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Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist's Journey to Climate Skepticism [Paperback]

Jim Steele
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 Jun 2013
For 25 years, as director of San Francisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus, Jim Steele has opened the eyes and ears of countless students to the magic of California’s Sierra Nevada. His first book, Landscapes and Cycles, An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism will likewise open your minds. It compares the effects of landscape changes, natural cycles and climate change on polar bears, whales, walruses, penguins, frogs, pika, butterflies and marine ecosystems. Although it is wise to think globally, all wildlife reacts locally and all regions of the earth have been behaving very differently from what a globally averaged statistic might suggest. Despite media horror stories, many species have benefitted from recent climate change. Those species that are struggling have invariably been affected by issues other than climate change and require very different remedies. Controlling our carbon footprints will never address the most pressing issues of habitat loss and watershed degradation. Landscapes and Cycles juxtaposes environmental optimism and with concern. It celebrates the work of conservationists and scientists whose tireless efforts have enabled the full recovery of a great many species. On the other hand it presents withering criticism against the politicization of climate change and those who have hijacked key environmental issues to the detriment of good environmental stewardship. Steele highlights how faulty science and bad models have misguided critical conservation efforts and misrepresented conservation success. Most distressing Landscapes and Cycles reveals how global warming advocates have opposed appropriate conservation efforts simply because the concerned scientists did not blame climate change. Landscapes and Cycles demystifies both climate science and conservation science in a manner easily understood by everyone. In easily grasped terms Steele explains how natural cycles can cause abrupt climate change and extreme weather events and how those events affect wildlife. If we want to be good stewards of the environment, understanding those natural cycles are essential. Landscapes and Cycles outlines how we can build a more resilient environment and provides a much-needed perspective from which we can better separate sincere concerns from the overzealous catastrophic predictions that dominate the media. Landscapes and Cycles highlights what we need to look for during the next 10 years in order to determine if the “control knob” of global climate change is natural cycles or the rising concentration of carbon dioxide. Until then Steele argues now more than ever, we need to have more transparent and respectful debates to move the science forward. Landscapes and Cycles will enlighten anyone concerned with climate change and the fate of endangered species. Not only is it fascinating reading for the general public, it should required reading for every high school and college environmental studies class.

Product details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (30 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1490390189
  • ISBN-13: 978-1490390185
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 17.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 378,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vital book 3 Nov 2013
At last a really clear-headed book about climate change from a conservation biologist. At a time when invasive species, habitat loss and biofuels are threatening wild habitats all around the world, the conservation community has become obsessed with climate change, which is proving to have trivial or beneficial effects on most ecosystems. Steele relentlessly exposes some examples of very bad science. His determined attempt to track down the truth about the effect of climate change on butterfly range is fascinating and well told. A fine book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars climate changes, and... 20 Oct 2013
Climate, as even climate alarmists agree, changes all the time. It changes locally. Creatures die individually, extinctions happen when all the creatures die or when all the climate changes.
This book follows some famous extinctions or population declines and goes through the science and the way in which it is presented to us plebs. It's not a pretty picture.
Jim Steele, now retired as a conservation academic, shows through examples the way that publicly funded researchers have systematically hacked the climate debate to push a CO2 culprit. But according to Steele, the cause of die-offs are various: a virus for frogs, El Nino for droughts, and so forth. Some claims by environmentalists are simply not true: emperor penguins and polar bears are at population maximum. The major cause is decades long variation of ocean currents or sunspots.
The chapter and verse in this book is hair raising. How so called scientists can fix the data, ignore conflicting evidence, collude to exclude counter arguments, all the while collecting public money is a scandal. There are plenty of "peer reviewed" journals (no doubt the UFOTimes is also peer reviewed by other nutters) but to find prestige outfits like Science and Nature doing it too is sobering.
The debate has become excessively polarised and politicised. Who is responsible? Not Big Oil, but Big Science, which is driving itself into a cul-de-sac in defence of a hypothesis which doesn't fit the facts.
Alas, this book will be read more by sceptics to confirm their views than by warmists who wish to challenge their own views. And as it seems to be a print-on-demand product the graphics are sort of out of focus. But despite the high detail of how warmist science changes its spots to fix the data from one academic paper to the next, it's an easy and enlightening, and alarming read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Look down before you look up 29 Aug 2014
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As the author remarks somewhere the global view does not account for local climatic variation and vice versa. The material in his book is a valuable corrective to the current popular dogma that the wildlife is about to fry under the influence of CO2 emissions for which we are all responsible. This has the same aura as sin in medieval times for which we are all responsible and for which God will punish us, only with less evidence. Evidence is needed and here it is: climatic variation, butterflies, polar bears and penguins; creatures living blameless lives remote from average temporature measurements and retreating before our remorseless lust for land in increasing inhospitable habitats. The war is local and though politicians mesmerised by fame seek global prominence and a place in history the outcome will merely be that your money will be spent on hare-brained schemes and not on protecting hares from extinction. You will be derided for forbidding the felling of a wood and repopulating a pasture with tiny plants but applauded for supporting a scheme to soak up CO2 in rocks to be dropped in the sea. It isn't about CO2, its about the ground you are standing on. Of course many will be bored by facts so this is not for you, but if you want to understand the ground you are standing on and want to help the creatures that live there, read.

I give it four stars because it needs editing and deserves better design but if you are a sceptic like me, buy it. This the real world.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CO2/Global Warming Debate Closed? 13 July 2013
By John McCormick - Published on Amazon.com
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Jim Steele has authored a very readable book regarding the concerns that he shares with many respected climatologist and scientist in related fields have with the direct connection between the increase of atmospheric CO2, its impact on Global Warming, and the predicted demise of several animal species, i.e. Polar Bears. In fact, is there really "Global" warming? The author is concerned that unscientific attempts have been made--urged on by sensationalized media reports--to deem CO2/Global Warming as a fait accompli, and to marginalize, if not completely stifle any scientific debate on the topic. Mr. Steele points out what can only be described as glaring inconsistent, if not outright manipulated data, being used to support the CO2/Global Warming bias. All the author's is contentions in this regard are supported with copious graphs that contradict accept Global Warming views, and explains how machination of statistics have been used to foster the CO2/Global Warming bias. Mr. Steele points out how natural cycles, such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation among many others, better fits the current climatological trend. In fact, the data of the past 10 years is causing a certain amount of angst among the leading proponents of Global Warming as they squirm to make the data fit their predictions. Perhaps Mr. Steele's strongest point is that the obsession with Global Warming will have an unfair impact on funding for local environmental projects as these efforts have had a significant and direct impact on the survival of plant and animal species. Whether you are irrevocably tied to the CO2 Global Warming hypothesis or are a skeptic--I'm uncomfortable with the term denier as it is in my mind a pejorative term not keeping with open scientific debate--the wealth of information provided regarding the many complicated factors affecting the climate of our third planet from the sun is worth the price alone.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book For The Open Minded Thinking Person 1 Aug 2013
By Long Time Outdoors Woman - Published on Amazon.com
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I chose this book because I am a curious naturalist who has often wondered how "global warming" could be defined by one number, the "average" global temperature and how it could be caused almost exclusively by a single factor, the rising concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. After reading "Landscapes and Cycles: an Environmentalist's Journey to Climate Skepticism", I am convinced that Jim Steele's view of climate change caused by multiple factors, including naturally occurring cycles between warmth and cold in the world's oceans and changes in land use on a local scale, are a much more realistic explanation than the prevailing hypothesis.

The author presents volumes of data from actual weather station records that show average temperatures declining over recent decades in many places. He also documents his points with chart after chart supporting his conclusions. He also explains how and why climate scientists manipulate data to smooth out irregularities, sometimes with sound statistical justification, sometimes not.

He has packed this book with so many proven examples of locally caused climate change for so many species, and so many locations around the globe, that an open-minded reader cannot help but raise her or his eyebrows. The heavily footnoted narrative cites 999 references on which the author's assertions are based. His sources are listed for anyone interested interested in fact checking his points.

Steele is not a denier of climate change; he simply argues for a wider, more realistic, multifaceted scientific basis for it. He quotes the work of top researchers at renowned universities world wide to buttress his conclusions.

Most disconcerting to me is the fact that so many U S government funded climate policy groups, professional scientific organizations and respected publications have done such a poor job of peer review. The basic principles of scientific investigation and reporting are being ignored in a rush to judgement. The efforts of these groups combine to raise fear in ordinary citizens and elicit even more funding in a self serving attempt to defend the prevailing view. This is scarier to me than the CO2 caused catastrophe they are predicting. A good example of this "group think" phenomenon is the nasty review above by someone who admits he or she has not the read book.

Landscapes and Cycles is written for the general audience. I recommend it highly to anyone with an interest in climate change.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality and Perspective 23 Sep 2013
By J. Kelley - Published on Amazon.com
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Jim Steele's very well researched and referenced book is a must have for those interested in the climate debate. It is well written and the logic and thought arguments are clear and well crafted. I have been working professionally as a geologist and educator in the high latitudes, from 82 degrees north to 68 degrees south, for over 20 years. I have seen changes during that time in both the Arctic and the Antarctic. The popular explanation has always been that any change is negative, even if it is actually benefiting ecosystems and the lifeforms within them. Landscapes & Cycles does an excellent job of explaining how natural variability in climate systems can account for the changes seen at the poles, and elsewhere. I recommend this book for anyone wanting the tools and scientific literature to refute the ever present argument: Climate change is anthropogenic and begins and ends with the production of carbon dioxide. The earths spheres of influence upon climate are many (geosphere, cryosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and these all interact with the atmosphere. The climate change debate could include all of them, but has been reduced to one constituent gas in one rhelm. The earth's climate is simply not that simple, and Jim Steel's book explains why.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A critical piece of the climate discussion 2 Aug 2013
By Amy White - Published on Amazon.com
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Make no mistake: This is not a denier manifesto. On the contrary, this book is a compilation of thousands of hours of research -- hands-on by Mr. Steele as well as his analyses of scores of others' research -- that underscores the critical need to avoid a pat, one-size-fits-all explanation for possible climage changes. He answers the simplistic rising-CO2/weather change proponents with researched responses from agencies and individuals. Mr. Steele teaches about the enormous and often decades- or even centuries-long climate trends that directly affect our local weather, such as the very complex interaction of the El Nino-La Nina Oscillation and global zones of high pressure.

This is not to say that we should not do whatever we can to minimize our individual and community carbon footprints: carpool and find other modes of transportation, conserve energy, recycle, etc. But Mr. Steele urges the reader to look to local regions and make an effort to understand the complex interactions among the flora and fauna (inculding us, of course) and then look for ways to act in the best interests of our home environments; he says, "Good stewards of the environment are compelled to engage in good science" (79). He cites his own direct research at the San Francisco State University's Sierra Nevada Field Campus, and shows that often we can help the environment the most by getting out of the way of natural cycles. He says, "If humans truly want to help the environment, help wildlife, and improve local climate, [then] restoring watersheds and natural stream flow will provide far greater benefits than trying to control CO2 levels" (70). This book does the greatest service possible to us non-scientists: It empowers us with the understanding of how our comparatively small individual efforts can truly change the world.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Biologists View of Climate Change 27 Oct 2013
By fred - Published on Amazon.com
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My training is in Biology and I had lots of problems with the so called consensus theory of CO2 driven global warming. This is a thorough discussion of exactly how and why this theory is failing to operate in many biological systems and how fraud and sloppy science has falsely promoted this CO2 theory.

There are many documented cases and stories to back this differing view of the global climate effects. The author and I share the concern that money is being spent on solutions that will not positively affect natural systems and indeed are likely to harm them.

I am completely happy with my purchase.

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