The Middle Path: Avoiding Environmental Catastrophe
The debate about global warming is over. There is no longer any question that human activity is causing the Earth’s climate to heat up at an increasingly rapid rate, with consequences that we are now only beginning to understand. Meanwhile, human population growth is placing unsustainable demands on everything from animal habitats to water supplies. Faced with radically different assessments of the long-term effects of global warming—from oil companies, scientists, business lobbies, and environmental groups—concerned citizens find it difficult to tell how dire the prognosis really is. Is life on Earth doomed, or is there still time to mitigate—even to reverse—the damage that has already been done?
In The Middle Path, noted geographer Eric Lambin provides a concise, readable summary of the present state of the environment and considers what must be done if environmental catastrophe is to be avoided. Finding merit in the arguments of both optimists and pessimists, Lambin argues that it is not too late to exploit the inherent tendency toward equilibrium of large-scale systems such as the earth’s environment. By relying upon a combination of remedies as global as international cap-and-trade emission treaties and as local as municipal programs promoting the use of bicycles rather than cars, it may yet be possible to rescue humanity from a potentially fatal crisis of its own making.
Based on rigorous scientific analysis, and strikingly free of ideological prejudice, The Middle Path presents a fresh view of our troubled future, brilliantly balancing tough-minded realism with humanitarian ideals of cooperation and ingenuity.
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Mankind and Its Environment
The Mechanisms of Environmental Degradation
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adaptation agricultural animal Aral Sea atmosphere biodiversity capacity carbon carbon dioxide caused climate change collapse common-pool resources complex consequences consumers consumption costs countries crisis cultural cycles decades decisions deforestation demographic depends desertification dioxide drought earth ecoefficiency ecological ecosys ecosystems effect emissions energy environmental change environmental degradation environmental impact environmental problems example exploitation external factors farmland feedbacks fertility fish forest fuel global scale grazing human activity human societies income increase individual industrial institutions interactions between human Kuznets curve Kyoto Protocol land mankind Maya Maya civilization ment million modified natural capital natural environment natural resources needs optimists percent pessimists plant policies political pollution population possible production rapidly reducing regions resilience responsible result risk ronmental Sahel semi-arid social socioeconomic soil sources species square miles sulfur dioxide sustainable development technological innovation technologies tion twentieth century United vegetation vulnerability worldwide