What will be the fate of humanity and our store of natural resources in the next century? Will we drown in our own garbage and destroy the diversity of the biosphere? Heinrich Holland and Ulrich Petersen examine these and other questions in an innovative earth, natural resource, and environmental sciences textbook. Moving away from the organization of traditional geology courses, their work is based on an Earth systems science approach covering the interaction of the Earth, Sun, atmosphere, biosphere, and oceans.
The first section of the book deals with the workings of the Earth as a complex system, the sources of external and internal energy, and the effects of these energies on near surface and deep Earth environments. The second section deals with the formation, distribution, availability, and cost of renewable and nonrenewable resources, and addresses the adequacy of these resources for humanity during the next century. Finally, the third section deals with the effects of humanity on the environment, especially on the composition of the atmosphere and fresh waters, and on the nature of the biosphere. The book emphasizes the need for a wide range of natural resources as well as for a hospitable environment. It summarizes the state of knowledge regarding the linkage between these often conflicting needs, and defines to what extent policy decisions in the areas of conflict can be made on a sound scientific basis. Presenting a number of one-hundred-year projections, the authors are guardedly optimistic about the ability of the human race to live, but they believe that humanity will be living dangerously during the twenty-first century.
"It is vital that all educated people learn enough, soon enough, about the earth. This book is a good place to start."--American Scientist
"For those stressing the societal implications of Earth science, this unconventional work will be an easy-even exciting-book to use. It is a joy to read."--W. G. Ernst, Stanford University
File created: 1/4/2017