Uses an integrated systems approach to provide a panoramic view of planetary dynamics since the inception of life some four billion years ago and to identify principles for responsible management of the global environment in the future. Perceiving our planet as a single entity with hypercomplex, often unpredictable behavior, the authors use Earth system analysis to study global changes past and future. They explore the question of whether the unprecedented human-originated changes transforming the ecosphere today will end a 10,000-year period of climate stability.
The book presents the complete story of the inseparably intertwined evolution of life and matter on Earth, focusing on four major topics: long-term geosphere-biosphere interaction and the possibility of using extrasolar planets to test various geophysical hypotheses; the Quaternary Earth System's modes of operation; current planetary dynamics under human pressure; and transition to global sustainability. Written by leading figures in the disciplines of geology, climatology, evolution, biochemistry, microeconomics, and institutions theory, Earth System Analysis for Sustainability analyzes the driving forces behind global change and uses this knowledge to propose principles to propose principles for global stewardship.
This is an excellent synthesis of the elements that make up the emerging field of Earth system science. Leading global change scientists have pushed the boundaries of conventional science programs, producing a highly readable, challenging, and in part provocative book about Earth in the Anthropocene. It ranges across time, space, and disciplines, from Earth's deep history to astrobiology. If we are to achieve sustainability at a global scale, many people--in science and policy--need to read and understand this book. --Brian Walker, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Australia, and Program Director of The Resilience Alliance
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