Soil contamination . . . public lands . . . surface and groundwater pollution . . . coastal erosion . . . global warming. Have we reached the limits of this planet's ability to provide for us? If so, what can we do about it?These vital questions are addressed in The Earth Around Us, a unique collection of thirty-one essays by a diverse array of today's foremost scientist-writers. Sharing an ability to communicate science in a clear and engaging fashion, the contributors explore Earth's history and processes--especially in relation to today's environmental issues--and show how we, as members of a global community, can help maintain a livable planet. The narratives in this collection are organized into seven parts that describe: Earth's time and history and the place of people on it Views of nature and the ethics behind our conduct on Earth Resources for the twenty-first century, such as public lands, healthy forests and soils, clean ground and surface waters, and fluctuating coastlines Ill-informed local manipulations of landscapes across the United States Innovative solutions to environmental problems that arise from knowledge of the interactions between living things and the Earth's air, water, and soil Natural and human-induced global scale perturbations to the earth system Our responsibility to people and all other organisms that live on Earth. Never before has such a widely experienced group of prominent earth scientists been brought together to help readers understand how earth's environment works. Driven by the belief that earth science is, and should be, an integral part of everyday life, The Earth Around Us empowers all of us to play a more educated and active part in the search for a sustainable future for our planet and its inhabitants.
Preface Acknowledgments About the Contributors Records of Time and History * Geology: The Bifocal Science Susan Werner Kieffer * Set Piece on Geologic Time from Annals of the Former World John McPhee * Stories of Land, Stories from Land Lauret E. Savoy * Henry's Land Paul Bierman Scientific Judgments and Ethical Considerations * Natural Science, Natural Resources, and the Nature of Nature Marcia G. Bjrnerud * Why Believe a Computer? Models, Measures and Meaning in the Natural World Naomi Oreskes * Down to Earth: A Historical Look at Government-Sponsored Geology Gordon P. Eaton * Sustainable Living: Common Ground for Geology and Theology George W. Fisher * The Golden Rule: A Proper Scale for Our Environmental Crisis Stephen Jay Gould Resources Reconfigured * Ruling the Range: Managing The Public's Resources David Applegate * Rocks, Paper, Soils, Trees: The View from an Experimental Forest Frederick J. Swanson * Are Soils Endangered? Ronald Amundson * The Edwards Aquifer: Water for Thirsty Texans John M. Sharp, Jr. and Jay L. Banner * From the Catskills to Canal Street: New York City's Water Supply Jill S. Schneiderman * Sustaining Healthy Coasts Jeffrey L. Payne Local Manipulations * Lessons From Lighthouses: Shifting Sands, Coastal Management Strategies, and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Controversy Orrin H. Pilkey, David M. Bush, and William J. Neal * The Follies of Lotus Bay Jill K. Singer * Dredging to Keep New York-New Jersey Harbor Alive Meg E. Stewart * An Earth Scientist in City Hall: Geology and Community Planning Paul K. Doss Inventive Solutions * The Rise and Fall of Dams James E. Evans, Scudder D. Mackey, Johan F. Gottgens and Wilfrid M. Gill * Living With Karst: Maintaining a Clean Water Supply in Olmsted County, Minnesota Cathryn A. Manduca * Standoff At Yucca Mountain: High Level Nuclear Waste in the U.S.A Allison Macfarlane * Appetite for Toxins: Bioremediation of Contaminated Soil Rosa E. Gwinn Whole Earth Perturbations * Ocean Circulation: Conveyor of Past and Future Climate Steven M. Stanley * A Record of Climate Change From Owens Lake Sediments Kirsten M. Menking * Lessons From the Past For Future Climate Tamara Nameroff * Nature's Sunscreen: Ozone Depletion and the Health of the Whole Robin L. Hornung and Thomas F. Downham II Global Perspectives * Let Earth Speak! Victor R. Baker * Geology and Environmental Justice: An Example from Hawaii Jill S. Schneiderman and Virginia Ashby Sharpe * Stakes, Options, and Some Natural Limits To a Sustainable World--E-an ZenWhat Else Should My Neighbor Know? Caryl Edward Buchwald End Notes Index