Grinspoon (Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life) brings an astrobiologist’s perspective to Earth’s current environmental woes. Without downplaying the planetary havoc humans have wrought, including global warming and habitat destruction, Grinspoon focuses on the long-term health of Earth’s ecosystems—meaning millions of years. He wonders whether humans will survive far enough into the future to have a lasting impact on life on Earth and throughout the cosmos. Grinspoon makes clear that while humans are not the first of Earth’s species to radically alter the environment, we are the first to be able to reflect on our actions. He argues that intentionally or not, humans have become novice planetary engineers, changing the nature of biogeochemical and atmospheric cycles. If humans learn to take control of planetary systems, they can make conscious choices that benefit future life, including preventing future ice ages and protecting the planet from devastating meteor impacts. Though Grinspoon overplays the Gaia metaphor of Earth being an integrated and sentient being, he broadens the scope of his work dramatically by paying a great deal of attention to the search for intelligent life in the universe. This is an optimistic and informative take on the future of Earth and humankind. Agent: Eric Lupfer, WME.(Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/10/2016 Release date: 12/06/2016 Genre: Nonfiction
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