History

Earth Odyssey by Mark Hertsgaard

And Hertsgaard’s book interestingly brings this tendency to the foreground, and it is vividly illustrated already in the first chapter depicting the Chinese city of Chongqing, where the ‘healthy’ state of the environment and population is sacrificed to industrial development.
The second valuable contribution of the book to my worldview was made by the speculations on the development of life on the planet from the historical perspective. To my thinking, the author conveyed two vital ideas related to the topic. Firstly, people have always influenced the environment in different ways, and with development of civilization, this influenced gradually strengthened, placing the “burden on the earth’s ecosystem” (Hertsgaard). People’s striving to insure supplies of clean water, produce enough food to feed the growing population and others have always affected the state of environment. Therefore, this view showed that human beings have never lived completely independently from the environment, i.e. life and evolution of human civilization has always occurred at the environment’s expense. Secondly, Hertsgaard communicates a rather extraordinary idea referring to the viewpoint of Desmond Morris, the zoologist: the history of life on earth shows that almost all the biological species are doomed to extinct one day like dinosaurs did due to their vulnerability to natural forces or other biological species. However, people prove to be an exception from this general rule and the “earth’s dominant species” (Hertsgaard).

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