The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans Paperback – 7 Jul 2011
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‘It certainly convinced me’ Independent on Sunday
About the Author
Mark Lynas is an activist, journalist and traveller. He was editor of the website www.oneworld.net and has made many appearances in the press and TV as a commentator on environmental issues. He is the author of High Tide and Six Degrees.
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Top Customer Reviews
But importantly - and this is the reason why you should read the book - Lynas's argument is so groundbreaking that there are a number of different traditional "camps" within which someone may have been offended enough to try to stop the book in its tracks. Lynas has been seen by many as on the side of the Greens, as he speaks about the need to avoid catastrophic environmental change. Hence opponents of the Green movement may automatically be opponents of Lynas. But in "The God Species", Lynas has taken the bold and innovative step of making strong argument in favour of using our technology to make us more responsible as stewards of the Earth, which he views us as now ruling with the power of Gods.
Perhaps most controversially, Lynas argues that nuclear power and genetic engineering do have a place in avoiding dangerous climate change and protecting food security - clearly views which risk alienating many traditional Greens. But the point is that Lynas has backed up his case with extensive and well-referenced evidence, so this is not an idealogical book - yes it still is his opinion, but it is a well-informed opinion which can be challenged point by point by counter-evidence if you so wish.Read more ›
Not many greens are going to dissent from his analysis of the problem. But many will hate his proposed solutions - nuclear power, GM crops, for example, and his repudiation of conventional green nostrums such as advocating austerity, cutting living standards etc. So in this sense, he is by no means preaching to the converted. He shows how greens' conventional rejection of solutions like nuclear power and GM crops threatens to make the problems worse. There is no doubt for example that the fact that so many nuclear power stations have not been built has been to the wider detriment of the environment because we have simply burned more coal in lieu of nuclear, with all the deleterious consequences that entails for the planet's environment.
It is a message that I enjoyed reading. So, from my perspective, this book can be commended for the following reasons.
First of all, it deals with realistic solutions that work with the grain of human nature and not against it, and hence have a greater hope of success than the eco-purists proposed solutions (cutting living standards, abandoning air travel etc.). The sorts of solutions advocated by people who call themselves deep ecologists and such like have no broader appeal, hence no chance of success.Read more ›
Its importance lies in the clear discussion about 'planetary boundary systems' and not just climate change: those nine interconnected and crucial 'whole earth' systems that sustain human life. These systems can be characterised as having some room for more human intervention before the system starts breaking down, being more or less in equilibrium with human activity, or being beyond equilibrium now. He presnets convincing data and shows each system's rate of change given current trends.
Not being a planetary system scientist, there was a lot of new information for me here, some of it surprising. I would have liked a few graphs and the content is crying out for good diagrams and graphics.
The ideas are of a piece with other 'revisionist' thinking, for example Stewart Brand (on the benefits of cities) and to some extent George Monbiot (on the benefits of nuclear power, despite Fukashima). I like Lynas's fracture of 'being green' equals anti-capitalist/anti-science/anti-corporate.
Probably the biggest challenge for politically active 'greens' is the idea that, given the right incentives, 'the market' i.e current corporate capitalism and governments, can really help shape these boundaries for the better. Growth might be ok, as long as its impact can be sustained by each system, is his basic point.
However, he appears to downplay the appalling history of rampant corporate and regulatory mismanagement of the very systems he wants 'us' to deal with.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the first review I have ever written, and I am urged to write it as this book, for me, has opened my eyes. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Holly Smith
I am 50 and consider myself a reasonably well-read green. Some of the proposals in this book fly in the face of general green ideology but it is an extremely thought provoking... Read morePublished on 7 Mar. 2013 by J. Davis
A very good book that was both informative and easy to read. Made a nice change from the normal text books on this subject.Published on 17 Feb. 2013 by Amazon Customer
This is an incredibly useful book for anyone who wants to be informed about climate change and everything else that is happening to our planet. Read morePublished on 3 Jan. 2013 by Mr. R. P. Mountford
This is a curate's egg of a book - good in parts, but leaving an unpleasant aftertaste.
To start with the good, Lynas presents the 'planetary boundaries' approach with... Read more
Everybody should read this book. All the negative criticism from these reviews is from fanatical Greens!! Read morePublished on 12 July 2012 by Patrickinator
The tidal wave of books by global control freaks continues with this new book by Lynas. Although it claims a scientific pedigree, there is little or no science at all, and most of... Read morePublished on 7 Jun. 2012 by Dr. P. R. Lewis
As he writes in the book a child need optimism to face the future and the girl who challenges her scientist father not to take it away from her is fully correct. Read morePublished on 28 Mar. 2012 by anders
This painful offering follows in the Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, Crowleyite, Dawkinesque pseudo-intellectual tradition. Read morePublished on 8 Jan. 2012 by George Fox
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