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kindle ¾ The Wizard and the Prophet à 640 pages Download Ê Charles C. Mann í ❰Download❯ ✤ The Wizard and the Prophet Author Charles C. Mann – From the best selling award winning author of 1491 and 1493 an incisive portrait of the two lCrops that then saved millions from starvation Innovate was Borlaug's cry Only in that way can everyone win Mann delves into these diverging viewpoints to assess the four great challenges humanity faces food water energy climate change grounding each in historical context and weighing the options for the future With our civilization on the line the author's insightful analysis is an essential addition to the urgent conversation about how our children will fare on an increasingly crowded Earth How will humanity chose to address the future ecological problems it will face? Weaving together biography philosophy and science the author presents an unbiased perspective on the two possible paths we can take to meet the challenges of supporting 10 billion people by 2050 Here are some interesting points I took away from the book1 Human beings are subject to the same ecological and biological constraints as all species For example the principle of the sigmoid growth curve states that any population growing exponentially including humans starts off slowly goes through a rapid growth phase and then levels off as it approaches the “carrying capacity” The carrying capacity is determined by food availability competing species and environmental hazards As Thomas Malthus first formally identified population growth tends to outstrip food supply and the destiny of most species is ultimately extinction This raises some interesting uestions for humans such as what our own carrying capacity might be the human population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050 Clearly there are limits even if we’re not sure what those might be 2 Once you understand the concept of carrying capacity it becomes clear that there are two ways of addressing the problem One is to limit population growth or resource utilization The second is to increase the availability of resources for example by using science to increase crop yield If you believe the answer is in cutting back and conservation you’re following the legacy of William Vogt and the Prophets If you believe prosperity affluence and science is the answer you’re following the legacy of Norman Borlaug and the Wizards 3 There are no simple answers While science and technology can increase food production and energy capacity there are costs Humans are driving and have driven several species to extinction are artificially warming the planet acidifying the oceans damaging the ozone and altering entire ecosystems Likewise while conservation and environmental protection programs are valuable in themselves they don’t produce enough food or energy to support the growing population Without economic growth innovation suffers and cannot solve ecological problems as they arise It also seems contrary to human nature to want less rather than These are difficult problems and I appreciate that the author having researched the material for years didn’t pretend he had all the answers That makes this book a great lesson in humility and journalistic integrity in addition to a brilliant and detailed examination of the issues

text ´ The Wizard and the Prophet Ð Charles C. Mann

Y fall into two deeply divided groups Wizards and Prophets as Charles Mann calls them in this balanced authoritative nonpolemical new book The Prophets he explains follow William Vogt a founding environmentalist who believed that in using than our planet has to give our prosperity will lead us to ruin Cut back was his mantra Otherwise everyone will lose The Wizards are the heirs of Norman Borlaug whose research in effect wrangled the world in service to our species to produce modern high yield I've read about both Borlaug The Wizard Vogt The Prophet before but it's great to get a better picture of their lives missions especially where their adherents collide head on Borlaug believed that technology got us into this mess could get us out of it He's credited with saving over a billion lives due to his work with tweaking crops to grow in poor soils He is credited as the father of the Green Revolution crops modified to resist disease deliver while being fertilized protected by chemical means He wanted to feed hungry people now Vogt saw humans racing headlong into Malthusian destruction our only option was to cut back the human population allow Mother Nature to prosper He sees the environment as having a 'carrying capacity' being limited in what we can safely take from it He is the father of the modern conservation movement Both have fanatic supporters I've rarely read a book on the subject that wasn't completely biased toward one camp or the other The author admits to being on the fence which lends his work a balanced point of viewSince I already know something about them I'm finding the people politics surrounding our heroes even interesting than their biographies works Conservation originally was seen as a way for the government to get control by regulating what companies people could do a real danger to capitalism The thinking at the time meant that many of the members were racists believed in eugenics Conservation of nature was conflated with conserving the white raceA perfect example is Madison Grant I've heard of him before as a friend of Teddy Roosevelt his conservation efforts Grant founded the American Bison Society was one of the main forces behind setting up the Bronx Zoo the biggest best zoo I visited as a kid I hadn't realized Grant also wrote The Passing of the Great Race or the Racial Basis of European History was against immigration women's rights He was complicated I still think he was a great man greatly right greatly wrong so I applaud his good works but don't forget his bad ones The Sierra Club other organizations he helped distanced themselves from him as much as possible after Hitler company took the ideas he they espoused to their logical conclusionNot all of Vogt's friends supporters were so complicated though He was friends with Roger Peterson the author of the field guides helped him get his first one published Peterson's ID system for birds is fantastic although I generally find the Audubon guides a little complete Rachel Carson was one of Vogt's disciples popularized his ideas with her fantastic book Silent SpringBorlaug grew up on a subsistence farm While he never went hungry he knew how much labor went into it how much tech helped when the family got a tractor It allowed him to continue his education leave the farm He reasoned that tech had gotten us into a mess was needed to get us out of it People needed to eat They were starving that wasn't acceptableIt's a shame Borlaug Vogt their followers can't see any middle ground but what the 2 men saw in the same Mexican fields gave them entirely different visions of the future Vogt saw worn out fields that weren't salvageable the only solution was less people growing less food Borlaug saw a problem that needed to be fixed could be with the right tech He did but there were conseuences due to improper use of fertilizers pesticides To make the misunderstandings worse Vogt those in his camp often tend to mysticism which doesn't work well with scientists The prophets also tend to forget that people want to keep or better their standard of living They aren't going to let any government take away their comforts for possible future generations Most don't save enough for their own retirement Nor can our economy make huge changes or handle too many restrictions too uickly We also need to deal with unforeseen conseuences such as invasive species I don't like spraying parauat It's dangerous to me I have to fence off the animals from the area for 40 days a tough proposition I have goats horses One jumps over through under while the other just runs temporary fences over I have to occasionally due to a poisonous invasive plant that takes over the fields thoughWe've changed the environment dramatically continue to do so both on purpose mining fishing farming habitation inadvertently invasive species waste We're riding a runaway truck people economy with very limited steering technology brakes conservation We're mowing over the environment in our plunge may well wind up going off a cliff but we really don't know where the cliff edge is Our climate models are poor guesses everyone wants to be right than they want solutionsConservation efforts are needed because the technologists don't know as much as they think they do Every day we're discovering about the biosphere how complex it is Even 50 years ago we had no idea how pervasive important bacteria were we're barely realizing it now We still can't make a decent weather forecast a week out Wetlands are a efficient cheaper filter than anything we've come up with Most of all it's morally correct I love the land plants wildlife I don't want to see Terra covered in concrete but the so called 'natural environment' is a figment of popular imagination We're part of the environment have been changing it dramatically since our ancestors discovered fire burned off grasslands tens of thousands of years ago at least by some accounts The climate has changed numerous times that was probably what stirred us into creating agriculture 10K years ago We've turned deserts that couldn't support a small settlement into habitations for millions eg Los Angeles We poisoned our cities with smog from coal petroleum fumes but we've cleaned that up with maturing technologies Disease starvation other ills are at their lowest points ever yet we have far people than ever Technology is a very powerful tool for good ill that we can't won't abandon It would be really nice if we could come to some agreement on how to use it responsibly without so much wasted argumentMann only presented the two sides of the argument I wish he'd had space to address hybrid solutions but the book was a bit too long as it was Still he's the guy to do it In the Energy chapter he notes that the techs want centralized electric generators while the conservationists want it to be distributed I have several large structures that could be fitted with solar panels or windmills to generate electricity feed it directly into the grid Around here the electric company makes it inexpensive to hook up alternative power generation to their grid pays residential rates back Not all do Good deal BUT there is little data available on which to make investments the break even point is probably too far off by any but the most optimistic estimates for solar wind in my area This is an area where governments could invest very little an anemometer logging data some expert help to push some distributed electric generation A little in low interest loans tax breaks other incentives would really give it push I'd keep buying my electric from the grid because I need steady power but I'd also put some into it to ease the central burden No batteries needed while it won't fix the need it also won't be trying to force it on anyone who can't or doesn't want to deal with itAnyway I've had a foot in both camps all my life really appreciated this look at both sides of this great debate IMO it should be reuired reading I'd like to see it presented in an abridged simplified form starting in first grade with balanced details added every year in schools It's possibly the most complicated important mess we face I highly recommend this to everyone in any format I listened to this as an audio book it was very well narrated but I appreciated having the ebook to review information Mann mentions a lot of names studies that will be interesting to explore

Charles C. Mann Ð The Wizard and the Prophet mobi

The Wizard and the ProphetFrom the best selling award winning author of 1491 and 1493 an incisive portrait of the two little known twentieth century scientists Norman Borlaug and William Vogt whose diametrically opposed views shaped our ideas about the environment laying the groundwork for how people in the twenty first century will choose to live in tomorrow's worldIn forty years Earth's population will reach ten billion Can our world support that? What kind of world will it be? Those answering these uestions generall A pretty good if overlong book about technical progress Wizards vs environmental activism Prophets More or less Mann does a good job of remaining even handed in this long running debate which became prominent in the US with John Muir vs Gifford Pinchot in the early 20th century Mann picked William Vogt as his Prophet poster boy I’d never heard of Vogt an ornithologist who studied the guano islands off Peru in the 1940s and went on to activism And I had trouble remembering who were the Wizards Or Prophets I knew a fair bit about Norman Borlaug the book's Wizard who won a Nobel Peace Prize as the father of the Green Revolution But I didn’t know the details of his career and just how hard it was breeding a dwarf high yielding wheat variety that could resist wheat rust an ubiuitous and destructive fungal disease Without any formal training in plant breeding which was just as well since he was trying unorthodox methods He got lucky and the Mexicans and then the world got wheat that yielded twice or three times the best previous yields See first comment for details of the development and acceptance of the miracle wheatThe new wheat varieties finally enabled India and other countries to feed themselves Which was the point of the exercise as they sure couldn’t before It’s a bit hard to imagine that Prophets would criticize this achievement but some do There’s an evil chain of thought from Malthus to eugenics to Nazis that said let those foreigners die they breed like rabbits anyway As Winston Churchill uipped declining to send food aid to Bengal in 1942 3000000 Bengalis British subjects all starved to deathMann had a hard time making some of the doom 'n' gloom Prophets' ideas seem reasonable Not that a lot of them aren’t but it’s hard to take people like Jeremy Rifkin or Paul Erlich seriously Or paving the world’s deserts or Germany with solar farmsThe middle part of the book is the weakest and I skimmed a lot of familiar material on energy use population growth and global warming Mann is careless at time with cites and facts he repeatedly gives an estimate of a global population of around 10 billion by 2050 but never cites a source In a brief fact check there is a range of UN estimates from 8 to 10 billion by 2050 or less likely higher And the global population may start to decrease about then Prosperous people have fewer kids More on projected population growth at second commentHis summary of climate change skepticism in an appendix is fair minded In my opinion as a geologist who’s looked into the topic in some depth the climate is warming but pretty slowly and this is unlikely to cause major problems I could be wrongAnd there’s a sweet optimistic coda à la “The Better Angels of our Nature” that says maybe we can somehow pull this off give everybody a decent life without totally trashing our planet I certainly hope so and though we may disagree on the details I expect you do tooThe book is closer to 35 stars but I've gotten impatient with writers who take 10 words when 2 will do Thus the round down But likely worth your effort to skim at least The Norman Borlaug bio is excellent