Saturday, June 10, 2006

Audio of The Week: Interviews Of--Lester Brown, Elizabeth Klobert and Tim Flannery

A couple of weeks back I pointed out 3 good books that where being reviewed on treehugger. Books by Lester Brown, Elizabeth Kloebert and Tim Flannery.

Here are three audio interviews, one with each of the authors along with brief book reviews via amazon:

Lester Brown

"Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute, believes that "we can build an economy that does not destroy its natural support systems, a global community where the basic needs of all the earth's people are satisfied, and a world that will allow us to think of ourselves as civilized." Brown (Eco-Economy) backs up his argument with clear and well-reasoned text that outlines how to solve the world's severe environmental problems. According to Brown, the earth's populations are currently living in a bubble economy based on reckless consumption of natural resources. Because of water shortages, soil erosion and rising temperatures, grain production has seriously fallen off. If this situation continues, especially in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent, hunger and disease will prevail and lead to disastrous consequences for the entire world. Drawing on careful research, Brown outlines the details of Plan B, a committed global cooperative effort to raise water and land productivity, cut carbon emissions and stabilize population growth before time runs out. He provides many individual success stories, such as the Netherlands' embrace of the bicycle for transportation instead of the environmentally poisonous automobile. Since 1989, Iran has cut its spiraling population growth through education and access to contraception. In this measured plea, Brown points out that for Plan B to be adopted worldwide, it desperately needs the leadership of the U.S., as the wealthiest nation on earth, to change its focus and resources from a military presence to one that fosters a global economy that will sustain generations to come. "

Elizabeth Kloebert

"on the burgeoning shelf of cautionary but occasionally alarmist books warning about the consequences of dramatic climate change, Kolbert's calmly persuasive reporting stands out for its sobering clarity. Expanding on a three-part series for the New Yorker, Kolbert (The Prophet of Love) lets facts rather than polemics tell the story: in essence, it's that Earth is now nearly as warm as it has been at any time in the last 420,000 years and is on the precipice of an unprecedented "climate regime, one with which modern humans have had no prior experience." An inexorable increase in the world's average temperature means that butterflies, which typically restrict themselves to well-defined climate zones, are now flitting where they've never been found before; that nearly every major glacier in the world is melting rapidly; and that the prescient Dutch are already preparing to let rising oceans reclaim some of their land. In her most pointed chapter, Kolbert chides the U.S. for refusing to sign on to the Kyoto Accord. In her most upbeat chapter, Kolbert singles out Burlington, Vt., for its impressive energy-saving campaign, which ought to be a model for the rest of the nation—just as this unbiased overview is a model for writing about an urgent environmental crisis."

Tim Flannery

"Mammologist and paleontologist Flannery (The Eternal Frontier), who in recent years has become well known for his controversial ideas on conservation, the environment and population control, presents a straightforward and powerfully written look at the connection between climate change and global warming. It's destined to become required reading following Hurricane Katrina as the focus shifts to the natural forces that may have produced such a devastating event. Much of the book's success is rooted in Flannery's succinct and fascinating insights into related topics, such as the differences between the terms greenhouse effect, global warming and climate change, and how the El Niño cycle of extreme climatic events "had a profound re-organising effect on nature." But the heart of the book is Flannery's impassioned look at the earth's "colossal" carbon dioxide pollution problem and his argument for how we can shift from our current global reliance on fossil fuels [...]. Flannery consistently produces the hard goods related to his main message that our environmental behavior makes us all "weather makers" who "already possess all the tools required to avoid catastrophic climate change."

Thanks to radio ecoshock for these.

postscript: climate change; scieceA; audioA

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1 Comments:

At 4:24 AM, Anonymous oisín said...

I've just started on the Lester Brown book.
What is so important is the way everything is interconnected - a point that is overlooked in the mainstream, where global warming is portayed as a tiresome growth of itchy plants, the loss of a few beaches and ski resorts and the northwards migration of vineyards.
Crop failure as a result of global warming is a scary prospect and Brown's book shows clearly that we are already living beyond our means as far as food production is concerned.
So... photosynthesis stops above 40°C, but compound that heat with water tables that have been drained for over ambitious irrigation projects, soil erosion caused by the optimistic tilling of marginal lands, declining snowpack, increasing population - stick it all together and you'll want to do more than just change your lightbulbs...

 

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