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Here on Earth: A New Beginning [Kindle Edition]

Tim Flannery
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Everyone's invited

Tim Flannery is here to offer us a change of perspective. And he is here to inspire us. He invites us to consider again our place on earth, what it really means to be alive.

Here on Earth is a revolutionary dual biography of the planet and of our species. Flannery reimagines the history of earth, from its earliest origins as a chaotic ball of elemental gases to the teeming landscape we currently call home. It is a remarkable story. How did life first emerge here? What forces have shaped it? Why did humans come to dominate? And when did we start to have an impact? More importantly, how has this changed us as a species?

The awesome hand of nature has never been better portrayed than in this book. Nor, remarkably, the transformative power of ideas. From the most intense competition for survival, cooperation has emerged. The challenge we now face is to sustain our fragile hold on life.

Our fate is in our own hands. But first we have to realise who we are.

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Product Description


How lucky we are to be alive ... Tim Flannery tells this extraordinary story ... he brings together planetary history, evolutionary biology, his own practical experience ... a triumph of interdisciplinarity ... deserves to be widely read. (Crispin Tickell Financial Times )

His most ambitious book so far ... a twin biography, of humanity and the planet it inhabits, but that description is inadequate. Mr Flannery's subject is the likely fate of humankind, and whether the powers granted to modern civilisation by science and technology will prove to be its downfall or its salvation ... worth reading. (The Economist )

This is a wonderful book. It is a letter from perhaps the world's most thoughtful, and certainly most eloquent, environment scientist on how we as a species might survive as chief stewards of planet Earth ... Here on Earth is a must for optimists and pessimists alike. (Fred Pearce New Scientist )

On all counts, we need a paradigm shift ... Flannery excellently and entertainingly explains the science that is needed to achieve this. Here on Earth deserves to be widely read, and it will be good for the world if it is. (Colin Tudge Independent )

Flannery's writing never fails to please. His authorial voice is always engaging, and he has an eye for memorable details that help ordinary readers make models in their minds of how nature works. (Marek Kohn Guardian )

About the Author

Tim Flannery is an internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist, described by Sir David Attenborough as being 'in the league of the all-time great explorers like Dr David Livingstone'. His books include The Future Eaters, The Eternal Frontier, Throwim Way Leg, A Gap in Nature, Country and The Weather Makers ('one of the most influential books of the 20th century' Guardian).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3320 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (3 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004S234VI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #224,892 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fingers crossed 4 Jan. 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is about the vision of Tim Flannery, an author I've enjoyed in the past. It doesn't seek to examine evidence of the state of the planet and our impact on it, the book is very much about the conclusions Tim has come to about the planet's fractured ecosystems. On the whole it makes a for a fascinating read as he guides us through evolutionary ideas and the concepts of Gaia as he understands them, and talks about the impact of humans from the first day that they stepped off the African continent. Research into the concept of the 'super-organism' that is the modern human civilisation I found particularly interesting and has prompted me to search out more reading on this interesting subject.
The book fades towards the end though. I had hoped that it would be bursting with insights and trends that would give hope for the future, instead it tends to drift a little, struggling to find concrete reasons to believe that we'll make it. In the end after a really good few days of reading the conclusion seemed to be no more than 'fingers crossed!'
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Tim Flannery has some impressive credentials and a worthy reputation to his name, so what ever he has to say should be read dispassionately or with an open mind, otherwise you might miss some of points he is making.
Having said that for certain readers of this book will divide off into those agreeing, those inspired to come off the fence and those annoyed. To start off with Tim Flannery has a sympathy with the Gaia view of the world, although maybe more as one large interdependent community that one single organism. He refers to civilisations as superorganisms, and draws some comparisons between our communities and those of the ants. He is not comfortable with Richard Dawkins' selfish gene thesis, nor does he embrace the idea of Darwinian `red in tooth and claw' to be the only explanation for the development of Life on Earth.
Filled with fascinating details on the history of Life and the interaction of Humanity with other species and new eco-systems he is making the classic environmentalist plea for Humanity to be more careful, sympathetic and empathetic with the rest of the world otherwise it will out very badly for everything; us included. Of course this is not a new theme, but the depth and clarity of his explanations involving a wide and colourful number of examples makes this a most instructive read. Even if you are set in not agreeing with him (and there are aspects I would tentatively question- those superorganisms actually) I am sure you will find facts you were not aware of in the board spectrum of Natural History, which doesn't mean you will be won over, but gosh it's interesting!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An education and a necessary corrective 17 Mar. 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Reading the reviews to date, I'm somewhat intimidated by them, so much so that further comment might seem redundant, given their comprehensive nature.

I like the idea of mnemes, regardless of spelling, and I would suggest that this book ought to be required reading for every child over the age of 11, not just in the west, but anywhere the book can be distributed. This is also a book that ought to be read with Ian Morris "Why the West Rules" and Susan George's "Whose Crisis, Whose Future". Taken together these books make for a more unified narrative than can be expected of any one volume.

The spirit of optimism, the cornucopia of ideas, of possibilities, and the simple belief in our better selves, make this book a powerful antidote to many of the doomsayers and a very necessary corrective to the Darwin-Dawkins settlement. Having said that, we are running out of time, and just as power generation now and into the future needs to embrace a mix of fossil and nuclear fuels together with renewables, so any attempt to rein in existing environmental instabilities, needs to include and engage with techniques of population management as part of the mix. This appears to be one of the last great taboos in our society and we need to get over it and start to act. Tim Flannery speaks of a projected declining global population from 2050 onwards, yet acknowledges the uncertainties inherent in these projections. If the projections are wrong and there is no substantive change in human reproduction, world population will stand at a little over nine billion. Long before then, I would suggest that life as we know it, in the west, will have become largely untenable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Sebastian Palmer TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
To answer the question posed in the title of my review: not enough for me, sadly.

For it's intended aims and ambitions, and especially for the earlier (and to me most inspiring) part of the book, I'd like to give this book five stars, but for it's actual overall impact on me as a reader, especially in relation to the claims made on it's behalf - "a change of perspective ... to inspire us ... a revolutionary dual biography of the planet and of our species" (As a fairly voracious reader the fountains of hyperbole showered on authors and their works can frequently annoy, especially if the book in any way falls short of the readers heightened expectations.) - I'd be more likely to score it as a three star affair. So four stars seems like a fair compromise.

Quantitatively the majority of this book is given over to the "dual biography" aspect, which was highly informative, and, especially in the earlier parts, exciting and enjoyable, even inspiring. Sadly, one reaches a point where, through no fault of the author - it's the nature of the subject - the catalogue of woes resulting from human behaviour starts to pile up, and, frankly, it's depressing. And, as is so often the case these days, the big central issue is the idea of humanity as 'weather makers': i.e. will we be our own undoing through climate change?

One area where the author's views felt like they should've chimed with my own, but somehow curiously still didn't, was his enthusiasm for Alfred Russell Wallace. In contrasting views of the world and our place in it, he discusses the 'Medean' axis, on which he locates Darwin and Dawkins, and the 'Gaian', with Wallace and James Lovelock on the latter line.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars hard to get in to
Although I enjoy popular science, I found this one hard to get into and enjoy. It is in places thought provoking but is not what I would pick again. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Mad Saint Uden
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Everyone should read this book - especially those who still think the world was created only 6 thousand years ago!!
Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, informative....
This book, by Tim Flannery, attempts to offer us a fresh and enlightening perspective on the World and our place upon and within it. Read more
Published on 17 April 2013 by Mr. D. J. Brindle
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new here
Nothing that I haven't read many times before. Dry to read; lacking in 'Yes, we can make a change' type feeling.
Published on 16 April 2013 by ReviewMan
3.0 out of 5 stars My attention wained, I didn't find it the inspiring read I expected.
I found this book to be a challenging read, so much so, that I put it down after a few chapters and have only come back to it after well over a year. Read more
Published on 24 Mar. 2013 by Shirlz
5.0 out of 5 stars So much here
There is so much here. A zoologist who's a gifted prose stylist, and knows anthropology well enough to offer credible warnings. Read more
Published on 17 Jan. 2013 by Ton
5.0 out of 5 stars Here on Earth
Thought provoking and at worst life changing, but hopefully world changing. An book which is impossible to put down sickening to read, made me feel profoundly guilty of the way I... Read more
Published on 7 Sept. 2012 by Robert J. Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
This is a good read for anyone with an interest in the state of our planet nd how the havoc we are reaping may impact on the future of life on Earth. I would highly recommend this. Read more
Published on 22 Mar. 2012 by Big Bad Bill
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Involved
This is an interesting description of the evolution of life on earth. Drawing on accounts from Darwin and other eminent thinkers such as Lovelock and Dawkins, he describes his... Read more
Published on 27 Feb. 2012 by Tazz Rainbow
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much like hard work
I'm a scientist and thought that this book might be an inspiring look at the way sciences has developed human culture. Read more
Published on 21 Aug. 2011 by Scott A. Mckenzie
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