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Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,348 ratings  ·  94 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
Paperback, 407 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by Rodale Books (first published 1992)
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Jun 29, 2012 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 its 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 year
Jul 04, 2008 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
Jul 31, 2007 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
Ruxandra Seniuc
This could have been such a great book, really. I notice with disappointment several cunning strategies applied in the political world: whereas Gore does justice to the underdeveloped countries (except anything that had to do with the Soviets, they were perceived as the ultimate devils in the 1990s, apparently), he uses these observations in order to support his future political claims, favouring US interventionism as a way of 'educating' and bringing 'democratic values' to other 'dysfunctional ...more
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How do you get people to grasp the seriousness of this problem?

Al Gore tried. Now Republicans think it is a "partisan issue."

The fact that he wrote this in 1992 is what good citizenship is all about.

There are some offbeat passages in the book that make it interesting. For example, he speaks about dysfunctional families. The result of a long period of dependence on the nurturing parent during infancy and childhood meant that the children of such families "will absorb and integrate the
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
How to rate an almost 30yo book on a topic that Ive read/studied extensively (including Gores own An Inconvenient Truth and Our Choice)...
Some material is unavoidably dated, but a lot is still very relevant today (sometimes scarily so).
Aug 10, 2010 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 ...more
Pete daPixie
Jan 26, 2009 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
Jul 01, 2008 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
Dec 19, 2008 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
Aug 25, 2015 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
Dec 07, 2008 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
Aug 22, 2007 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 07, 2008 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.
I listened to the abridged audio book narrated by the author.

The book was initially written in 1992. The audio version I listened to was digitally remastered in 2010 and cut down to a little less than 3 hours. Even though the book was written quite a while ago, the book is still mostly relevant today. It is helpful to keep in mind when the book was written though.

The book contains good information about man's negative impact on the planet and how smart policies at the global level can improve
Allison Streeter
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fiiiiiiiiiinally finished this. I've been reading it for over a month. Life has held some big changes in the last few months so I haven't had time to read but I've been chipping away at it recently. This book was so beautiful. Probably the closest book I wood refer to as my bible. It's take on the environment and human spirituality was so lovely. This was written before An Inconvenient Truth and imo is much, much better. This is probably my favorite book I've read concerning environmental issues ...more
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I borrowed this from a library in my ward in Tokyo (they had it!) and was in awe at not just how well written it is, not just that it has solutions and ways for the US to lead, but how it seems to envisage the Global Goals/Millennium Development Goals.

Truly ahead of his time, with accolades from Bill Moyers and Carl Sagan, replete with a 300-book bibliography.

biblio has it on sale, too.
Daniel Geiger
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Climate crisis is happening. We should've listened Al Gore's concerns instead of mocking him. He should've won the election in 2000.
Henry James
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's horrifying that this book was written 26 years ago and there are people who still think climate change is fake...
I have 3 different editions.
Jul 10, 2011 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 ...more
Stuart Dean
Nov 11, 2015 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
Jan 23, 2016 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?
Mar 30, 2008 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, hes 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 presented ...more
Neal Shah
Aug 03, 2007 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
Alex Chege
Sep 23, 2014 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 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 ...more
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
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 ...more
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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 (197785) and the U. S. Senate (198593), 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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