Foundations of the Earth: Global Ecological Change and the Book of Job

Hardcover | July 8, 2014

byH.H. Shugart

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"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?" God asks Job in the "Whirlwind Speech," but Job cannot reply. This passage-which some environmentalists and religious scholars treat as a "green" creation myth-drives renowned ecologist H. H. Shugart's extraordinary investigation, in which he uses verses from God's speech to Job to explore the planetary system, animal domestication, sea-level rise, evolution, biodiversity, weather phenomena, and climate change.

Shugart calls attention to the rich resonance between the Earth's natural history and the workings of religious feeling, the wisdom of biblical scripture, and the arguments of Bible ethicists. The divine questions that frame his study are quintessentially religious, and the global changes humans have wrought on the Earth operate not only in the physical, chemical, and biological spheres but also in the spiritual realm. Shugart offers a universal framework for recognizing and confronting the global challenges humans now face: the relationship between human technology and large-scale environmental degradation, the effect of invasive species on the integrity of ecosystems, the role of humans in generating wide biotic extinctions, and the future of our oceans and tides.

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"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?" God asks Job in the "Whirlwind Speech," but Job cannot reply. This passage-which some environmentalists and religious scholars treat as a "green" creation myth-drives renowned ecologist H. H. Shugart's extraordinary investigation, in which he uses verses from God's speech to Jo...

H. H. "Hank" Shugart holds the W. W. Corcoran Chair in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and has produced more than 400 scientific publications that largely involve systems ecology and ecosystems modeling strongly focused on regional and global change. His previous book How the Earthquake Bird Got Its Name and Other...

other books by H.H. Shugart

Format:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:July 8, 2014Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231169086

ISBN - 13:9780231169080

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Introduction2. Laying the Foundation of the Earth3. Taming the Unicorn, Yoking the Aurochs: Animal and Plant Domestication and the Consequent Alteration ofthe Surface of the Earth4. Freeing the Onager: Feral and Introduced Animals5. Bounding the Seas, Freezing the Face of the Deep: When the Sea Is Loosed from Its Bonds6. The Ordinances of the Heavens and Their Rule on Earth: Adaptation and the Cycles of Life7. The Dwelling of the Light and the Paths to Its Home: Winds, Ocean Currents, and the Global Energy Balance8. Making the Ground Put Forth Grass: The Relationship Between Climate and Vegetation9. Feeding the Lions: The Conservation of Biological Diversity on a Changing Planet10. Making Weather and Influencing Climate: Human Engineering of the Earth11. Conclusion: Comprehending the EarthNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

Shugart should be congratulated for writing a book which is both intellectually fascinating and easy to read - but also important. It can be recommended as a worthwhile gift for school students or aged acdemics; perhaps it should also be required reading for politicians obsessed with the immediate and short-term.