Sunday, December 11, 2016

David Grinspoon's "Earth in Human Hands"

David Grinspoon is an astrobiologist, award-winning science communicator, and prize-winning author. He is a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute and Adjunct Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Science at the University of Colorado. His research focuses on climate evolution on Earth-like planets and potential conditions for life elsewhere in the universe. He is involved with several interplanetary spacecraft missions for NASA, the European Space Agency and the Japanese Space Agency. In 2013 he was appointed as the inaugural Chair of Astrobiology at the U.S. Library of Congress where he studied the human impact on Earth systems and organized a public symposium on the Longevity of Human Civilization.

Grinspoon applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet's Future, and reported the following:
Page 99 of Earth in Human Hands is in the section I call “The Worst Thing that Ever Happened”. This is part of my description of the different kinds of catastrophes that have befallen life on Earth. On this page I’m describing “the great dying”- the horrible mass extinction event 250 million years ago when all life was nearly completely wiped out, and our efforts to understand what it is that caused this disaster. I’m using this to put into perspective the changes happening right now on Earth, due to the combined actions of human beings. We have now become a geological force and we need to come to grips with that fact and learn how to conduct ourselves accordingly. I think it can help to see this in context with the other major changes our planet has gone through over the ages. That allows us to ask what is really new and different about this new age of human modification of the Earth, and this can inform the way we conduct ourselves on this planet in order to find a way to live sustainably. These are the central questions of my book.
Visit David Grinspoon's website.

Writers Read: David Grinspoon.

--Marshal Zeringue