciences, adaptation of the innovative model is needed. In The Biologist's Imagination, William Hoffman and Leo Furcht examine the history of innovation in the biosciences, tracing technological innovation from the late eighteenth century to the present and placing special emphasis on how and where technology evolves. Place is key to innovation, from the early industrial age to the rise of the biotechnology industry in the second half of the twentieth century. The book uses the distinct history of bioscientific innovation to discuss current trends as they relate to medicine, agriculture, biofuels, stem-cell research, neuroscience, and more. Ultimately, Hoffman and Furcht argue that, as things currently stand, we fall short in our efforts to innovate in the biosciences; our system of innovation is itself in need of innovation. It needs to adapt to the massive changes brought about by converging technologies, globalization in higher education as well as in finance, and increases in entrepreneurship. The Biologist's Imagination is both an analysis of past models for bioscience innovation and a forward-looking, original argument for how future models should be developed"--


The World's Worst Problems

The World's Worst Problems

Author: Walter Dodds

Publisher: Springer Nature

Published: 2019-12-02

Total Pages: 156

ISBN-13: 3030304108

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This book addresses the worst problems currently facing humanity and those that may pose future threats. The problems are explained and approached through a scientific lens, and categorized based on data involving global mortality, vulnerability, and threat level. The book presents indices of problem severity to compare relative intensity of current and potential crises. The approach avoids emotional argument using mainly empirical evidence to support the classification of relative problem severity. The author discusses multiple global problems and ranks them. He also explores specific solutions to each problem, links problems to human behavior from a social science perspective, considers international cooperation, and finally pathways to solutions. The book discusses confirmation bias and why this necessitates a scientific approach to tackle problems. The moral assumption that each person has the same rights to life and minimal suffering, and that the natural world has a right to exist, forms the basis of ranking problems based on death, suffering, and harm to the natural world. A focus is given to potential disasters such as asteroid collisions and super-volcanic eruptions, which are then presented in chapters that address specific contemporary global issues including disease, hunger, nuclear weapons and climate change. Furthermore the author then ranks the problems based on an index of problem severity, considering what other people think the worst problems are. The relative economic costs to solve each of these problems, individual behavior in the face of these problems, how people could work together internationally to combat them, and a general pathway toward solutions form the basis of the final chapters. This work will appeal to a wide range of readers, students considering how they can help the world, and scientists and policy makers interested in global problem solving./div


The King's Harvest

The King's Harvest

Author: Brian Lander

Publisher: Yale University Press

Published: 2022-01-07

Total Pages: 317

ISBN-13: 030025508X

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A multidisciplinary environmental history of early China's political systems, featuring newly available Chinese archaeological data This book is a multidisciplinary study of the ecology of China's early political systems up to the fall of the first empire in 207 BCE. Brian Lander traces the formation of lowland North China's agricultural systems and the transformation of its plains from diverse forestland and steppes to farmland. He argues that the growth of states in ancient China, and elsewhere, was based on their ability to exploit the labor and resources of those who harnessed photosynthetic energy from domesticated plants and animals. Focusing on the state of Qin, Lander amalgamates abundant new scientific, archaeological, and excavated documentary sources to argue that the human domination of the central Yellow River region, and the rest of the planet, was made possible by the development of complex political structures that managed and expanded agroecosystems.


The Wizard and the Prophet

The Wizard and the Prophet

Author: Charles Mann

Publisher: Vintage

Published: 2019-04-16

Total Pages: 642

ISBN-13: 0345802845

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From the best-selling, award-winning author of 1491 and 1493--an incisive portrait of the two little-known twentieth-century scientists, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt, whose diametrically opposed views shaped our ideas about the environment, laying the groundwork for how people in the twenty-first century will choose to live in tomorrow's world. In forty years, Earth's population will reach ten billion. Can our world support that? What kind of world will it be? Those answering these questions generally fall into two deeply divided groups--Wizards and Prophets, as Charles Mann calls them in this balanced, authoritative, nonpolemical new book. The Prophets, he explains, follow William Vogt, a founding environmentalist who believed that in using more than our planet has to give, our prosperity will lead us to ruin. Cut back! was his mantra. Otherwise everyone will lose! The Wizards are the heirs of Norman Borlaug, whose research, in effect, wrangled the world in service to our species to produce modern high-yield crops that then saved millions from starvation. Innovate! was Borlaug's cry. Only in that way can everyone win! Mann delves into these diverging viewpoints to assess the four great challenges humanity faces--food, water, energy, climate change--grounding each in historical context and weighing the options for the future. With our civilization on the line, the author's insightful analysis is an essential addition to the urgent conversation about how our children will fare on an increasingly crowded Earth.


Advanced Geospatial Practices in Natural Environment Resource Management

Advanced Geospatial Practices in Natural Environment Resource Management

Author: Vohra, Rubeena

Publisher: IGI Global

Published: 2024-03-18

Total Pages: 311

ISBN-13:

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Today, the relentless depletion of natural resources has reached a critical juncture, demanding innovative solutions. Advanced Geospatial Practices in Natural Environment Resource Management dives into the intricate tapestry of issues jeopardizing ecosystems. This book systematically dissects the fundamental drivers, traces the historical evolution, and elucidates the underlying causes that have led to this precarious point. From deforestation to pollution, from climate change to habitat destruction, these challenges are multifaceted. By harnessing the power of data-driven decision-making and predictive modeling, this book advocates for a profound shift in the approach to environmental issues. This book also explores the complexities of water, soil, and air-related challenges, offering technically sound solutions that strike a balance between legislative, economic, social, and political considerations. The holistic approach championed in these pages holds the potential to benefit governments, businesses, and communities alike. This book is ideal for a diverse audience, including students, scholars, and researchers, as well as environmental science enthusiasts, geospatial technology professionals, and AI/ML practitioners. Policymakers, environmental engineers, and professionals engaged in governmental and corporate sustainability initiatives will also discover practical solutions to address the pressing challenges.


Spaceship Earth in the Environmental Age, 1960–1990

Spaceship Earth in the Environmental Age, 1960–1990

Author: Sabine Höhler

Publisher: Routledge

Published: 2015-10-06

Total Pages: 256

ISBN-13: 131731753X

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The idea of the earth as a vessel in space came of age in an era shaped by space travel and the Cold War. Höhler’s study brings together technology, science and ecology to explore the way this latter-day ark was invoked by politicians, environmentalists, cultural historians, writers of science fiction and many others across three decades.