Earth Spirit: Healthy Planet
A concise summary of the global ecological crisis and our options for healing the planet.
Healthy Planet offers a clear and concise overview of the global ecological crisis that humanity has brought upon itself, and what options we still have to save a benevolent climate, to restore biodiversity, reduce pollution, and heal the ecosphere of this planet, including ourselves.
Since well before the Covid-19 crisis the United Nations have been emphasizing that only a healthy planet can support healthy people. The degradation and pollution of nature also poisons our own bodies. Climate breakdown and the global loss of biodiversity also threaten the human species.
But what is a "healthy planet"? How does it work, how much do we disrupt the planet’s life support systems, and what changes are overdue? We have all the necessary means at our disposal, though just patching up the worst symptoms won’t do anymore, we have to address the underlying causes, including our habits, values, and paradigms.
We are at a crucial crossroads, and time is running short. If we act fast enough, a dignified and truly sustainable healthy future awaits.
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Since well before the Covid-19 crisis the United Nations have been emphasizing that only a healthy planet can support healthy people. The degradation and pollution of nature also poisons our own bodies. Climate breakdown and the global loss of biodiversity also threaten the human species. But what is a healthy planet? How does it work, how much do we disrupt the planet’s life support systems, and what changes are overdue? Within Earth Spirit: Healthy Planet: Global meltdown or global healing by Fred Hageneder, we quickly learn that we have all the necessary means at our disposal, though just patching up the worst symptoms won’t do anymore, we have to address the underlying causes, including our habits, values, and paradigms. Ergo, we are at a crucial crossroads, and time is running short. If we act fast enough, a dignified and truly sustainable healthy future awaits. At its core, a slap-in-the-face wake up call about Climate Change, and yet one that ably showcases a diligent balance between the science and non-scientific facts that always reside within such conversations, Earth Spirit: Healthy Planet is not only a wonderful resource for scientists and (people of that ilk) but a rather tremendous one for average joe’s; people that are curious, but don’t have a scientific bone in their body. Far from a Doomsday scarefest, Hageneder brings us the information in bite size formats, always allowing us to take in (and subsequently digest) as much as we ourselves wish to. Ok, sure, some of it doesn’t sound like it could ever possibly happen, thus leaning toward a more wary point of view (should we decide to let sleeping bogs lie), but for the most part there is an unerring accuracy to his proclamations; so much so that, perhaps, the most hardened of pessimists to the subject might start to second guess their own adamantly engrained thoughts. A book for everyone on the planet to take on board and allow Hageneder’s words to filter through, in my humble opinion this is a book chock full of realistic analysis and one we should all pay attention to: sooner rather than later, of course! FULL REVIEW: https://annecarlini.com/ex_books.php?id=271 ~ Exclusive Magazine, Review
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. At the beginning of this book, the author poses THE big question of our times: The next decade will be the most decisive in the entire history of humanity. Will we irreversibly destroy Earth’s benevolent climate? Will we fail to counteract the sixth mass extinction? Will we annihilate our own race? Why are governments and leaders acting so slowly? And what can individuals do? The key problem, of course, is that the concept of our planet that we all grew up with is one of a ball of rock with a coating of soil that has trees and other ‘useful’ plants growing in it and a vast range of other creatures, including ourselves, scurrying around on its surface like ants on a doughnut. And it is probably because so many of us – including our governments and leaders – have never updated this worldview that the remedial process is so slow. What Hageneder does, in this book, is to start by going back to basics and looking at the whole matter through the lens of Gaia Theory instead – i.e. with the concept, first put forward in 1973 by James Lovelock, of Earth as a self-regulating, living organism of which we, along with all other life forms, are an intrinsic part. As he points out, prior to Lovelock, science was doing its usual trick of dividing its object of study into many smaller pieces, such as biology, geology, oceanography, paleontology, mineralogy and many more. But this new, post-Lovelock way of looking at the world integrates all these into a totally new discipline known – and now widely taught in universities – called Earth systems science. And the first section of this book is like a neat little mini-course in exactly that, with easy-to-understand descriptions of some of the primary planetary cycles such as water, carbon, nitrogen etc. that resembles what we learned in school yet with a whole new emphasis: the key role that living organisms have played, and still play, in these cycles. Without living organisms, we now learn, these cycles would not exist. Life forms have even influenced the movement of tectonic plates! According to James Lovelock and to Eileen Crist: …organisms are not mere passengers on the planet…they are more like pilots. We know, now, that since we are an intrinsic part of Gaia, whatever harms Her, inevitably harms us. Therefore the motivation to find remedies is self-interest writ large! But although Earth systems science and the technology that arises from it have progressed in leaps and bounds with potential solutions, progress is still maddeningly slow. Partly because so many people still see the world through an outdated lens but largely because of politics and the pervasiveness of the growth model of economics. The remainder of this book gives the reader…an overview of what’s going on and how the different causes and effects are interlinked. And suggestions for steps we can take. The ‘steps we can take’ include the steps we need to take as communities and nations but also the ones that all of us can take as individuals. Inasmuch as it unflinchingly lists and describes so many of the problems currently facing us, this is a depressing read. At the same time, however, for every single problem listed, the author suggests remedies. Plus the very fact of switching to a Gaia-based worldview provides an immediate corrective to any tendency to see other life forms as ‘resources’ rather than as our fellow Earthlings. So as well as being a primer for the science that many of us were not taught in school, it is also a call to action and a very useful source of inspiration when we are feeling ground down by the immensity of the problems. Where there is life, there is always hope. I see this as a useful book to have on one’s shelf. ~ Marian McCain (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. A very well written book on Climate Change. It's a good balance between science and non-science. Great descriptions of processes important to our planet, the carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle etcetera. Concepts are explained with clear examples, making this a great resource for scientists and interested people with no scientific background. I love the explanation of the various current terms used in climate change journalism. The figures are supporting to the text and clear to read. Sometimes it's difficult to stay positive after reading these kinds of facts, but I think the author does a great job by balancing the information and not making it feel like a doomsday scenario. There are also some tips on what you can do as an individual, which are pretty original tips! Some of them can be debated, for example the tip on going organic for everything. Organic food and products are a good solution for some problems, but there are some problems with organic quality marks and such. The information in the book is recent, and so are the references (always important!). There is one thing I doubt the accuracy of; the radioactivity part, especially the Chernobyl mutation statements. A lot of research has been done on the radiobiology surrounding Chernobyl, and referring to a google search on "Chernobyl Mutation" will not deliver on truthful results. The author is anti-nuclear energy and is also concerned about WiFi/Bluetooth radiation, but that is something completely different from the radiation that follows from the generating of nuclear energy. WiFi/Bluetooth radiation is not the same as radioactivity, so these chapters should be separate. Take that with a grain of salt and read some more on that before you blindly accept this chapter. In short: most of this information is out there, in some form. This book bundles it all in an easy to read way. This is an important book that I think everyone should read. Don't forget to always use your head when reading anything regarding climate change. No one is perfect or knows all. ~ Max Willems (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Earth Spirit is a very well written and honest explanation of the current state of the Earth and how we got to this point. Hageneder then proceeds to give a very realistic analysis of how to go about restoring the world to a point where it can continue to support life. This is a book that every citizen of the world should take to heart. I know it has changed how I think about what I must do to support the world we all must live on. Read it and begin to act accordingly. ~ Skip Qba (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Probably the BEST book on climate change I've read (and I've read several). I took a 1/2 semester course at U of M (on-line ... ENVIRON 112 ... Climate and Humans) and this book dovetailed with the course very well (especially the second portion of the class). The author provides many "What YOU can do" suggestions; there are many links to videos and sites to get additional information. I can't recommend this book more highly! READ THIS BOOK... ~ Colleen Mitchell (Reviewer), NetGalley
If you're not sure what the link is between our life choices, big business and the future of the planet, you need to read this book. The explanations are eloquent and the practical advice is sound. ~ Dr Peter Thomas FLS, Keele University and Associate in Harvard Forest
"The comprehensive scope and sheer amount of information gathered here is impressive." ~ Prof Eileen Crist, Virginia Tech, USA
"This is a uniquely critical and simultaneously optimistic book about the future of this planet!" ~ Dr Helen Kopnina, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
"Healthy Planet is a uniquely clear and comprehensive guide to the most important issue of our times, and includes invaluable suggestions for what to actually do about it." ~ Patrick Curry, PhD, Author of Ecological Ethics
"With an eye on future generations this book offers practical advice for the wise stewardship of this rare and precious planet – the only home we know. Fred Hageneder has crafted a hopeful and empowering cri-de-cœur for the guardianship of Gaia." ~ Dr Kevan Manwaring, University of Leicester, UK
"A practical and beautiful compendium on the state of the Earth and what we can do to save it." ~ Prof Dr Ernst Ulrich von Weizsaecker, Honorary President of the Club of Rome
"Healthy Planet is a very timely publication. Fred Hageneder captures the true wonders and complexities of Planet Earth and all its inhabitants. He knows how much damage we humans have caused, but provides many practical suggestions for creating positive change. His message is clear and will inspire many people, adults and children alike, to take action before it is too late: together we can, we must and we will save our planet." ~ Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace
"The danger is not just more pandemics like Coronavirus. The solution is not just a greener 'recovery'. Healthy Planet shows that the fundamental disease is the wrong relationship between people and planet. Climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are far more dangerous than Covid-19. Fred Hageneder does not pull punches about the real state of the world but he charts how we can heal its wounds." ~ Sandy Irvine, MSc, Activist and author, Newcastle-upon-Tyne