Earth in Our Care: Ecology, Economy, and Sustainability

Earth in Our Care: Ecology, Economy, and Sustainability

Earth in Our Care: Ecology, Economy, and Sustainability

Earth in Our Care: Ecology, Economy, and Sustainability

Synopsis

"What about the twenty-first century? Will we finally accept our responsibilities as guardians of planet Earth, the biological living trust, for the beneficiaries, the children of today, tomorrow, and beyond? Or, will it too be a century of lethal, economic struggle among the polarized positions of the supremely dysfunctional among us? Are they--once again--to be allowed to determine the legacy we, as a society, as a nation, bequeath those who follow us? The choice is ours, the adults of the world. How shall we choose?"

So writes Chris Maser in this compelling study of three interactive spheres of the ecosystem: atmosphere (air), litho-hydrosphere (rock that comprises the restless continents and the water that surrounds them), and biosphere (all life sandwiched in between).

Rich in detail and insightful analogies, Earth in Our Care addresses key issues including land-use policies, ecological restoration, forest management, local living, and sustainability thinking. Exploring our interconnectedness with the Earth, Maser examines today's problems and, more importantly, provides solutions for the future.

Excerpt

Earth’s social, environmental, and economic fabric is being threatened from all sides by such challenges as global warming, violence, poverty, and general environmental degradation caused by unsustainable use of Earth’s resources. Nations in the West, whose economies became industrialized early, bear the brunt of responsibility for damage done to the environment so far. Nevertheless, as densely populated countries, like China, India, and Brazil, quickly transition to technologybased, consumer economies, demands for Earth’s resources might reach a breaking point.

As Chris Maser puts it, fulfilling our obligation as environmental trustees of Earth as a biological living trust requires fundamental changes in our social consciousness and cultural norms. To meet these challenges, we need to fundamentally reframe our way of thinking. Instead of arbitrarily delineating our seamless world into discrete parts, we need a holistic approach—one that acknowledges the interconnectedness of causes and effects, actions and consequences. Knowledge of systems is essential if we are to pass a habitable, healthy planet to future generations. Proper trusteeship is critical to maintaining the Earth’s ability to produce, nourish, and maintain life. Without it, we risk becoming the originators of our own demise.

But what is systems thinking, and how can we harness it to put our planet on a sustainable course? Systems thinking goes to and deals with the root cause of a problem; it is the opposite of symptomatic thinking, which deals with the world in piecemeal fashion. in this book, Maser reviews some of the factors that relate to the workings, services, and resilience of our planet—from nature’s biophysical principles to the role of ignorance and knowledge, to the tradeoffs of every decision and action, to ever-changing landscape patterns, to the never-ending cycles of cause and effect, and so on. in doing so, he makes a unique and simultaneous use of both scientific and philosophical reasoning in articulating how the Earth works according to the immutable biophysical laws that govern it. the book goes beyond superficial recommendations, however, to call for self-conquest as a fundamental foundation for social-environmental sustainability; through selfconquest individuals can bring their thoughts and behaviors in line with biophysical laws and, acting locally, can then change the world for the better.

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