Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet

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Grove/Atlantic, Inc., Apr 5, 2011 - Science - 288 pages
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Beginning at the moment of creation with the Big Bang, Here on Earth explores the evolution of Earth from a galactic cloud of dust and gas to a planet with a metallic core and early signs of life within a billion years of being created. In a compelling narrative, Flannery describes the formation of the EarthÕs crust and atmosphere, as well as the transformation of the planetÕs oceans from toxic brews of metals (such as iron, copper, and lead) to life-sustaining bodies covering 70 percent of the planetÕs surface. Life, Flannery shows, first appeared in these oceans in the form of microscopic plants and bacteria, and these metals served as catalysts for the earliest biological processes known to exist. From this starting point, Flannery tells the fascinating story of the evolution of our own species, exploring several early human speciesÑfrom the diminutive creatures (the famed hobbits) who lived in Africa around two million years ago to Homo erectusÑbefore turning his attention to Homo sapiens. Drawing on Charles DarwinÕs and Alfred Russell WallaceÕs theories of evolution and LovelockÕs Gaia hypothesis, Here on Earth is a dazzling account of life on our planet.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jacoombs - LibraryThing

When he sticks to the subject matter suggested by his subtitle he is quite good. A convincing and entertaining writer on our natural world but an agenda that leads him too far astray. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - KateWa20 - LibraryThing

Attempt to pull back and make sense of the world and humanity's place in it. Compares approaches of Darwin, and Wallace. Instead of Dawkin's concept of the selfish gene, he focuses more on the positive and intricate cooperation within ecosystems. Read full review


CHAPTER 1Evolutions Motive Force
CHAPTER 2Of Genes Mnemes and Destruction
CHAPTER 3Evolutions Legacy
CHAPTER 4A Fresh Look at Earth
CHAPTER 5The Commonwealth of Virtue
CHAPTER 13Gaiakillers
CHAPTER 14The Eleventh Hour?
CHAPTER 15Undoing the Work of Ages
CHAPTER 16The Stars of Heaven
CHAPTER 17Discounting the Future
CHAPTER 18Greed and the Market
CHAPTER 19Of War and Inequality

CHAPTER 6Man the Disrupter
CHAPTER 7New Worlds
CHAPTER 8Biophilia
CHAPTER 9Superorganisms
CHAPTER 10Superorganismic Glue
CHAPTER 11Ascent of the Ultimate Superorganism
CHAPTER 12War against Nature
CHAPTER 20A New Tool Kit
CHAPTER 21Governance
CHAPTER 22Restoring the Lifeforce
CHAPTER 23What Lies on the Other Side?

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About the author (2011)

Tim Flannery is one of Australia’s leading thinkers and writers.

An internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist, he has published more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific papers and many books. His books include the landmark works The Future Eaters and The Weather Makers, which has been translated into more than 20 languages and in 2006 won the NSW Premier’s Literary Prizes for Best Critical Writing and Book of the Year.

He received a Centenary of Federation Medal for his services to Australian science and in 2002 delivered the Australia Day address. In 2005 he was named Australian Humanist of the Year, and in 2007 honoured as Australian of the Year.

He spent a year teaching at Harvard, and is a founding member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, a director of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, and the National Geographic Society’s representative in Australasia. He serves on the board of WWF International (London and Gland) and on the sustainability advisory councils of Siemens (Munich) and Tata Power (Mumbai).

In 2007 he co-founded and was appointed Chair of the Copenhagen Climate Council, a coalition of community, business, and political leaders who came together to confront climate change.

Tim Flannery is currently Professor of Science at Maquarie University, Sydney.

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