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Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  1,177 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
Re-released on the heels of Al Gores #1 New York Times bestseller, An Inconvenient Truth, comes the paperback edition of his classic bestseller, Earth in the Balance. First published in 1992, it helped place the environment on the national agenda; now, as environmental issues move front-and-center in the public consciousness, the time is right to reflect deeply on the fat
Paperback, 407 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by Rodale Books (first published 1992)
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Jun 29, 2012 Kinga rated it did not like it
“We learned, for example, that in some areas of Poland, children are regularly taken underground into deep mines to gain some respite from the buildup of gases and pollution of all sorts in the air. One can almost imagine their teachers emerging tentatively from the mine, carrying canaries to warn the children when it’s no longer safe for them to stay above the ground.”

This is an actual quote. From a book. Written by a Nobel Prize Winner.

It came out around the time I lived in the US on my one ye
Jul 04, 2008 Brett rated it really liked it
Shelves: environment
Gore deserves some serious credit for writing this book in 1992, before it was in vogue to care about the environment. And though things are now worse than when this was written, this book still seemed valuable to me. I have, of course, seen An Inconvient Truth (some bits of which are taken from Earth in the Balance), but this book helped give me a fuller understanding of Gore's thoughts on the environmental crisis.

The first section--"Balance at Risk"--is the strongest. Here is where Gore lays o
Jul 31, 2007 Richard rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Gore-ophiles
I read this right after seeing An Inconvenient Truth because I was curious to see what Gore had done in this format, and also to see how his perception of the environment had changed in the years between the two works.

The problem with this book, and the reason I don't recommend it, is that it's short on science and long on spiritual/religious/newage (rhymes with sewage) malarkey. A book on environmentalism should persuade the reader with facts and explanations, and it should let scientists speak
Pete daPixie
Jan 26, 2009 Pete daPixie rated it really liked it
Shelves: green
Super Al wrote this book in the early 1990's when he was in the Senate. Almost ten years before running for President against Bush. That election has cost world ecology a decade!
Gore's 'Earth in the Balance' is a clear warning given to the human race against it's relentless carbon fuelled rape of mother earth. The ecology issues haven't changed since A.G. wrote the book, they're just more urgent now.
He writes of the dysfunctional human spirit that he traces back to the ideas of Rene Descartes an
Aug 10, 2010 Tresuiri rated it really liked it
An excellent piece of work by Mr. Gore. Although I commiserate his electoral loss, I appreciate his taking the opportunity to produce this work. I agree with the cover, an outstanding piece of leadership in our time of need. I have a new found respect for Mr. Gore. It is depressing that since this book was published, progress has not been meted out to meet the need. If you feel that you want or need to address the global environmental imbalance, this is an excellent resource to put it all in con ...more
Jul 01, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it
I shudder to think that our destructive habits have worsened since "Earth in Balance's" conception in '92. "Earth in Balance" is laden with emotive stories and facts, proceeded by Gore's proposed solutions. Gore's occasional attempts to harmonize religion and environmentalism both impress and amuse, as it has become apparent during the current conservative presence that we must de-polarize the two to achieve success.

The book is far from brief, which, in all honesty, could turn several desired au
Aug 25, 2015 Omar rated it really liked it
"Having attempted in earlier chapters to understand the crisis from the perspectives offered by the earth sciences, economics, sociology, history, information theory, psychology, philosophy, and religion, I now want to examine, from my vantage point as a politician, what I think can be done about it." (270).

It's a remarkable work of synthesis; at times, Gore overstretches (especially the bit about religion), but I can really appreciate his attempt to make the environment the "organizing principl
Dec 19, 2008 Julia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: literature scholars (non-fiction)
Shelves: non-fiction
Long before AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH became famous, Gore wrote EARTH IN THE BALANCE in 1992, an amazing book with detailed research. He had just turned 40, lost the presidential bid, and his 6 year old son had been hit by a car. Gore worked on the book as he sat by his son's hospital bed. If anyone needs proof as to how brilliant this man is, just read this book. On p. 12 he states:

"In the end, we must restore a balance within ourselves between who we are and what we are doing....The more deeply I
Dec 07, 2008 Kurt rated it liked it
The book provides a great overview of many environmental problems the world has experienced or is currently facing. I was expecting it to be more of a discussion on climate change, but it delved into all kinds of topics that one would pick up in an introductory environmental sciences class. For someone with vary little background in this field, I would highly recommend this book. For those who are already pretty well versed in the topic, the book will seem pretty repetitive with what the reader ...more
Jul 07, 2008 Melinda rated it it was amazing
The seeds of "AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH" are right here. Well written by perhaps the smartest man ever "elected" for president of the USA.
Aug 22, 2007 Lynda rated it liked it
I've been a fan of Gore for awhile. I learned the 'inconvenient truth' of what our inaction
has done to the planet. and how clean water will
be scarce worldwide.
Jul 10, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing
Here is the thing: there are too many people creating too much waste and using too many resources for all of this to last for too much longer. Soil, air, water, food...none of the arrows are pointing in the right direction. That's just how it is. Other civilizations have risen, and fallen, because of their inability to exist in harmony with the environment (although never on the scale we are talking about now). I suspect that, at some point--it will seem so sudden!--nature will express her displ ...more
Stuart Dean
Nov 11, 2015 Stuart Dean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Avoiding politics and reviewing this book solely on its literary merits, this is an very well written book. The subject matter is presented in an interesting manner and not at all preachy. Al Gore began his career as a newspaper reporter so he actually knows how to write. And he's been everywhere, from the North Pole to the South Pole(literally), from Taiwan to Kenya and everywhere in between. Many interesting anecdotes fill out the pages.

It is not solely about global warming but also about gene
Jan 23, 2016 Richard rated it it was amazing
Al Gore was front and center before the American people who cry for a leader but never follow. Politician but last, scientifically literate, sociologist, historian...Al Gore is a modern Renaissance man, a 21st century Benjamin Franklin.

In the 2000 election, you can see remember the struggling Democratic establishment whose view was clearly to hold on to the conservative "Blue-dog" Reagan voting Democrats. What more painful reminder is there than Gore's choice of running mate, Joe Lieberman? Tho
Neal Shah
Aug 03, 2007 Neal Shah rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, politics
At this point this book is far more interesting as a historical document than as a standalone work. But it really is a remarkable historical document.

It's hard to understand in an era when even Sarah Palin concedes that some climate change is happening, but it took enormous courage for a major party candidate to unequivocally talk about regulating carbon in the early 1990's. To really get the impact of this book, you have to read it remembering that most people thought Gore was crazy for writing
Mar 30, 2008 +Chaz rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who would like to know what we knew back in the early 1990s
Recommended to +Chaz by: Book store in Biloxi Mississippi after Katrina
This book was written over 14 years ago and the republicans made fun of Gore back then calling him the “ozone man, he’s way out their.” He was also right, and the leaders of the Republicans, the Corporates new it but manipulated their base. If you tell a lie long enough, and stay on track with the message, your base will believe anything. As Hitler said, people are not motivated by sound information, facts, but emotions and feeling (I love that). How can anyone not believe what this book present ...more
Alex Chege
Sep 23, 2014 Alex Chege rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This personally is an incredibly momentous book, Al Gore emphasizes the dire importance of the environmet, the global situation and the fundamental issue with our mental attitue towards climate change and environmental destruction, I love this book and the fact that it was written in 1992 emphasizes its importance as the magnitude of its message seems to increase with every given year. Al Gore can be commended for confronting the global issue from various perspectives be it economic, historical, ...more
Dec 05, 2009 Spenser rated it really liked it
I always hear how extreme Al Gore is on the environment, but reading this book it shows me that everyone else hasn't been taking environmental issues seriously enough. This book was a book about the current events and it is a little difficult to read because of that, but surprisingly most of the problems he points out are still problems. I think anyone who doesn't agree with an environmentalist's point of view should read this book and look at the facts that are pointed out. This is not just a b ...more
João Miranda
May 18, 2015 João Miranda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 3-stars
Estava com vontade de pegar num livro deste tipo. Identifico-me com o autor e com as suas preocupações em relação ao ambiente, numa perspectiva macro. As três estrelas significam algo. Por um lado, tempos informação bastante pertinente sobre as condições actuais, além da contextualização histórica, exemplos de todo o globo, abordagens à filosofia, sociologia e diversidade cultural. Existe informação, identificação do problema e sugestão para o enfrentar. Por outro lado, a ligação demasiado polít ...more
This book was on my reading list for an Environmental Land Use Planning class I took in law school. I was impressed Al Gore had such scientific knowledge and the interest in the subject to write it. Then someone told me that politicians often "collaborate" with ghost writers to get credit as author for books for political purposes. I don't know how much Al Gore was involved in writing this book, but it still was a good book. I am saddened Al Gore was cheated out of becoming the president in a ye ...more
I almost didn't read this because it was published in 1992, and I thought it would be a bit outdated. In some ways, it was, and in some ways it was not. What's really funny is when Al Gore mentions the excess, speed, and fragmentation of information in contemporary society (meaning TV stuff from the 1990s). The funny part is, he said this before Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter.

Parts of this book were tough to get through, especially the end where it is more political. I don't h
Adih Respati
Human civilization economical prowess by, with our knowing or not, geological exploitation (water, air, soil) has lead us to our own threat of survival --our earth is loosing its capabilities to replenish its natural resources. Both household and factories wastes are making things worse.

We are ignorant of their consequences because they take place nowhere near 'our backyards' and too gradually, too. The consequences are now here and ignorance is no more an option. We are challenged to choose bet
Jun 20, 2012 Ayla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found a lot of environmentaly sound practices that I could try to look into implementing in my daily life. the book was full of information that I found astounding and not too unbelievable esp when it came to the Bush administration. It got a little preachy with the "God" and spirtual aspects. But all in all a recommended read if you are seriously interested in the environment, and by the way if you want to cut down on CO2 emissions, eat less meat and drink almond milk, raising cows for meat a ...more
Feb 12, 2008 Charlaralotte rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people
Recommended to Charlaralotte by: Harvard
Shelves: read-in-1992
There was only one class in Environmental Policy when I was Harvard. I took it, and we read this book.

The better story was about the professor. He'd gone to live with a tribe of people in Africa who subsisted entirely on sweet potatoes. Unfortuntately, due to his portly figure, he had to leave the community as he needed too many yams & their supply was suffering.

Also, my final paper was on disposable versus washable diapers. I had an anxiety attack as I had accumulated so much information o
John Wood
Sep 13, 2012 John Wood rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to be informed
The subtitle should be a common sense perspective. Contrary to a popular misconception, Al Gore is definitely not a crackpot. Since this book was written, nearly 100% of scientists believe that global warming is a fact. Gore's ideas about a global Strategic Environmental Initiative are even more urgent today. We would be much closer to overcoming this massive problem had Gore not been cheated out of the presidency in 2000. Unfortunately this book deals mainly with governmental actions and not in ...more
Oct 08, 2008 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was written in 1992 and he spoke a great deal on global warming and what the USA and the world needs to do to prevent it. We haven't made much progress during this time, especially under the Bush years. He mentioned the auto industy several times on how they are going to make better gas effecient cars. The opposite seemed to happen with the SUV's that were sold during this time period. It doesn't look good in my opinion that we are doing much to better improve the quality of our enviro ...more
Jaime Contreras
Aug 18, 2013 Jaime Contreras rated it it was ok
Shelves: science, speculative
Gore uses fear, myth and opinions mixed with some science here to push his ideology. I guess that is okay but it caused me to laugh because that in later times, Gore would criticize the conservatives of using religious rhetoric in the same way. This book comes across as a treatise of the new 'religion' of 'environmentalism.' I do not disagree that the earth does go through changes but this book uses many suppositions without enough scientific data.
Sharon Cameron
Dec 28, 2015 Sharon Cameron added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All interested in good ideas to combat climate change
Terrific. Another important one that I've gone back to over years. The issue I've referred to others is his framework to get control of our overpopulation problem (and how fast it is happening). He suggests 3 ways to get it under control: 1. Cut childhood mortality (so developing countries don't have to have many children to make up for it). 2. Availability of appropriate birth control. 3. Empowerment of women.
David Orellana
Jan 05, 2017 David Orellana rated it really liked it
Buen libro para entender los primeros pasos que se dieron sobre el cambio climático a nivel mundial y como EEUU falló en liderar este ámbito. De igual forma, se tocan puntos importante que como sociedad deberíamos abordar, porque aun muchos de los problemas desarrollados están más vigentes que nunca, a pesar de ser un libro escrito hace casi 25 años. Sin dudas da para pensar que otro mundo viviríamos si Al Gore hubiese sido electo presidente.
Nicole Powell
Dec 21, 2008 Nicole Powell rated it it was amazing
Al Gore has it right on - this book is a must read for anyone that cares about our planet and its people! He presents interesting facts, but balances the shock and awe terror of the crisis the world faces with a human touch - perfect title for this work. I found myself underlining, noting, and highlighting so much of this book that there is hardly a blank page in it. Please read this book and live your life thinking about the Earth in Balance.
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Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. was the forty-fifth Vice President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton. Gore also served in the U. S. House of Representatives (1977–85) and the U. S. Senate (1985–93), representing Tennessee. Gore was the Democratic nominee for president in the 2000 election, ultimately losing to the Republican candidate George W. Bush in spite ...more
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“We can believe in the future and work to achieve it and preserve it, or we can whirl blindly on, behaving as if one day there will be no children to inherit our legacy. The choice is ours; the earth is in balance.” 7 likes
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