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Earth in Human Hands

Cover of Earth in Human Hands

Earth in Human Hands

Shaping Our Planet's Future
NASA astrobiologist and renowned scientist Dr. David Grinspoon brings listeners an optimistic message about humanity's future in the face of climate change.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. Without minimizing the challenges of the next century, Grinspoon shows how the 10,000-year view is both essential and hopeful. Having spent his career studying the ways in which planets undergo catastrophic changes, he suggests that the present moment is not only one of peril, but also great potential. We need a new vision of the future, one in which we have embraced our role as planet-shapers, and learned to use our technological skills to enhance the survival prospects not just of humanity but of all life on Earth.
NASA astrobiologist and renowned scientist Dr. David Grinspoon brings listeners an optimistic message about humanity's future in the face of climate change.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. Without minimizing the challenges of the next century, Grinspoon shows how the 10,000-year view is both essential and hopeful. Having spent his career studying the ways in which planets undergo catastrophic changes, he suggests that the present moment is not only one of peril, but also great potential. We need a new vision of the future, one in which we have embraced our role as planet-shapers, and learned to use our technological skills to enhance the survival prospects not just of humanity but of all life on Earth.
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About the Author-
  • Dr. David Grinspoon is a NASA 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.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 10, 2016
    Grinspoon (Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life) brings an astrobiologist’s perspective to Earth’s current environmental woes. Without downplaying the planetary havoc humans have wrought, including global warming and habitat destruction, Grinspoon focuses on the long-term health of Earth’s ecosystems—meaning millions of years. He wonders whether humans will survive far enough into the future to have a lasting impact on life on Earth and throughout the cosmos. Grinspoon makes clear that while humans are not the first of Earth’s species to radically alter the environment, we are the first to be able to reflect on our actions. He argues that intentionally or not, humans have become novice planetary engineers, changing the nature of biogeochemical and atmospheric cycles. If humans learn to take control of planetary systems, they can make conscious choices that benefit future life, including preventing future ice ages and protecting the planet from devastating meteor impacts. Though Grinspoon overplays the Gaia metaphor of Earth being an integrated and sentient being, he broadens the scope of his work dramatically by paying a great deal of attention to the search for intelligent life in the universe. This is an optimistic and informative take on the future of Earth and humankind. Agent: Eric Lupfer, WME.

  • AudioFile Magazine David Grinspoon wants to cut the global carbon footprint, but he also looks beyond that to a new Anthropocene era in which humans make positive changes to the Earth instead of continuing our relentlessly negative impact. Grinspoon's enthusiasm and natural curiosity shine throughout his writing and narration. He considers the past--an ant's journey from Argentina to New Orleans and the changes it wrought, for example--as well as the possibilities to be found in a geo-engineered future. His voice carries a wide-eyed tone as he discusses the conditions necessary for intelligent life to spring up on other planets. As he details the work of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), he expresses the hope that Earth will continue to broadcast to the stars for the purpose of making contact. J.A.S. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
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Earth in Human Hands
Earth in Human Hands
Shaping Our Planet's Future
David Grinspoon
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