The Little Green Handbook Seven Trends Shaping the Future of Our Planet

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2006-03-21
  • Publisher: Picador
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For the first time in human history we are facing a range of environmental problems due to an unprecedented population explosion. Paradoxically, with our fast progress in science and technology, we can achieve almost anything but may not be around long enough to make use of our intellectual potential. Yet it is our duty to care for and ensure a sustainable future for our children. The aim of The Little Green Handbook is to illustrate and explain the current critical global trends, and to suggest areas for positive change. Here is a unique reference work that relates physical trends to social and political repercussions, drawing together evidence across many interrelated fields to explain the science behind the news stories, sound bytes and cocktail-party banter. Just how serious are our environmental problems? Are we doing enough to deal with them? How many people can the planet sustain? What are the long-term effects of continued environmental damage? How fast is the process of global warming? What are the implications of our continued dependence on fossil fuels? The Little Green Handbook has the answers. Based on extensive research, this user-friendly sourcebook is filled with up-to-date facts and figures about the most serious trends facing the planet and makes complex but vitally important ideas simple. A few shocking facts from The Little Green Handbook: On the population explosion: At present, the global population increases by 80 million people each yearadding the equivalent of the population of Germany to the global community each year. On land: The arable land area per person is steadily decreasing, not just because global population is increasing but also because we are losing valuable land through mismanagement. On the atmosphere: For the first time, our influence on the atmosphere is so great that we are changing substantially and critically its composition and function. On energy crisis: In 2000, [the national energy consumption of the United States] accounted for a quarter of the global total. On social decline: An annual contribution of only 1 percent of [the globes richest individuals] assets could pay for the primary education of all the children in the world.... In the first half of this century, the number of people living in rich countries will change very little [while] the number of people living in developing countries will [nearly double]. On conflicts and living in a fortress world: Almost half of the global military budget is shared by the US and JapanThe number of conflicts is steadily increasing, 300,000 children are serving as soldiers in 30 countries.

Author Biography

Ron Nielsen, D.Sc., has conducted research in the Department of Nuclear Physics at the Australian National University and worked in research institutes in Poland, England, Germany, and Switzerland. Dr. Nielsen is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Physics and an active member of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Table of Contents

List of tables and boxes vi
Preface xi
Introduction xiii
1 Environmental Degradation
2 The Population Explosion
3 Diminishing Land Resources
4 Diminishing Water Resources
5 The Destruction of the Atmosphere
6 The Approaching Energy Crisis
7 Social Decline
8 Conflicts and Increasing Killing Power
9 In a Nutshell
10 Landmarks of Progress 248(17)
A. Selected tables and boxes
B. Scales of water availability
C. How to read large numbers
D. A brief guide to energy units
E. Biological warfare
E Acronyms and abbreviations
G. Units of measurements
Notes 305(16)
References 321(23)
Index 344(12)
Index by country and region 356

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