Revolutions that Made the Earth

Paperback | April 10, 2013

byTim Lenton, Andrew Watson

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The Earth that sustains us today was born out of a few remarkable, near-catastrophic revolutions, started by biological innovations and marked by global environmental consequences. The revolutions have certain features in common, such as an increase in the complexity, energy utilization, andinformation processing capabilities of life. This book describes these revolutions, showing the fundamental interdependence of the evolution of life and its non-living environment. We would not exist unless these upheavals had led eventually to "successful" outcomes - meaning that after each one, atlength, a new stable world emerged. The current planet-reshaping activities of our species may be the start of another great Earth system revolution, but there is no guarantee that this one will be successful. This book explains what a successful transition through it might look like, if we are wise enough to steer such a course. This book places humanity in context as part of the Earth system, using a new scientific synthesis to illustrate our debt to the deep past and our potential for the future.

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From the Publisher

The Earth that sustains us today was born out of a few remarkable, near-catastrophic revolutions, started by biological innovations and marked by global environmental consequences. The revolutions have certain features in common, such as an increase in the complexity, energy utilization, andinformation processing capabilities of life. ...

Tim Lenton is a Professor at the University of Essex. His research focuses on understanding the behaviour of the Earth as a whole system, especially through the development and use of Earth system models. After gaining a BA in Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, he investigated what regulates the nutrient balance of the ocean an...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:440 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.07 inPublished:April 10, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199673462

ISBN - 13:9780199673469

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Table of Contents

PrefacePart I - Introduction1. Origins2. Carbon and oxygen3. Russion dolls4. The revolutionsPart II - Theory5. The anthropic Earth6. The critical steps7. Playing GaiaPart III - The oygen revolution8. Photosynthesis9. The trial of the oxygen poisoners10. The Great OxidationPart IV - The complexity revolution11. Life gets an upgrade12. When did eukaryotes evolve?13. The not-so-boring billion14. The NeoproterozoicPart V - Interlude15. Animals and oxygen16. The grand recycling coalition17. Rolls of the dicePart VI - A new revolution?18. Climate wobbles19. The origins of us20. Review21. Where next?

Editorial Reviews

"An exciting, timely, scholarly, and innovative book." --Tyler Volk, New York University, author of CO2 Rising: The World's Greatest Environmental Challenge