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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an essential for every bookshelf
"But what can I, as an individual, do?" "Energy saving and buying organic costs so much - why should I?" "Global warming? But I thought that was all exaggerated?" If any of these thoughts have ever popped into your mind, or been thrown at you by friends, family, work colleagues, you need this book. Actually, we all need this book before The Big Earth, which really ain't...
Published on 6 Nov 2007 by S. Hayman

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very inconsistent and biased - unreadable
Very inconsistent, unrealistic and utterly biased. A continues string of truisms. So inconsistent it feels like the chapters have been written by different authors. For example, the book states that oil extraction should be limited, lowering of ground water levels is harmful and transporting goods all over the world damages the environment as compared to local production...
Published on 12 Jun 2011 by cees


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an essential for every bookshelf, 6 Nov 2007
By 
S. Hayman "constant reader" (northern england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Big Earth Book (Hardcover)
"But what can I, as an individual, do?" "Energy saving and buying organic costs so much - why should I?" "Global warming? But I thought that was all exaggerated?" If any of these thoughts have ever popped into your mind, or been thrown at you by friends, family, work colleagues, you need this book. Actually, we all need this book before The Big Earth, which really ain't so big after all, goes down the tube. If you want one book to draw the whole shebang of environmental, economic and social ideas together, this is it.

James Bruges covers just about every single global environmental issue in what at first looks like a weighty tome but in fact is both accessible and compelling. In short, sharp bursts the reader is led through Life, The Earth and Everything. The book is divided into 4 sections; The Elements, Money, Power and Life. In Elements he looks at Air, including ozone layers and global warming; Earth, including energy and carbon offset schemes; Fire, including gas, biofuels and nuclear energy; and Water, including fresh water and oceans. In Money he explains Systems, such as usury and greed, monetary reform and global eco-economy; Ideas such as Land Value Tax and Interest Free banking; and Community with issues such as basic needs and Wealth in Poverty. In Power he analyses Trade, covering issues such as thirds world debt and oil for dollars; War with a devastating analysis of the arms trade and terrorism and a picture of alternatives to violence in Tools For Peace; Corporate with a look at Shareholders "and the divine right of capital; and Empire, with a look at the US Empire and new empires in the East. Finally, in Life he looks at Nature, organic farming and soil; Food and GM and a truly terrifying account of the consequences to one scientist of speaking out; Science with excursions into Nanotechnology, Commercial Eugenics, Patenting Life.

The Big Earth Book is full of arresting insights and downright scary facts. If you buy baby sweet corn from Peru for your stir fries while worrying about house insulation and petrol you need to know that the typical family of four expends 40 comparative energy units on food whilst `only' using 17 on house heating and 15 on car use. The message being if you want to make a difference forget the car and the house - source your food locally and seasonally. And the book is full of ideas you can make effective in your own life, in your community's life and most important on a world scale. As Bruges points out, "Where governments fail to act, individuals can take the initiative - in how they travel, how they heat their homes, how they eat. Their choice of lifestyle will contribute to climate survival. It will also influence politicians who, having failed to lead, will be forced to follow."

You'll want The Big Earth Book for yourself - to show you not only why you should get angry but how you can get effective. You'll want it for your children, to explain to them all the bits you vaguely know but are having difficulty pulling together. And you'll want it for your friends, to show them why turning off lights and using your own shopping bag is so important. I've revised my shopping list for Christmas. Hope none of my friends read this - it will spoil the surprise as they're all getting it in their stockings!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Earth, 12 Nov 2007
By 
PG Collings (Nottingham,UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Big Earth Book (Hardcover)
An angry passion has stimulated this bright and beautifully produced book which should be required reading for all non-specialist environmentalists.Remarkably informative two to three page digests of major topics and issues as diverse as Biofuel and Monetary Reform, the Arms Trade and the measurement of happiness are included.Paper,lay-out and some stunning photography all contribute to the feel of a good book. Direct quotes and useful final sections of References,Glossary and Index point the way to further reading for those who would go deeper. The author, an admirer of Ghandi, is intent on stimulating non-violent action but does not pull his punches in namimg and shaming incompetence or failure however high the office.
This reader was pleased to dip and mix from the book's huge agenda - there are many lighter moments as well as poems and apt quotations from the great and good. The earth will certainly get value for money from changes which readers may make after reading the Big Earth Book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No day-dreaming in class, 10 Sep 2008
By 
judith Imbo (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Big Earth Book (Paperback)
If the layout, with its colourful photographs, inset maps, information summaries and quotations recalls your GCSE text book - that's quite appropriate. It should be `back to school' for most of us to learn about the earth and life on it. Although attractive to look at and easy to pick up for quick reads, The Big Earth Book could not be a more serious text and one that has the immediate effect of concentrating the mind on what matters most.

Under four subject areas - The Elements, Money, Power and Life - this volume is divided into manageable, mostly 3-page chapters. Bruges' work is a digest of articles which challenge us to wake up: the shock and awe tactics of not just one source, but a bevy of thinkers both past and present. But this kind of shock and awe is only totally surprising if the reader has ignored all the news of the past few years. What the BE book does is bring together facts, warnings, proposals and solutions for a general audience to consider. And when you have read just a few of its diverse topics, connections begin to appear and many of its solutions start to make fundamental good sense.

For many people, reports of greenhouse gases remaining in the atmosphere for over 150 years, extreme drought affecting a third of the world's surface by 2100 and waves of stinger jellyfish as the result of over -fishing is disturbing but already partly apprehended information. What is exciting news is the existence of a Happy Planet Index, the New Economics Foundation and a suggested four-currency model to encourage fair trade, help the environment and stimulate national economic activity.

Scoring fairly high on the scale of curious facts is the commissioning of a report in 2002: 'Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance'. And if you think `global dimming' alludes to a collective consciousness focussed on meals round the glow of a television reality show - apt though that may be - think again. The Big Earth book should be required reading for all earth's citizens.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 17 Sep 2008
By 
Alice Pickles (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Big Earth Book (Paperback)
This book is just wonderful. The images are stunning, and entice you to pick it up to read. While we all listen to the news and hear about fuel running out, climate change and the like, this book puts all these issues into a well laid out clear structure. It looks at the issues and works through ideas and solutions. We all need to be more aware - and I'm sure this book would make a great present.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Earth - Big Book, 13 Dec 2008
By 
Jennifer Pearce (West Sussex UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Big Earth Book (Paperback)
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book but James Bruges doesn't fail to intrigue and challenge. This book is designed to make us think about the many issues around for our planet just now, offering a clear background to the thinking that currently informs the pressure for us to rethink the way we live our lives. Better yet, Bruges offers solutions and ideas and gives us a more positive way forward than many harbingers of doom. The design is very good quality with chapters divided into manageable sizes so it is easy to dip into a topic. Definitely a read to recommend.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly insprirational, 10 Oct 2007
By 
Mr. P. J. Wood "N Wood" (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Big Earth Book (Hardcover)
This book is one of those books where by you become more interested with every page and before you know it, you are whizzing through the pages, engrossed in all of the new ideas and theories.
A fascinating read especially in todays climate. Definatley worth a look.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Big Earth Book, 16 Feb 2011
This review is from: The Big Earth Book (Paperback)
This book is brilliant and ought to be in every home and school....NOW. Bruges has done a phenomenal amount of research but his skill is in re-tuning this vast subject into layman's terms. It is a 'must' read for everyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Gift, 1 Dec 2008
By 
S. Cowie - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Big Earth Book (Hardcover)
I have to say I was given this book as a Christmas present last year, and it is definitely one of the best presents I got!

I can't say much more than what everyone else has said; but only stress how motivational, thought provoking and moral this book is. If you need to persuade anyone to turn the TV off rather than put it on standby, walk or cycle across the road rather than take a car then this book is sure to do a lot of the work for you.

Also; the section on wealth and money is particularly relevant now our system has all but failed!

To sum up, as a gift or just something to read yourself you'll be surprised at how little you knew. And if the state of the Earth comes up in conversation you can be the triumphant, most informed and moral person at the dinner party! Hooray!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating stuff!, 20 July 2008
By 
Iorras (Mayo Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Big Earth Book (Hardcover)
S. Hayman has reviewed the contents of The Big Earth Book excellently. I can just add that, as a person who knew virtually nothing about the world of global finance before reading this book I found it utterly compelling and thought provoking to read James Bruges's short and 'straight to the point' chapters on many aspects of the globalised world of finance and usury (a new word to me before reading this book). I had this book under my pillow for months taking it out regularly, each time being totally absorbed by yet more relevations which I had not fully understood up to that point. James Bruges has the knack of explaining difficult subjects in easy to read, easy to understand language for the uninitiated. A brilliant read. Everybody should read this book.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very inconsistent and biased - unreadable, 12 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Big Earth Book (Hardcover)
Very inconsistent, unrealistic and utterly biased. A continues string of truisms. So inconsistent it feels like the chapters have been written by different authors. For example, the book states that oil extraction should be limited, lowering of ground water levels is harmful and transporting goods all over the world damages the environment as compared to local production and distribution. In later chapters the author describes various alternatives, the examples of which surprisingly include using revenues from oil royalties (?) to pay a universal citizen's income in Alaska (which supposedly proves that this system works when paid by raising taxes), it also provides an example how local councils can provide loans to enable a citizen to earn more by digging deeper wells (no mention made of effects on ground water levels), finally the author shows great admiration towards a community program where equal profit distribution is applied to the production of tea which is shipped across the planet from India to the UK. The author also assumes that 'the elite' do not work, all big companies are evil and modern inventions are harmful. Many of the facts stated are either untrue or given in a distorted context. Also, I seriously have to doubt the author's general knowledge level as the book seems to misrepresent or misinterpret many facts even when this does not seem to contribute to the point the author wants to make.

Though I definitely can relate to the topic and think our environment is important, I found the book very disappointing and unreadable because of the poor (obviously anti-western biased) presentation by the author. This is enhanced by the inclusion of religion and egalitarian motives that seem to cloud the issue (and require interpretation towards which the author does not seem fully qualified), in stead of providing the bigger picture as the author claims.

I actually haven't been able to read through the whole book (stopped halfway through). Overall a big disappointment. I recommend searching for secondary sources for much of the information stated in the book.
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The Big Earth Book
The Big Earth Book by James Bruges (Hardcover - 27 Sep 2007)
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