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The God Species: Saving the Planet in the Age of Humans
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The God Species: Saving the Planet in the Age of Humans

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  197 ratings  ·  40 reviews
We humans are the God species, both the creators and destroyers of life on this planet. As we enter a new geological era - the Anthropocene - our collective power now overwhelms and dominates the major forces of nature.

But from the water cycle to the circulation of nitrogen and carbon through the entire Earth system, we are coming dangerously close to destroying the plane
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by National Geographic (first published January 1st 2011)
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Michael Quinn
In case you hadn't noticed, the American debate about the major environmental challenges of our times is fundamentally broken. This is the result of a political culture that grows ever more partisan, fueling a discourse that is more vitriolic each day.

On the right, at its worst we have people who deny that any of these issues even exist, preferring the ostrich approach to global problems. At its best, we have people who acknowledge the problems but prefer stalling tactics instead of resolutions
Annette Jarratt-Knock
An holistic view of the impact of humans on the environment based on the planetary boundaries proposed by a group of environmental scientists. These are points beyond which damage to the Earth cannot be recovered or not readily or completely. Refreshing in that it tackles aspects of human impacts other than climate change and imbued with a sense of urgency for action offers potential ways forward whilst acknowledging that the majority of people will not be persuaded by belt tightening and self s ...more
Samyuktha jayaprakash
Beautiful book . Eye opening
A very strong case by Lynas , paving way towards a very practical and pragmatic approach to save our world.
Every boundary is very well explained and I particularly like his growth oriented alternative seeking green approach . The fact that he displays the weakness in his argument himself is heartening. Nuclear , geo engineering and genetics seem to be tantalisingly practicable . The moral scientific distinction is helpful . Also the look into the political workings
Discusses nine "planetary boundaries" which, if passed, could tip us over the edge. The boundaries are: biodiversity, climate change,nitrogen, land use, freshwater, toxics, aerosols, ocean acidification, and the ozone layer.

Two of Lynas' key points that will likely be particularly contriversial are: nuclear-generated electrical power as the main way out of a petrolium-dominated economy; and no need for human population control.
Another excellent book by Mark Lynas, offering a compelling vision for the future and making it clear what the effects of not taking action will be. He's also not afraid to criticise members of the Green movement when they promote policies that simply don't make sense and for this I applaud him. I'm going to recommend this book (and it's prequel: Six Degrees) to everybody I know.
Eric Roston
A terrifically informative and insightful expansion on a key study from the past few years.
Michael Berman
This is a very provocative analysis of the current environmental issues facing the earth. Starting from the assumption that mankind has the power to remake the face of the planet (as we have been doing unintentionally since the first time we burned a savannah), the author looks at how we can avoid crossing, or in some cases, revert back below, certain planetary boundaries. The boundaries--which cover things such as the maximum amount of CO2 in the environment, the maximum sustainable loss of spe ...more
Brandt Kurowski
Not one of the most enjoyable books I've read recently, but certainly one of the most important. I consider it essential reading for anyone who cares about the environment. Be forewarned that Lynas spares no sacred cows in his evidence-based assessment of the problems caused by human influence on Earth, and the solutions. For example:

1. Worried about global warming? Advocate for nuclear power.

2. Concerned about fertilizer run-off? Start eating GMO crops.

3. Want to feed the planet? Stop supportin
Solid science backs rational arguments that ill-informed activists are stopping us from applying viable technical fixes to the environment's real and pressing problems.

A brisk counter-punch to the scientifically-illiterate western middle-class types who hope to persuade the relatively impoverished majority of humanity to give up any hope of a future of increased personal comfort (such as they themselves enjoy) in order to be dirt-poor subsistence farmers, despite the fact that even if we we till
Jan Denn
"Ecological limits are real, economic limits are not." This pretty much summarizes Lynas's book. This is one of the best environmentalist books I've reads so far--clear, comprehensive, provocative, realistic. The God Species incorporates not only ecology but also politics and economics in the environmental-protection arena. His work does not advocate the antitechnological or the "we are morally obligated to protect nature" creed proposed by many Greens. Instead, he uses scientific, historical, a ...more
Megan Blood
Just a few thoughts as I go along:

-The more I learn about science, the more I realize how little we know about anything. For every answer, we open a hundred questions. Which is why it gets irritating to read about thing like evolution and global warming like they're settled in stone. Which isn't to say that I reject evolution/global warming (I don't)--I just reject the idea that we really know what happened/is happening well enough to make huge changes wisely.

-Interesting ideas about putting pri
Karl-Friedrich Lenz
Okay, this is going to be a long review, since I will collect almost all of my blog posts on this book I did last year on Lenz Blog. Here we go.

The god species (1), published July 1, 2011

I am looking forward to the release of Mark Lynas’ newest book “The god species” that is scheduled in a couple of days.

While I plan to discuss it here once I get it on my Kindle, it might be fun to briefly note a couple of thoughts going through my head when reading just that title.

It is obviously true that othe
Loved it! This is my kind of environmentalism.

1. He backs up everything he says with scientific studies.
2. He's not an ideologue. He's willing to break away from traditional environmental rhetoric if that's what the science suggests, specifically when it comes to nuclear energy and genetically modified food.
3. He's an optimist. He doesn't see environmental collapse as inevitable and has many, many reasonable suggestions on ways to approach it.
4. He's practical. He doesn't call for idealistic, Ut
Bricoleur  (David) Soul
This book has been made "unavailable" on Amazon UK as they received a complaint from a customer that What they received was not as described!

This is he message you receive on the Amazon UK web site as of Saturday July 9, 2011:

Item Under Review

This product is not currently offered by because a customer recently told us that the item he or she received was not as described.

We are working to resolve this as quickly as possible. In the meantime, you may still find this product available
Elizabeth Hauke
A very compelling and non-sensational walk through the facts of detrimental human interactions with the earth, which hinges on several key concepts such as the 'tipping point'. It is perhaps a little too detailed for my taste - I found that once the point had been made I wanted to skip on to the next chapter to find out about the next aspect of the problem. However, I did like the practical and down-to-earth suggestion of solutions and actions that could alter the course the planet seems to be s ...more
Joy Wong
Good read about planetary boundaries. Author provides interesting solutions and his take on controversial issues such as nuclear power and food intensification, which is convincing and thought-provoking.
John Kaufmann
A few years ago several scientists proposed a theory in one of the major scientific journals that there are nine planetary boundaries we need to be careful of crossing. Lynas summarizes these for nonscientists and provides much more discussion and elaboration. The attempt is too more clearly define the limits, so we know when we're approaching them or have passed them (p.s. - we have passed some already). This ties the major environmental/ecological issues together in a common framework and make ...more
Lynas provides a good overview of the planetary boundaries that we must figure out how to live within, and challenges the assumptions of many environmentalists on what will be needed to achieve those goals. Ultimately it is hopeful, but a little simplistic in places. While he makes a good case for why nuclear power needs to be part of the solution to climate change, he glosses over the problems of nuclear safety and long-term waste management. I can accept that maybe the risks of climate change ...more
Jörgen Pettersson
Even if I don't always agree with his conclusions I found this book to be a pure pleasure to read.
Brandon Finn
interesting, controversial. I liked this book
Melissa Amaral
This book was a long, thorough, and extremely scientific look at the many factors surrounding global climate change. It was a bit hard to read at times, considering that Lynas takes a much different approach as to how we should combat the environmental crisis than the majority of "greens" today. Despite these differences, I still found it a great read, as it challenged me to think differently about my ideals.
C.B. Brooks
Don't let the title fool you – this is an environmental book about how we can preserve our planet. Very balanced and coherent approach which ends on an optimistic note. Understandable points are made at the beginnings of paragraphs. Those who want to read the data supporting the point can do so or skim ahead. This is a good primer on the various challenges facing us, not just global warming.
Excellent and frightening overview of how we have screwed up the planet and how, if we get moving we might save ourselves without having to resort to genocide or settling on another planet. The author is a journalist, so the science is described at a level most people can understand if they are willing to face the truth.
Great book about various planetary boundaries that mankind faces. Provides a more multifaceted and rational discussion of our environmental challenges than the usual narrative which (nowadays) focuses almost exclusively on climate change and ignores (for example) land use and biodiversity boundaries.
Mar 27, 2013 Sally marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health
So he's an environmentalist who believes GMOs hold the answer, while organic farming is doomed to fail us? Interesting creature. I might just read his book with the same frame of mind I read the pro-vaccine book - to try to understand "the other side."
A completely misleading title; essentially a popularized version of earlier studies on planetary boundaries, mixed with a optimistic view on how to circumvent them. Adds another perspective to the debate on the political implications of an earth with limits.
It's a compelling and informative narrative. However, his solutions of nuclear energy and GMOs raise issues. Storage and safety issues aside, nuclear is much more expensive than alternatives.
Mark De Keyser
Everybody should read this book. It's really enlightning. It learned me that the green fundamentalist are as bad as moslim fundamentalists. In both cases they cause more harm than good.
Good follow up to Six Degrees, mainly informed by Stewart Brand's latest book, in my opinion. I tend to agree with Lynas' views (and Brand's).
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