Earth in Our Care
Ecology, Economy, and Sustainability
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Rutgers University Press
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Earth’s social, environmental, and economic fabric is being threatened from all sides by such challenges as global warming, violence, poverty, and general environmental degradation caused by unsustainable use of Earth’s resources. Nations in the West, whose economies became industrialized early, bear the brunt of responsibility for damage done to the environment so far...
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In a world exploding in the fire of ethnic and religious hatreds, I see fear and its grisly gang of distrust, divisiveness, separation, slander, reprisal, greed, fraud, distortion, and duplicity slithering through the dark halls of governments in each of the four hemispheres. It matters not which hemisphere you choose; each has its despots with fingers on the trigger as they suck the life energy from the people in a bid for the power of control....
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My lovely wife, Zane, and our loving, older cat, Zoe, granted me their patience during the long hours that I plied the seemingly endless literature and the keys of my computer. Their understanding made writing this book a daily joy. In addition, Zane did a wonderful job of proofreading the galleys....
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Although planet Earth reveals its secrets slowly, we now have far more knowledge of the world in which we live than did our forbearers. Therefore, we not only have greater opportunities than they did but also are confronted with greater responsibilities because we are now part of an interconnected global society, whether or not we fully understand the idea or even like it. Just as their decisions set the stage for our reality, our decisions will determine the options of tomorrow and write the history of yesterday...
1: Of Ignorance and Knowledge
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Although ignorance is thought of as the lack of knowledge, there is more to it than that. Our sense of the world and our place in it is couched in terms of what we are sure we know and what we think we know. Our universities and laboratories are filled with searching minds, and our libraries are bulging with the fruits of our exploding knowledge, yet where is there an accounting of our ignorance?...
2: Our Ever-Changing Landscape Patterns
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There are single-minded, idealistic people who perceive us humans merely as a blight on the face of the Earth, a species whose sole purpose appears to be the despoliation of the planet. We, however, have a right to be here by the very fact that we exist as an inseparable part of the global ecosystem. In this sense, what we do is natural, despite the fact that our actions are often shortsighted, unwise, and destructive. Nevertheless, I submit...
3: How Species Enrich Our Lives and the World
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Since the first living cell or cells came into being, nothing living has ever again been alone on planet Earth because life has kept life company. Although this statement is true in the abstract sense on the physical plane, it is not true in the psychological realm. Here, the paradox is that even though...
4: The Never-Ending Stories of Cause, Effect, and Change
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Everything—living creatures, plants, air, water, rocks, time, and space, everything— exists in relationship to everything else. Each action you take is like dropping a pebble into a quiet pool of water. A pebble’s impact on the water’s surface creates concentric rings flowing outward from the center, touching everything in their path. The farther...
5: Act Locally and Affect the Whole World
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As a culture, we would do well to take an extended look in the rearview mirror at the degraded world we are leaving behind. Perhaps as a result of that closer look we might risk changing our minds about always seeking the unspoiled, which we then despoil; we might recognize a vast world waiting to be repaired—mended, as it were—in such a way as to once again yield up its wealth...
6: Repairing Ecosystems
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Ecological restoration is the thought and the attempt to put something into a prior position, place, or condition. That much is clear enough. But why should we humans bother trying to put something back the way we perceive it to have been? Why try to go backward in time when society’s push is forward, always forward? The answer draws on two...
7: Where Do We Go From Here?
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Although I could go on at length about what necessity dictates we adults of the world must do to fulfill our trusteeship of planet Earth as a biological living trust, I have, instead, selected two courses of action that we must simultaneously take if we are to bequeath a worthy legacy to those who are young and to those as yet unborn...
Appendix: Common and Scientific Names of Plants and Animals
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Page Count: 298
Publication Year: 2009