Energy in Nature and Society

General Energetics of Complex Systems

Author: Vaclav Smil

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262693569

Category: Science

Page: 480

View: 9771

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Energy in Nature and Society is a systematic and exhaustive analysis of all the majorenergy sources, storages, flows, and conversions that have shaped the evolution of the biosphere andcivilization. Vaclav Smil uses fundamental unifying metrics (most notably for power density andenergy intensity) to provide an integrated framework for analyzing all segments of energetics (thestudy of energy flows and their transformations). The book explores not only planetary energetics(such as solar radiation and geomorphic processes) and bioenergetics (photosynthesis, for example)but also human energetics (such as metabolism and thermoregulation), tracing them fromhunter-gatherer and agricultural societies through modern-day industrial civilization. Included arechapters on heterotrophic conversions, traditional agriculture, preindustrial complexification,fossil fuels, fossil-fueled civilization, the energetics of food, and the implications of energeticsfor the environment. The book concludes with an examination of general patterns, trends, andsocioeconomic considerations of energy use today, looking at correlations between energy and value,energy and the economy, energy and quality of life, and energy futures. Throughout the book, Smilchooses to emphasize the complexities and peculiarities of the real world, and the counterintuitiveoutcomes of many of its processes, over abstract models. Energy in Nature and Society provides aunique, comprehensive, single-volume analysis and reference source on all important energy matters,from natural to industrial energy flows, from fuels to food, from the Earth's formation to possibleenergy futures, and can serve as a text for courses in energy studies, global ecology, earth systemsscience, biology, and chemistry. Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor at the University ofManitoba and the author of many books, including Energy at the Crossroads (2003), The Earth'sBiosphere: Evolution, Dynamics, and Change (2002), and Energies: An Illustrated Guide to theBiosphere and Civilization (1998), all of which are published by The MIT Press.

Alexander von Humboldt und die Erfindung der Natur

Author: Andrea Wulf

Publisher: C. Bertelsmann Verlag

ISBN: 3641195500

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 560

View: 1825

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Was hat Alexander von Humboldt, der vor mehr als 150 Jahren starb, mit Klimawandel und Nachhaltigkeit zu tun? Der Naturforscher und Universalgelehrte, nach dem nicht nur unzählige Straßen, Pflanzen und sogar ein »Mare« auf dem Mond benannt sind, hat wie kein anderer Wissenschaftler unser Verständnis von Natur als lebendigem Ganzen, als Kosmos, in dem vom Winzigsten bis zum Größten alles miteinander verbunden ist und dessen untrennbarer Teil wir sind, geprägt. Die Historikerin Andrea Wulf stellt in ihrem vielfach preisgekrönten – so auch mit dem Bayerischen Buchpreis 2016 – Buch Humboldts Erfindung der Natur, die er radikal neu dachte, ins Zentrum ihrer Erkundungsreise durch sein Leben und Werk. Sie folgt den Spuren des begnadeten Netzwerkers und zeigt, dass unser heutiges Wissen um die Verwundbarkeit der Erde in Humboldts Überzeugungen verwurzelt ist. Ihm heute wieder zu begegnen, mahnt uns, seine Erkenntnisse endlich zum Maßstab unseres Handelns zu machen – um unser aller Überleben willen.

Food, Energy, and Society, Third Edition

Author: David Pimentel, Ph.D.,Marcia H. Pimentel, M.S.

Publisher: CRC Press

ISBN: 9781420046687

Category: Nature

Page: 400

View: 2331

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Since the publication of the first edition of Food, Energy, and Society, the world’s natural resources have become even more diminished due to the rapid expansion of the global human population. We are faced with dwindling food supplies in certain geographic areas, increasing pressure on energy resources, and the imminent extinction of many threatened species. In light of these major issues, this third edition presents an updated and expanded analysis on the interdependency of food, energy, water, land, and biological resources. Written by internationally renowned experts, the book includes new material on livestock production and energy use, the impacts of pesticides on the environment, and the conservation of biodiversity in agricultural, forestry, and marine systems. It also compares the energy inputs of crop production in developing and developed countries, covers the agricultural and environmental issues related to water resources, and details the threat of soil erosion to food and the environment. In addition, the book explores the very timely topics of solar energy, biomass systems, and ethanol production. Offering a startling glimpse at what our planet may become, this edition shows how to achieve the necessary balance between basic human needs and environmental resources and provides potential solutions to the host of problems we face today.

Jenseits von Natur und Kultur

Author: Philippe Descola

Publisher: Suhrkamp Verlag

ISBN: 3518768409

Category: Social Science

Page: 638

View: 7254

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Seit der Zeit der Renaissance ist unser Weltbild von einer zentralen Unterscheidung bestimmt: der zwischen Natur und Kultur. Dort die von Naturgesetzen regierte, unpersönliche Welt der Tiere und Dinge, hier die Menschenwelt mit ihrer individuellen und kulturellen Vielfalt. Diese fundamentale Trennung beherrscht unser ganzes Denken und Handeln. In seinem faszinierenden Buch zeigt der große französische Anthropologe und Schüler von Claude Lévi-Strauss, Philippe Descola, daß diese Kosmologie alles andere als selbstverständlich ist. Dabei stützt er sich auf reiches Material aus zum Teil eigenen anthropologischen Feldforschungen bei Naturvölkern und indigenen Kulturen in Afrika, Amazonien, Neuguinea oder Sibirien. Descola führt uns vor Augen, daß deren Weltbilder ganz andersartig aufgebaut sind als das unsere mit seinen »zwei Etagen« von Natur und Kultur. So betrachten manche Kulturen Dinge als beseelt oder glauben, daß verwandtschaftliche Beziehungen zwischen Tieren und Menschen bestehen. Descola plädiert für eine monistische Anthropologie und entwirft eine Typologie unterschiedlichster Weltbilder. Auf diesem Wege lassen sich neben dem westlichen dualistischen Naturalismus totemistische, animistische oder analogistische Kosmologien entdecken. Eine fesselnde Reise in fremde Welten, die uns unsere eigene mit anderen Augen sehen läßt.

Nature and Society

Anthropological Perspectives

Author: Philippe Descola,Gisli Palsson

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134827156

Category: Social Science

Page: 320

View: 6942

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The contributors to this book focus on the relationship between nature and society from a variety of theoretical and ethnographic perspectives. Their work draws upon recent developments in social theory, biology, ethnobiology, epistemology, sociology of science, and a wide array of ethnographic case studies -- from Amazonia, the Solomon Islands, Malaysia, the Mollucan Islands, rural comunities from Japan and north-west Europe, urban Greece, and laboratories of molecular biology and high-energy physics. The discussion is divided into three parts, emphasising the problems posed by the nature-culture dualism, some misguided attempts to respond to these problems, and potential avenues out of the current dilemmas of ecological discourse.

Aufklärung jetzt

Für Vernunft, Wissenschaft, Humanismus und Fortschritt. Eine Verteidigung

Author: Steven Pinker

Publisher: S. Fischer Verlag

ISBN: 3104030685

Category: Philosophy

Page: 736

View: 1573

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Eine leidenschaftliche Antithese zum üblichen Kulturpessimismus und ein engagierter Widerspruch zu dem weitverbreiteten Gefühl, dass die Moderne dem Untergang geweiht ist. Hass, Populismus und Unvernunft regieren die Welt, Wissenschaftsfeindlichkeit macht sich breit, Wahrheit gibt es nicht mehr: Wer die Schlagzeilen von heute liest, könnte so denken. Doch Bestseller-Autor Steven Pinker zeigt, dass das grundfalsch ist. Er hat die Entwicklung der vergangenen Jahrhunderte gründlich untersucht und beweist in seiner fulminanten Studie, dass unser Leben stetig viel besser geworden ist. Heute leben wir länger, gesünder, sicherer, glücklicher, friedlicher und wohlhabender denn je, und nicht nur in der westlichen Welt. Der Grund: die Aufklärung und ihr Wertesystem. Denn Aufklärung und Wissenschaft bieten nach wie vor die Basis, um mit Vernunft und im Konsens alle Probleme anzugehen. Anstelle von Gerüchten zählen Fakten, anstatt überlieferten Mythen zu glauben baut man auf Diskussion und Argumente. Anschaulich und brillant macht Pinker eines klar: Vernunft, Wissenschaft, Humanismus und Fortschritt sind weiterhin unverzichtbar für unser Wohlergehen. Ohne sie wird die Welt auf keinen Fall zu einem besseren Ort für uns alle. »Mein absolutes Lieblingsbuch aller Zeiten.« Bill Gates

Laudato si

Die Umwelt-Enzyklika des Papstes

Author: Franziskus (Papst),

Publisher: Verlag Herder GmbH

ISBN: 345180736X

Category: Religion

Page: 288

View: 5068

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Mit großer Spannung wurde sie erwartet, auch von Nicht-Katholiken: Die Umwelt-Enzyklika von Papst Franziskus nimmt die heute entscheidenden Themen in den Blick; es geht um die geht um soziale, ökologische und politische Zusammenhänge. Wohl selten war ein päpstliches Schreiben so aktuell und brisant und vor allem relevant für alle Gesellschaftsschichten und Menschen weltweit. Mit "Laudato si" beweist Franziskus, dass die Kirche nach wie vor eine unverzichtbare Stimme im Diskurs zur Gestaltung der modernen Welt ist. Wer verstehen will, wie Papst und Kirche die großen Herausforderungen unserer Zeit bestehen wollen, kommt an diesem Werk nicht vorbei. Ein Muss für jeden, der an den drängenden Fragen unserer Zeit interessiert ist.

Das geheime Leben der Bäume

Was sie fühlen, wie sie kommunizieren - die Entdeckung einer verborgenen Welt

Author: Peter Wohlleben

Publisher: Ludwig

ISBN: 3641114004

Category: Nature

Page: 224

View: 5058

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Ein neuer Blick auf alte Freunde Erstaunliche Dinge geschehen im Wald: Bäume, die miteinander kommunizieren. Bäume, die ihren Nachwuchs, aber auch alte und kranke Nachbarn liebevoll umsorgen und pflegen. Bäume, die Empfindungen haben, Gefühle, ein Gedächtnis. Unglaublich? Aber wahr! – Der Förster Peter Wohlleben erzählt faszinierende Geschichten über die ungeahnten und höchst erstaunlichen Fähigkeiten der Bäume. Dazu zieht er die neuesten wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnisse ebenso heran wie seine eigenen unmittelbaren Erfahrungen mit dem Wald und schafft so eine aufregend neue Begegnung für die Leser: Wir schließen Bekanntschaft mit einem Lebewesen, das uns vertraut schien, uns aber hier erstmals in seiner ganzen Lebendigkeit vor Augen tritt. Und wir betreten eine völlig neue Welt ...

Catastrophes in Nature and Society

Mathematical Modeling of Complex Systems

Author: Viktor Okhonin,Abram Il?ich Fet

Publisher: World Scientific

ISBN: 9812569170

Category: Nature

Page: 320

View: 6205

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People often learn about various crises leading to catastrophes in nature, in social and economic life, or in living organisms (including humans). The book offers a popular account of the causative mechanisms of critical and catastrophic states in a broad range of natural and cultural systems -- which obey the same laws -- and thus makes the reader aware of the reasons and ways to avoid and mitigate the negative consequences of catastrophic events. The authors apply a single mathematical approach to investigate the revolt of cancer cells that destroy organisms and population outbreaks that destroy the natural ecosystems. The approach is also applied to the interference of industry with the environment that often leads to ecology and economic collapses, global catastrophes, and economic and social crises.

Environment, Modernization and Development in East Asia

Perspectives from Environmental History

Author: Ts'ui-jung Liu,James Beattie

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 1137572310

Category: History

Page: 301

View: 7796

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Environment, Modernization and Development in East Asia critically examines modernization's long-term environmental history. It suggests new frameworks for understanding as inter-related processes environmental, social, and economic change across China and Japan.

The Republic of Nature

An Environmental History of the United States

Author: Mark Fiege

Publisher: University of Washington Press

ISBN: 0295804149

Category: History

Page: 520

View: 8135

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In the dramatic narratives that comprise The Republic of Nature, Mark Fiege reframes the canonical account of American history based on the simple but radical premise that nothing in the nation's past can be considered apart from the natural circumstances in which it occurred. Revisiting historical icons so familiar that schoolchildren learn to take them for granted, he makes surprising connections that enable readers to see old stories in a new light. Among the historical moments revisited here, a revolutionary nation arises from its environment and struggles to reconcile the diversity of its people with the claim that nature is the source of liberty. Abraham Lincoln, an unlettered citizen from the countryside, steers the Union through a moment of extreme peril, guided by his clear-eyed vision of nature's capacity for improvement. In Topeka, Kansas, transformations of land and life prompt a lawsuit that culminates in the momentous civil rights case of Brown v. Board of Education. By focusing on materials and processes intrinsic to all things and by highlighting the nature of the United States, Fiege recovers the forgotten and overlooked ground on which so much history has unfolded. In these pages, the nation's birth and development, pain and sorrow, ideals and enduring promise come to life as never before, making a once-familiar past seem new. The Republic of Nature points to a startlingly different version of history that calls on readers to reconnect with fundamental forces that shaped the American experience. For more information, visit the author's website: http://republicofnature.com/

The Energy of Slaves

Oil and the New Servitude

Author: Andrew Nikiforuk

Publisher: Greystone Books

ISBN: 1553659791

Category: Political Science

Page: 272

View: 9072

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By the winner of the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award Ancient civilizations relied on shackled human muscle. It took the energy of slaves to plant crops, clothe emperors, and build cities. Nineteenth-century slaveholders viewed critics as hostilely as oil companies and governments now regard environmentalists. Yet the abolition movement had an invisible ally: coal and oil. As the world's most versatile workers, fossil fuels replenished slavery's ranks with combustion engines and other labor-saving tools. Since then, cheap oil has transformed politics, economics, science, agriculture, and even our concept of happiness. Many North Americans today live as extravagantly as Caribbean plantation owners. We feel entitled to surplus energy and rationalize inequality, even barbarity, to get it. But endless growth is an illusion. What we need, Andrew Nikiforuk argues in this provocative new book, is a radical emancipation movement that ends our master-and-slave approach to energy. We must learn to use energy on a moral, just, and truly human scale.

Extreme Events in Nature and Society

Author: Sergio Albeverio,Volker Jentsch,Holger Kantz

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 354028611X

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 9304

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Significant, and usually unwelcome, surprises, such as floods, financial crisis, epileptic seizures, or material rupture, are the topics of Extreme Events in Nature and Society. The book, authored by foremost experts in these fields, reveals unifying and distinguishing features of extreme events, including problems of understanding and modelling their origin, spatial and temporal extension, and potential impact. The chapters converge towards the difficult problem of anticipation: forecasting the event and proposing measures to moderate or prevent it. Extreme Events in Nature and Society will interest not only specialists, but also the general reader eager to learn how the multifaceted field of extreme events can be viewed as a coherent whole.

Evolution and the Emergent Self

The Rise of Complexity and Behavioral Versatility in Nature

Author: Raymond L. Neubauer

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231521685

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 3587

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Evolution and the Emergent Self is an eloquent and evocative new synthesis that explores how the human species emerged from the cosmic dust. Lucidly presenting ideas about the rise of complexity in our genetic, neuronal, ecological, and ultimately cosmological settings, the author takes readers on a provocative tour of modern science's quest to understand our place in nature and in our universe. Readers fascinated with "Big History" and drawn to examine big ideas will be challenged and enthralled by Raymond L. Neubauer's ambitious narrative. How did humans emerge from the cosmos and the pre-biotic Earth, and what mechanisms of biological, chemical, and physical sciences drove this increasingly complex process? Neubauer presents a view of nature that describes the rising complexity of life in terms of increasing information content, first in genes and then in brains. The evolution of the nervous system expanded the capacity of organisms to store information, making learning possible. In key chapters, the author portrays four species with high brain:body ratios—chimpanzees, elephants, ravens, and dolphins—showing how each species shares with humans the capacity for complex communication, elaborate social relationships, flexible behavior, tool use, and powers of abstraction. A large brain can have a hierarchical arrangement of circuits that facilitates higher levels of abstraction. Neubauer describes this constellation of qualities as an emergent self, arguing that self-awareness is nascent in several species besides humans and that potential human characteristics are embedded in the evolutionary process and have emerged repeatedly in a variety of lineages on our planet. He ultimately demonstrates that human culture is not a unique offshoot of a language-specialized primate, but an analogue of fundamental mechanisms that organisms have used since the beginning of life on Earth to gather and process information in order to buffer themselves from fluctuations in the environment. Neubauer also views these developments in a cosmic setting, detailing open thermodynamic systems that grow more complex as the energy flowing through them increases. Similar processes of increasing complexity can be found in the "self-organizing" structures of both living and nonliving forms. Recent evidence from astronomy indicates that planet formation may be nearly as frequent as star formation. Since life makes use of the elements commonly seeded into space by burning and expiring stars, it is reasonable to speculate that the evolution of life and intelligence that happened on our planet may be found across the universe.

Global Catastrophes and Trends

The Next 50 Years

Author: Vaclav Smil

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262195860

Category: Science

Page: 307

View: 9599

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Fundamental change occurs most often in one of two ways: as a "fatal discontinuity," a sudden catastrophic event that is potentially world changing, or as a persistent, gradual trend. Global catastrophes include volcanic eruptions, viral pandemics, wars, and large-scale terrorist attacks; trends are demographic, environmental, economic, and political shifts that unfold over time. In this provocative book, scientist Vaclav Smil takes a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary look at the catastrophes and trends the next fifty years may bring. Smil first looks at rare but cataclysmic events, both natural and human-produced, then at trends of global importance, including the transition from fossil fuels to other energy sources and growing economic and social inequality. He also considers environmental change -- in some ways an amalgam of sudden discontinuities and gradual change -- and assesses the often misunderstood complexities of global warming. Global Catastrophes and Trends does not come down on the side of either doom-and-gloom scenarios or techno-euphoria. Instead, Smil argues that understanding change will help us reverse negative trends and minimize the risk of catastrophe.

The Ethics of Global Climate Change

Author: Denis G. Arnold

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139501003

Category: Philosophy

Page: N.A

View: 3397

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Global climate change is one of the most daunting ethical and political challenges confronting humanity in the twenty-first century. The intergenerational and transnational ethical issues raised by climate change have been the focus of a significant body of scholarship. In this new collection of essays, leading scholars engage and respond to first-generation scholarship and argue for new ways of thinking about our ethical obligations to present and future generations. Topics addressed in these essays include moral accountability for energy consumption and emissions, egalitarian and libertarian perspectives on mitigation, justice in relation to cap and trade schemes, the ethics of adaptation and the ethical dimensions of the impact of climate change on nature.