Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet
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Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  81 ratings  ·  24 reviews
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 Earth's crust and atmosphere, as well as the transformation of the plan...more
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Published April 5th 2011 by Grove/Atlantic, Inc. (first published March 28th 2011)
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Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet is intended as a popular science book that explains how the natural history of humanity has impacted the environment. At its heart are two theories of, basically, how Earth works. One is the Medea hypothesis, in which species naturally cause their own self-destruction by exploiting resources to the point of collapse. The other is the Gaia hypothesis, where Earth regulates itself (like homeostasis). The central purpose of the book is to determine whe...more
tim flannery's reputation for lucid, potent writing has led to wide acclaim for his previous books (especially the weather makers, the future eaters, and the eternal frontier). as an eminent scientist and environmental activist, flannery's expertise is readily apparent, but it may also be the accessibility of his work that has made them so popular. here on earth is an engaging, expansive work that teeters between achingly frustrating and refreshingly hopeful.

here on earth's (american edition) su...more
I felt so insignificant reading this knowing we are just a mere blip in time on this earth having just been the most recent ape species (Homo sapiens)to have migrated out of Africa over the last 50,000 years.

Yet in this very short period, it's a bit depressing knowing that "we've eaten our way through one resource after the other as we've spread around the the point of our own destruction". Every part of this planet we have colonized over the last 50,000 years included the disappea...more
Maya Panika
A full history of Earth’s development, from first inception to the present day, this is a concise, yet detailed and inclusive investigations into the effects of human interference on our delicately-balanced planetary systems by means of a history of scientific and philosophical thought.

Tim Flannery has developed a philosophy of ecology that is clearly inspired by James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis and refreshingly unimpressed by the ideas of Richard Dawkins. Asking the fundamental question, ‘what...more
Alison Dellit
By the end of the last Tim Flannery book I read, I was pretty convinced he viewed humans as a boom-bust species, one destined to destroy itself and take a fair bit of its habitat with it, through expansion beyond what could be sustained. I suspect I wasn't the only one, because this book reads as an attempt to refute that notion, (which here Flannery dubs Medean), and to posit an alternative view of humanity, one in which our ability to cooperate and seek balance triumphs over consumerism to ext...more
As almost a sequel to his best selling book Weather Makers, Tim Flannery has presented what many would call a cogent argument against our borderline Medean society, in favour of a Gaian outlook.

This book has received high praise from the standard reviewers, even enjoying a listing as A Globe and Mail – Best Book of the Year. But I can’t say I agree with them. I don’t necessarily disagree with the science of Here on Earth, but I wasn’t impressed with the manner in which that science was presented...more
This book is a marketing case of bait-and-switch. It is presented as a natural history of the planet from its molten beginnings through the evolution of man. It sounded incredibly interesting, but when I got it and tore into I found that it was something completely different.

This book is a combination of what to me was light-weight philosophy accompanied by lighter-weight science or even pseudoscience in the form of a focus on Lovelock's late 1970s Gaia Hypothesis. I mean heavyweight scientists...more
Not a natural history of the earth. Disappointed. Lots of Gaia silliness which always relies on poor analogy and tenuous connections cherry picked from discreet cases. Some parts, about global warming and ecosystems out of balance were good and even interesting, but all in all, not super happy with my choice to read this book.
Judy Winchester
Not finished yet, but I have peeked ahead and love it.

Tim Flannery has an optimistic vision for the future of Earth and its ecology, including humanity. This is in spite of the damage we have already inflicted on the earth, air, water and life of our planet.

However he also offers a warning.

After presenting a very readable ecological history of humanity on Earth, Tim Flannery says "If our civilization can just survive this century, I believe its future prospects will be profoundly enhanced, for...more
Chris Demer
Tim Flannery is a wonderful writer, able to distill complex concepts and make them very available to the average educated reader. In this book he describes some of the geological history of the planet and the impact of humans on the planet, starting with the agricultural revolution. He does not shy away from the sometimes extreme damage humans have inflicted on Earth, but is hopeful that with modern thinking and will combined with technology, Gaia can rebound and flourish. He also presents an id...more
I really enjoyed the scope of this book and selected it as my December 2010 Book Pick of the Month at The book lets you believe that things could change if we really made an effort. Flannery is also able to cut through a lot of the detail to provide a high level synopsis of some of the main points to the climate change debate.

Check out my full review at
I wish this book were a natural history of the planet. Instead it is a rambling, extended sermon full of "Oh Gosh ecology," naive elitism, and the sort of fuzzy thinking that gives liberalism a bad name. And it's too bad, because the book does have much interesting information and many intriguing concepts for solving many of the large-scale challenges facing humanity. Unfortunately the author is so undisciplined that the book is a wandering mish-mash.
Rob Russell
Fantastic book even if it is a little hard going in places. It makes understanding the Gaia theory for the planet so much easier than other things I've read. I have read several Tim Flannery books and they never fail to impress. He is excellent at getting the science across in an enjoyable read. I would recommend this anyone who wants an introduction to the history and possible future of earth and humanities influence on the planet.
Jeff Derosa
Very good introduction/refresher to earth science and ecology. Very well-written; easy to read. The content was quite similar to Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" which is far more entertaining than this book. However, if you're looking for some quick knowledge in an easy to consume package, then this book will do the trick. In fact, I'd recommend reading both. But start with this one.
The book is well-written and engaging but the science in it just feels off somehow, big-time triggering the old BS meter. Some if the ideas are certainly valid but the conclusions drawn don't often connect with the evidence given, and usually ignore obvious counter evidence.
Kalin Schoephoerster
Tim Flannery writes about science in an intelligent yet understandable way. Here on Earth brings to light the way the world works, the state it is in, and our hope for saving it. It could also be described as the life and evolution of the Gaia system.
Very informative and interesting, Flannery touches such topics as climate change and toxic waste from nuclear tests, but also pesticides and evolution etc.It all ties up to show a rather grim reality of the planet Earth.
Very informative and interesting take on the evolution and natural history of our planet. For those of you who really believe and want to understand more how and why humans are affecting our environment, this is a most read.
Sara E.
Full of interesting anecdotes and ideas. I think he's giving Lovelock to much of a stage though, who has lately proven that he has no idea what he's talking about when talking about the climate problem.
Anyone at all that's interested in the future of the Earth should read this book. The author presents some amazing facts and backs them up with numbers.
Jonathan Chester
Excellent ..One of the most original thinkers on global warming and climate change .. and an Aussie to boot.
Every single man, woman, and child on Earth should read this book.
Mohdalshawan alshawan
its gives a a great explanation of our future on earth
Mary Rose
Couldn't finish it. Too dull.
Jul 05, 2011 PWRL marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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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 Premiers Literary Prizes for B...more
More about Tim Flannery...
The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples Throwim Way Leg: Tree-Kangaroos, Possums, and Penis Gourds A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals

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