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Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth ("The New Catalyst" Bioregional Series) Paperback – 1 Jul 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers (1 July 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 086571312X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865713123
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
I stumbled upon this book in the journal D&G, at a time I was thinking hard about the direction of the civilization. So I ordered one.

It was an unassuming book, neatly printed and illustrated with black and white caricatures. At first I thought it was a mistake to order such a book. But as I read on, the insights of the authors emerged, so profound, yet so simply explained. Really, after swallowing all the contents for five consecutive nights, one will ask, "How come I did not think of this??".

The concept is vivid : it tried to explain what the ecological footprint means : how much of land is required to support yourself. And it turned out that there is already not enough for the world. Further proliferation of current lifestyles is suicidal.

The authors devoted a whole long chapter on proposals of alternative lifestyles. These are nowhere hardcore technical, rest assured. They are blindingly simple, and yet hard to swallow. Just ask any Tom, Dick and Harry whether he or she wants such a life, you will get an awkward stare : are you in your right mind? The authors may be right, but when we have gone so far astray, we have forgotten the road from which we come.

This book cannot score 10 points, though. The examples on how an economy can develop without growth are not solid enough. While the writers are not economists, to force the reader to think twice about current lifestyles, they must fork out a marvellous thesis, which has yet to be clearly stated.

This is a good book at the introductory level. Although it sometimes touch on the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the reader is not expected to have an a priori understanding. It's explanation is vivid and simple. While it may insult Professors and those high brow academics, it is a book easy to follow.

Worth a try.
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Format: Paperback
I came upon this book in Science News, a weekly that covers breaking science news across the world. SN reviwers, hard to impress after seeing so much science every week, gave the concept of "ecological footprint" a good discussion.
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Format: Paperback
As the title suggests, the ecological footprint analysis forms the core subject area of this book, and as so, the initial chapters focus on explaining exactly what this concept is, how it was formed, and why it is necessary. The ecological footprint itself is a quantitative tool which can be used to estimate the human races ecological impact on the planet in terms of land area required for each individual to be able to sustain themselves, and this is made quite clear very early on. There are also many examples used, which I won't go into too much specific detail about here, that justify the creation of the theory to the reader - clear incompatibility between continued material economic growth and ecological welfare.

The main audiences for a book such as this, I believe, are the designers and engineers of the future, trying to gain an introductory knowledge into the effects of human beings on the Earth. The reason I feel this way, stems largely from the style of writing within the book. It is filled with easy to understand examples, inoffensive cartoon illustrations, and simple wording. Though most likely too simplistic for a professor or scientist, it is perfect for a student or younger graduate, myself being one of them.

So, with the subject area explained and justified, focus shifts towards real-world applications for the theory. With the way that the various examples are written, and the way the information is relayed to the reader, it is hard not to begin to think of various other methods in which the ideas and topics described could be applied in a design context.
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