Earth in Human Hands: Book summary and reviews of Earth in Human Hands by David Grinspoon

Earth in Human Hands

Shaping Our Planet's Future

by David Grinspoon

Earth in Human Hands by David Grinspoon X
Earth in Human Hands by David Grinspoon
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Book Summary

For the first time in Earth's history, one species - humans - is knowingly altering our planet's evolution, exerting increasing influence and attempting stewardship. How we handle this juncture may very well determine the fate not just of our species, but of life, and the planet.

For the first time in Earth's history, our planet is experiencing a confluence of rapidly accelerating changes prompted by one species: humans. Climate change is only the most visible of the modifications we've made - up until this point, inadvertently - to the planet. And our current behavior threatens not only our own future but that of countless other creatures. By comparing Earth's story to those of other planets, astrobiologist David Grinspoon shows what a strange and novel development it is for a species to evolve to build machines, and ultimately, global societies with world-shaping influence.

Without minimizing the challenges of the next century, Grinspoon suggests that our present moment is not only one of peril, but also great potential, especially when viewed from a 10,000-year perspective. Our species has surmounted the threat of extinction before, thanks to our innate ingenuity and ability to adapt, and there's every reason to believe we can do so again.

Our challenge now is to awaken to our role as a force of planetary change, and to grow into this task. We must become graceful planetary engineers, conscious shapers of our environment and caretakers of Earth's biosphere. This is a perspective that begs us to ask not just what future do we want to avoid, but what do we seek to build? What kind of world do we want? Are humans the worst thing or the best thing to ever happen to our planet? Today we stand at a pivotal juncture, and the answer will depend on the choices we make.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This is an optimistic and informative take on the future of Earth and humankind." - Publishers Weekly

"A scattershot approach to an admittedly diffuse set of problems but of broad interest and with a refreshing chaser of optimism." - Kirkus

"In his wonderful writing style, Dr. Grinspoon spells it out: A single species is inducing more profound changes to our planet than any other organism in geologic history. It's us. If you have family and friends here on Earth, read this book. The Earth is in our hands." - Bill Nye "The Science Guy", New York Times bestselling author of Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World

"Grinspoon is a gifted storyteller and his narrative is the rare confluence of authoritative and thought-provoking science and rollicking fun. Earth in Human Hands is a must read for anyone interested in evolution, planetary science, the crisis of the environment, and human survival." - Peter Heller, New York Times bestselling author of The Dog Stars and The Whale Warriors

"[Earth in Human Hands] focuses on our home planet and exciting/dangerous new age, criss-crossing the globe and traveling deep into the unknown reaches of space, where other lifeforms may be facing their own planetary challenges. I'm sure readers will love voyaging through the cosmos with him again, as I do." - Diane Ackerman, New York Times bestselling author of The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us and The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story

"A beautiful and detailed overview of the ways we must change our thinking if we want to truly understand the transformation in our midst." - Adam Frank, NPR.com

"A delightful intellectual romp across the universe, through our solar system, witnessing Earth's evolution over geologic time... I strongly recommend this book to folks who are scientifically curious, and to those who want to hear a different take on our current environmental challenges. You won't be disappointed." - Jonathan Foley, Director, California Academy of Sciences

"In a moving, personal journey, Grinspoon takes the reader from molten, planetary origins, past current crises like climate change, toward a destiny that our children may yet forge, standing on our shoulders." - David Brin, New York Times bestselling author of Earth and Existence

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Author Information

David Grinspoon

David Grinspoon is an astrobiologist, award-winning science communicator, and prize-winning author. In 2013 he was appointed the inaugural Chair of Astrobiology at the Library of Congress. He is a frequent advisor to NASA on space exploration strategy, and is on the team for the Curiosity Mars Rover. Grinspoon's writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Scientific American, Seed, Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times.

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