Plows Plagues and Petroleum

Author: William F. Ruddiman
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400834732
Release Date: 2010-03-22
Genre: Science

The impact on climate from 200 years of industrial development is an everyday fact of life, but did humankind's active involvement in climate change really begin with the industrial revolution, as commonly believed? Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum has sparked lively scientific debate since it was first published--arguing that humans have actually been changing the climate for some 8,000 years--as a result of the earlier discovery of agriculture. The "Ruddiman Hypothesis" will spark intense debate. We learn that the impact of farming on greenhouse-gas levels, thousands of years before the industrial revolution, kept our planet notably warmer than if natural climate cycles had prevailed--quite possibly forestalling a new ice age. Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum is the first book to trace the full historical sweep of human interaction with Earth's climate. Ruddiman takes us through three broad stages of human history: when nature was in control; when humans began to take control, discovering agriculture and affecting climate through carbon dioxide and methane emissions; and, finally, the more recent human impact on climate change. Along the way he raises the fascinating possibility that plagues, by depleting human populations, also affected reforestation and thus climate--as suggested by dips in greenhouse gases when major pandemics have occurred. While our massive usage of fossil fuels has certainly contributed to modern climate change, Ruddiman shows that industrial growth is only part of the picture. The book concludes by looking to the future and critiquing the impact of special interest money on the global warming debate. In the afterword, Ruddiman explores the main challenges posed to his hypothesis, and shows how recent investigations and findings ultimately strengthen the book's original claims.

Earth s Climate

Author: William F. Ruddiman
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9780716784906
Release Date: 2007-10-12
Genre: Science

'Earth's Climate' summarises the major lessons to be learned from 550 million years of climate changes, as a way of evaluating the climatological impact on and by humans in this century. The book also looks ahead to possible effects during the next several centuries of fossil fuel use.

Volcanoes in Human History

Author: Jelle Zeilinga de Boer
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400842858
Release Date: 2012-01-02
Genre: Science

When the volcano Tambora erupted in Indonesia in 1815, as many as 100,000 people perished as a result of the blast and an ensuing famine caused by the destruction of rice fields on Sumbawa and neighboring islands. Gases and dust particles ejected into the atmosphere changed weather patterns around the world, resulting in the infamous ''year without a summer'' in North America, food riots in Europe, and a widespread cholera epidemic. And the gloomy weather inspired Mary Shelley to write the gothic novel Frankenstein. This book tells the story of nine such epic volcanic events, explaining the related geology for the general reader and exploring the myriad ways in which the earth's volcanism has affected human history. Zeilinga de Boer and Sanders describe in depth how volcanic activity has had long-lasting effects on societies, cultures, and the environment. After introducing the origins and mechanisms of volcanism, the authors draw on ancient as well as modern accounts--from folklore to poetry and from philosophy to literature. Beginning with the Bronze Age eruption that caused the demise of Minoan Crete, the book tells the human and geological stories of eruptions of such volcanoes as Vesuvius, Krakatau, Mount Pelée, and Tristan da Cunha. Along the way, it shows how volcanism shaped religion in Hawaii, permeated Icelandic mythology and literature, caused widespread population migrations, and spurred scientific discovery. From the prodigious eruption of Thera more than 3,600 years ago to the relative burp of Mount St. Helens in 1980, the results of volcanism attest to the enduring connections between geology and human destiny. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

Human Impact on Ancient Environments

Author: Charles L. Redman
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
ISBN: 0816519633
Release Date: 1999
Genre: Social Science

Threats to biodiversity, food shortages, urban sprawl . . . lessons for environmental problems that confront us today may well be found in the past. The archaeological record contains hundreds of situations in which societies developed long-term sustainable relationships with their environmentsÑand thousands in which the relationships were destructive. Charles Redman demonstrates that much can be learned from an improved understanding of peoples who, through seemingly rational decisions, degraded their environments and threatened their own survival. By discussing archaeological case studies from around the worldÑfrom the deforestation of the Mayan lowlands to soil erosion in ancient Greece to the almost total depletion of resources on Easter IslandÑRedman reveals the long-range coevolution of culture and environment and clearly shows the impact that ancient peoples had on their world. These case studies focus on four themes: habitat transformation and animal extinctions, agricultural practices, urban growth, and the forces that accompany complex society. They show that humankind's commitment to agriculture has had cultural consequences that have conditioned our perception of the environment and reveal that societies before European contact did not necessarily live the utopian existences that have been popularly supposed. Whereas most books on this topic tend to treat human societies as mere reactors to environmental stimuli, Redman's volume shows them to be active participants in complex and evolving ecological relationships. Human Impact on Ancient Environments demonstrates how archaeological research can provide unique insights into the nature of human stewardship of the Earth and can permanently alter the way we think about humans and the environment.

The Long Thaw

Author: David Archer
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400880775
Release Date: 2016-03-22
Genre: Science

The human impact on Earth's climate is often treated as a hundred-year issue lasting as far into the future as 2100, the year in which most climate projections cease. In The Long Thaw, David Archer, one of the world’s leading climatologists, reveals the hard truth that these changes in climate will be "locked in," essentially forever. If you think that global warming means slightly hotter weather and a modest rise in sea levels that will persist only so long as fossil fuels hold out (or until we decide to stop burning them), think again. In The Long Thaw, David Archer predicts that if we continue to emit carbon dioxide we may eventually cancel the next ice age and raise the oceans by 50 meters. A human-driven, planet-wide thaw has already begun, and will continue to impact Earth’s climate and sea level for hundreds of thousands of years. The great ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland may take more than a century to melt, and the overall change in sea level will be one hundred times what is forecast for 2100. By comparing the global warming projection for the next century to natural climate changes of the distant past, and then looking into the future far beyond the usual scientific and political horizon of the year 2100, Archer reveals the hard truths of the long-term climate forecast. Archer shows how just a few centuries of fossil-fuel use will cause not only a climate storm that will last a few hundred years, but dramatic climate changes that will last thousands. Carbon dioxide emitted today will be a problem for millennia. For the first time, humans have become major players in shaping the long-term climate. In fact, a planetwide thaw driven by humans has already begun. But despite the seriousness of the situation, Archer argues that it is still not too late to avert dangerous climate change--if humans can find a way to cooperate as never before. Revealing why carbon dioxide may be an even worse gamble in the long run than in the short, this compelling and critically important book brings the best long-term climate science to a general audience for the first time. With a new preface that discusses recent advances in climate science, and the impact on global warming and climate change, The Long Thaw shows that it is still not too late to avert dangerous climate change—if we can find a way to cooperate as never before.

The Two Mile Time Machine

Author: Richard B. Alley
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400852246
Release Date: 2014-10-26
Genre: Science

In the 1990s Richard B. Alley and his colleagues made headlines with the discovery that the last ice age came to an abrupt end over a period of only three years. In The Two-Mile Time Machine, Alley tells the fascinating history of global climate changes as revealed by reading the annual rings of ice from cores drilled in Greenland. He explains that humans have experienced an unusually temperate climate compared to the wild fluctuations that characterized most of prehistory. He warns that our comfortable environment could come to an end in a matter of years and tells us what we need to know in order to understand and perhaps overcome climate changes in the future. In a new preface, the author weighs in on whether our understanding of global climate change has altered in the years since the book was first published, what the latest research tells us, and what he is working on next.

What We Know About Climate Change

Author: Kerry Emanuel
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262305143
Release Date: 2012-10-26
Genre: Science

The vast majority of scientists agree that human activity has significantly increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere--most dramatically since the 1970s. Yet global warming skeptics and ill-informed elected officials continue to dismiss this broad scientific consensus. In this new edition of his authoritative book, MIT atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel -- a political conservative -- outlines the basic science of global warming and how the current consensus has emerged. He also covers two major developments that have occurred since the first edition: the most recent round of updated projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate simulations, and the so-called "climategate" incident that heralded the subsequent collapse of popular and political support in the United States for dealing with climate change.

El Ni o in History

Author: César Caviedes
Publisher:
ISBN: UOM:39015053131887
Release Date: 2001
Genre: Nature

Cesar Caviedes provides a comprehensive historical account of El Nino, the fascinating and disruptive weather phenomenon that has affected weather cycles all over the globe for thousands of years. Combining scientific accuracy with readable presentation, he brings together all existing information, references and clues about past El Nino occurrences and their impact on political, military, social, economic and environmental history. This sweeping demonstration of the impact of climatic fluctuation on human history should be fascinating to the scientific community as well as to the general public.

The Cambridge World History Volume 6 The Construction of a Global World 1400 1800 CE Part 1 Foundations

Author: Jerry H. Bentley
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781316297919
Release Date: 2015-04-09
Genre: History

The era from 1400 to 1800 saw intense biological, commercial, and cultural exchanges, and the creation of global connections on an unprecedented scale. Divided into two books, Volume 6 of the Cambridge World History series considers these critical transformations. The first book examines the material and political foundations of the era, including global considerations of the environment, disease, technology, and cities, along with regional studies of empires in the eastern and western hemispheres, crossroads areas such as the Indian Ocean, Central Asia, and the Caribbean, and sites of competition and conflict, including Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean. The second book focuses on patterns of change, examining the expansion of Christianity and Islam, migrations, warfare, and other topics on a global scale, and offering insightful detailed analyses of the Columbian exchange, slavery, silver, trade, entrepreneurs, Asian religions, legal encounters, plantation economies, early industrialism, and the writing of history.

Megadisasters

Author: Florin Diacu
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691133508
Release Date: 2010
Genre: Business & Economics

Explains cataclysmic events--including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and financial crashes--and details the mathematical modeling that researchers use to predict when the next big disaster will strike.

Trees Knots and Outriggers

Author: Frederick H. Damon
Publisher: Berghahn Books
ISBN: 9781785332333
Release Date: 2016-10-30
Genre: Social Science

Trees, Knots and Outriggers (Kaynen Muyuw) is the culmination of twenty-five years of work by Frederick H. Damon and his attention to cultural adaptations to the environment in Melanesia. Damon details the intricacies of indigenous knowledge and practice in his sweeping synthesis of symbolic and structuralist anthropology with recent developments in historical ecology. This book is a long conversation between the author's many Papua New Guinea informants, teachers and friends, and scientists in Australia, Europe and the United States, in which a spirit of adventure and discovery is palpable.

Life 3 0

Author: Max Tegmark
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9781101946602
Release Date: 2017-08-29
Genre: Technology & Engineering

New York Times Best Seller How will Artificial Intelligence affect crime, war, justice, jobs, society and our very sense of being human? The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology—and there’s nobody better qualified or situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor who’s helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial. How can we grow our prosperity through automation without leaving people lacking income or purpose? What career advice should we give today’s kids? How can we make future AI systems more robust, so that they do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked? Should we fear an arms race in lethal autonomous weapons? Will machines eventually outsmart us at all tasks, replacing humans on the job market and perhaps altogether? Will AI help life flourish like never before or give us more power than we can handle? What sort of future do you want? This book empowers you to join what may be the most important conversation of our time. It doesn’t shy away from the full range of viewpoints or from the most controversial issues—from superintelligence to meaning, consciousness and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos.

Pollutants Human Health and the Environment

Author: Jane A. Plant
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 9780470742600
Release Date: 2012-03-05
Genre: Science

Pollutants, Human Health and the Environment is a comprehensive, up-to-date overview of environmental pollutants that are of current concern to human health. Clearly structured throughout, the main body of the book is divided by pollutant type with a chapter devoted to each group of pollutants. Each chapter follows a similar format to facilitate comparison and discussion. For each pollutant, the authors describe the sources, pathways, environmental fate and sinks as well as known toxicological effects. Importantly, the second chapter on heavy metals and other inorganic substances deals with trace element deficiencies which can have serious problems for human health. Some rocks and soils are naturally low in some trace elements and intensive agriculture over the past half century has effectively mined many trace elements reducing their levels in soils and crops. The final chapter is a discussion about the various risk assessment frameworks and regulations covering the main pollutants. Comprehensive, up-to-date coverage of environmental pollutants of concern to human health Clearly divided into pollutant type with each chapter devoted to a different pollutant group Clearly structured throughout with the same format for each chapter to help facilitate comparison and discussion and enable readers to prioritise chemicals of concern Description of the sources, pathways, environmental fate and known toxicological effect Includes contributions from leading researchers and edited by a team of experts in the field

Living in the Environment Principles Connections and Solutions

Author: G. Tyler Miller
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781133169543
Release Date: 2011-01-01
Genre: Science

Sustainability is the integrating theme of this current and thought-provoking book. LIVING IN THE ENVIRONMENT provides the basic scientific tools for understanding and thinking critically about the environment. Co-authors G. Tyler Miller and Scott Spoolman inspire students to take a positive approach toward finding and implementing useful environmental solutions in their own lives and in their careers. Updated with the most up-to-date information, art, and Good News examples, the text engages and motivates students with vivid case studies and hands-on quantitative exercises. The concept-centered approach transforms complex environmental topics and issues into key concepts that students will understand and remember. Overall, by framing the concepts with goals for more sustainable lifestyles and human communities, students see how promising the future can be. Important Notice: Media content referenced within the product description or the product text may not be available in the ebook version.