Read Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit by Al Gore Online


Re-released on the heels of Al Gores #1 New York Times bestseller, An Inconvenient Truth, comes the paperback edition of his classic bestseller, Earth in the Balance. First published in 1992, it helped place the environment on the national agenda; now, as environmental issues move front-and-center in the public consciousness, the time is right to reflect deeply on the fatRe-released on the heels of Al Gores #1 New York Times bestseller, An Inconvenient Truth, comes the paperback edition of his classic bestseller, Earth in the Balance. First published in 1992, it helped place the environment on the national agenda; now, as environmental issues move front-and-center in the public consciousness, the time is right to reflect deeply on the fate of our planet and commit ourselves to its future. While An Inconvenient Truth closely examines one menace to our environmentglobal warmingEarth in the Balance takes a broader approach, focusing on the threats that everyday choices pose to our climate, water, soil, and diversity of plant and animal life. A passionate, lifelong defender of the environment, Gore describesin brave and unforgettable termshow human actions and decisions can endanger or safeguard the vulnerable ecosystem that sustains us. ...

Title : Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit
Author :
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ISBN : 9781594866371
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 407 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit Reviews

  • Kinga
    2019-05-22 16:03

    “We learned, for example, that in some areas of Poland, children are regularly taken underground into deep mines to gain some respite from the buildup of gases and pollution of all sorts in the air. One can almost imagine their teachers emerging tentatively from the mine, carrying canaries to warn the children when it’s no longer safe for them to stay above the ground.”This is an actual quote. From a book. Written by a Nobel Prize Winner.It came out around the time I lived in the US on my one year cultural exchange program. I was bored to death and entertained myself with inventing crazy stories about Poland and feeding them to gullible American teenagers who went to school with me. I told them that although the shops in Poland are open all week, you can only buy things on Mondays. It's a part of government program against poverty and it stops people from buying too much shit they don't need.Also told them we keep lots of farm animals in our flats and houses even in cities because their body heat keeps us warm at night. The government provides one cow-radiator for a family but if you have some money you are sure to buy a sheep or two to supplement that. Especially in winter. So when Al Gore says 'we learned' I think he means he had an exchange student from Poland in his school.

  • Brett
    2019-05-21 09:13

    Gore deserves some serious credit for writing this book in 1992, before it was in vogue to care about the environment. And though things are now worse than when this was written, this book still seemed valuable to me. I have, of course, seen An Inconvient Truth (some bits of which are taken from Earth in the Balance), but this book helped give me a fuller understanding of Gore's thoughts on the environmental crisis.The first section--"Balance at Risk"--is the strongest. Here is where Gore lays out the major problems humanity is facing. Global warming and ozone depletion are at the top of the list, along with deforestation. The next section, entitled "The Search for Balance" too often wades into quasi-mysticism, but does make the legitimate point that in order to start to address the crisis, it would be helpful for people to feel some connection to the earth, beyond the desire to use the resources buried underneath it. The final section "Striking the Balance" calls for making "the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization." It is true that this is necessary, but Gore doesn't really illuminate the way in which such a change could be achieved. The stated goal would essentially require a wholesale remaking of society; that sort of thing does not just happen--it would require nothing less than the defeat of the most powerful instituions operating in the world--our corporate masters and the political and ideological structures that uphold them.In fact, what makes the book bittersweet, is that Gore does truly seem to be passionate about this cause. I don't doubt his sincerity. But even after 8 years as the vice president of the United States, he managed to accomplish little in terms of serious environmental progress. Not only that, but the public's willingness to endure even a small sacrifice has not increased whatsoever in the decades since Earth in the Balance was originally published. In his 2000 campaign, Gore did nothing to draw attention to environmental problems for fear of being tagged a treehugger (a tag which was nontheless applied to him). And outside of environmentalist circles, public outcry about the Bush administration's awful environmental record is virtually non-existent. And even as I write this, $4 gasoline has prompted the republican party to press to drill for oil on every speck of US land and our coastal areas; evidently, they feel the public is behind them on this issue. If that is true--if we cannot even countenance paying what Europe has paid at the pump for years before we are willing to destroy every last natural place--then I fear that the struggle to maintain a livable planet is already over.But I've wandered off topic. Earth in the Balance has some excellent pictures. The boats in the middle of the desert (which used to be the Aral Sea) are memorable, as is graphic from which the title of the book is taken--a Bush I era drawing of a scale with the entire earth on one side, and six bars of gold, apparently weighing an equal amount, on the other. If nothing else, Earth in the Balance will serve as a reminder that at least somebody was trying to sound the alarm about environmental catastrophe back when it still seemed possible to avert disaster.

  • Richard
    2019-04-28 15:07

    I read this right after seeing An Inconvenient Truth because I was curious to see what Gore had done in this format, and also to see how his perception of the environment had changed in the years between the two works.The problem with this book, and the reason I don't recommend it, is that it's short on science and long on spiritual/religious/newage (rhymes with sewage) malarkey. A book on environmentalism should persuade the reader with facts and explanations, and it should let scientists speak (as it were) to the reader as much as possible. But instead of taking that more serious approach, Gore wastes the better part of his book waxing poetic on mankind's God-given duty to shepherd the Earth, and lamenting the loss of the mystical connection that (he believes) our ancestors had with the planet. Reading that fluff, I had to wonder whether Gore really believed it or whether he was trying to appear "spiritually enlightened" for political appeal.At one point, Gore recalls Reagan's Interior Secretary Watt, who had famously remarked that there was no need to husband the environment because the Second Coming was imminent. Gore claims that Watt was being untrue to scripture, since the "true" faith holds that man's charge is to nurture the planet. Gore doesn't realize that there is no "true" interpretation when it comes to faith, and that that is (one reason) why it's better to stick with science.

  • Pete daPixie
    2019-05-08 09:03

    Super Al wrote this book in the early 1990's when he was in the Senate. Almost ten years before running for President against Bush. That election has cost world ecology a decade!Gore's 'Earth in the Balance' is a clear warning given to the human race against it's relentless carbon fuelled rape of mother earth. The ecology issues haven't changed since A.G. wrote the book, they're just more urgent now.He writes of the dysfunctional human spirit that he traces back to the ideas of Rene Descartes and Sir Francis Bacon that have removed the 'connection' with the earth and driven us to our present consumer societies, and our wasteful exploitation of earths resources.He ends this monster with his proposal for a new 'Marshall Plan' to address third world debt and establish international environmental treaties and co-operation.Question: What did he achieve when he was Clinton's VP?Whatever....Gore v Bush. The winner of that election couldn't read a book like this let alone write one.

  • Tresuiri
    2019-04-25 09:02

    An excellent piece of work by Mr. Gore. Although I commiserate his electoral loss, I appreciate his taking the opportunity to produce this work. I agree with the cover, an outstanding piece of leadership in our time of need. I have a new found respect for Mr. Gore. It is depressing that since this book was published, progress has not been meted out to meet the need. If you feel that you want or need to address the global environmental imbalance, this is an excellent resource to put it all in context as well as giving insights and examples of what you can do on an individual level. And if you're already there, the book gives examples of next steps of what one can do as well as directions to take the fight. Note that this book is not comprised of case studies, but rather a discourse of Mr. Gore's experience and his personal views. The examples are given as illustrative elaborations of his concepts. I want to give this book five stars, but I can't: I was able to put it down and wait till I had time to finish it later. Nonetheless, I strongly advocate reading this book.

  • Laura
    2019-04-29 11:06

    I shudder to think that our destructive habits have worsened since "Earth in Balance's" conception in '92. "Earth in Balance" is laden with emotive stories and facts, proceeded by Gore's proposed solutions. Gore's occasional attempts to harmonize religion and environmentalism both impress and amuse, as it has become apparent during the current conservative presence that we must de-polarize the two to achieve success.The book is far from brief, which, in all honesty, could turn several desired audiences from reading. A bit of condensing could be beneficial. Gore's movie is a much better "baby step" for hopeful converts, but overall I feel it's an crucial read -- for motivation, responsibility, self-education, and for the imperative action we must take to resolve this environmental dilemma.

  • Omar
    2019-05-05 08:01

    "Having attempted in earlier chapters to understand the crisis from the perspectives offered by the earth sciences, economics, sociology, history, information theory, psychology, philosophy, and religion, I now want to examine, from my vantage point as a politician, what I think can be done about it." (270).It's a remarkable work of synthesis; at times, Gore overstretches (especially the bit about religion), but I can really appreciate his attempt to make the environment the "organizing principle" of modern society. It's also one of those cases, as happened for me with The Origin of Species, when you realize that so much of what you have learned recently had already been thought about and articulated years ago. At the same time, you get the sense that there is a deep sadness here.

  • Julia
    2019-05-09 12:16

    Long before AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH became famous, Gore wrote EARTH IN THE BALANCE in 1992, an amazing book with detailed research. He had just turned 40, lost the presidential bid, and his 6 year old son had been hit by a car. Gore worked on the book as he sat by his son's hospital bed. If anyone needs proof as to how brilliant this man is, just read this book. On p. 12 he states: "In the end, we must restore a balance within ourselves between who we are and what we are doing....The more deeply I search for the roots of the global environmental crisis, the more I am convinced that it is an outward manifestation of the inner crisis that is, for lack of a better word, spiritual."America may never realize just how brilliant a man Gore is--and how much we lost in 2000.

  • Kurt
    2019-04-22 16:21

    The book provides a great overview of many environmental problems the world has experienced or is currently facing. I was expecting it to be more of a discussion on climate change, but it delved into all kinds of topics that one would pick up in an introductory environmental sciences class. For someone with vary little background in this field, I would highly recommend this book. For those who are already pretty well versed in the topic, the book will seem pretty repetitive with what the reader already knows. From what I can remember from "An Inconvenient Truth", there is a lot of cross-over between that and the book.

  • Melinda
    2019-05-03 15:07

    The seeds of "AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH" are right here. Well written by perhaps the smartest man ever "elected" for president of the USA.

  • Lynda
    2019-04-23 08:14

    I've been a fan of Gore for awhile. I learned the 'inconvenient truth' of what our inactionhas done to the planet. and how clean water willbe scarce worldwide.

  • Maria Valderrama
    2019-05-17 09:11


  • Michael
    2019-05-16 14:21

    Here is the thing: there are too many people creating too much waste and using too many resources for all of this to last for too much longer. Soil, air, water, food...none of the arrows are pointing in the right direction. That's just how it is. Other civilizations have risen, and fallen, because of their inability to exist in harmony with the environment (although never on the scale we are talking about now). I suspect that, at some point--it will seem so sudden!--nature will express her displeasure with us. It will not be pleasant. There is no will, at the level of the individual, the nation, or the global community, to address the imbalances between what we consume, what we create, and what we excrete. I am not immune from a phenomena that I have discovered infects the majority of our thinking in these early days of the 21st century: We believe that today is the same as yesterday, and that tomorrow will be the same as today. This is an error, perhaps a fatal one. I find the current state of our planet less frightening than I do depressing because it is all so unnecessary. I also try to remember that, should the worst befall our society, our species will most likely continue...but will our civilization? That's the question. Having come so far, we have much to lose. We stood up on the savannah a 100,000 years ago, then reached the moon the year I was born. I like to believe that we could, if we willed it, reach other planets, other stars.I hope that someday, we do. I am not convinced that we will because, simply put, we seem to lack the will to do so. There is little sense in worrying about any of the issues brought up by Mr. Gore or other Greens because things will not change without some sort of planetary bitch-slap upside all of our heads. I do not wish this to be so, but I believe it to be so.For myself, as I stood outside on November 14th in short sleeves and shorts raking autumn leaves in New England and wondering at how incredibly warm it was, I looked up at the clouds racing over head and thought, "Such a beautiful world." I wish more people would do the same. We do not exist apart from our world; we cannot. We are smart animals, spiritual animals, remarkable animals, and while we may be more than mere animals, we are still animals. If we continue to poison our habitat, our future will not be very bright.

  • Stuart Dean
    2019-04-25 12:12

    Avoiding politics and reviewing this book solely on its literary merits, this is an very well written book. The subject matter is presented in an interesting manner and not at all preachy. Al Gore began his career as a newspaper reporter so he actually knows how to write. And he's been everywhere, from the North Pole to the South Pole(literally), from Taiwan to Kenya and everywhere in between. Many interesting anecdotes fill out the pages.It is not solely about global warming but also about general environmental degradation caused by poor land management, and often conflates the two. A bit short on science and devoid of scientific method, Gore accepts all arguments which support anthropomorphic climate change and doesn't so much reject arguments against as rarely mention them at all. Still, his arguments are lucid and engaging, and he comes across as a perfectly reasonable person trying to impress upon the reader the importance of his topic.The book's weakest part is the third section in which Gore puts forth his proposals for solving the problems of climate change. After many times declaring his allegiance to capitalism and democracy, he proposes a world spanning organization with governing and economic power which he names the "Global Marshall Plan." The unrealistic expanse of this plan belies the progress possible and already made in the realms of pollution controls and recycling since the 1970's. People in Michigan will not support any plan when it's January and they can't afford heating oil, and no global plan will save the Aral Sea if the people of Uzbekistan keep draining it to irrigate the desert. People who are adherents to climate change politics will find this book wholly supports their position in a calm and respectful voice. People who deny climate change politics will not be convinced to change their position but it will give them a better idea of why other people are so wholeheartedly behind it. The blurb on the dust jacket actually proclaims this to be a "prophetic, even holy book." Indeed, Earth in the Balance belongs in the lexicon with Silent Spring, The Population Bomb, and even Unsafe at Any Speed. Read it and find out why people march in the streets.

  • Richard
    2019-05-22 11:14

    Al Gore was front and center before the American people who cry for a leader but never follow. Politician but last, scientifically literate, sociologist, historian...Al Gore is a modern Renaissance man, a 21st century Benjamin Franklin. In the 2000 election, you can see remember the struggling Democratic establishment whose view was clearly to hold on to the conservative "Blue-dog" Reagan voting Democrats. What more painful reminder is there than Gore's choice of running mate, Joe Lieberman? Those voters cost us more than they ever benefitted us. In 2016, those voters are irrelevant, come along or go to the clown tent, we don't need you, it's up to your own conscience to make the historically huge and relatively simple decision to join the majority and to choose science over marketing, long term thinking over the short-term thinking clearly shorting the future of America's children. Al Gore should be revered as a founding father of the Progressive Democrats. He is a man of vision and if you can read this book, its not too dated to be consumed. For over 20 years, progress had as many losses to apathy as it had success, but now we are beginning to see renewable energy technology reach the price points that make the economies of scale leap exponentially. The time is now, the curve is heading up, the lowest points forever behind us and the takeoff is as vertical as a shuttle launch.There was a future 30 years ago and it is today's present, many acted as if they didn't believe that were true and chose accordingly. There is a future in today's present as well, and as Gore states, "We can believe in that future and work to achieve it and preserve it, or we can whirl blindly on, behaving as if one day there will be no children to inherit our legacy. The choice is ours; the Earth is in the Balance."

  • Neal Shah
    2019-04-29 10:09

    At this point this book is far more interesting as a historical document than as a standalone work. But it really is a remarkable historical document.It's hard to understand in an era when even Sarah Palin concedes that some climate change is happening, but it took enormous courage for a major party candidate to unequivocally talk about regulating carbon in the early 1990's. To really get the impact of this book, you have to read it remembering that most people thought Gore was crazy for writing it.Most of the book is fairly standard biographical boilerplate typical of a presidential biography. But it develops into the strong ecological argument that would become Gore's legacy. Most importantly, it was one of the first books to articulate a framework for addressing climate change in concrete policy terms -- moving beyond scientific consensus to the far more difficult battleground of the US Congress. Gore has written better, more urgent books about the subject since (and frankly, "public intellectual Gore" is usually more engaging than "soon-to-be VP Gore"), but this one is special because it captures his unique place in restarting the long-dormant American environmental dialogue.

  • +Chaz
    2019-05-16 10:18

    This book was written over 14 years ago and the republicans made fun of Gore back then calling him the “ozone man, he’s way out their.” He was also right, and the leaders of the Republicans, the Corporates new it but manipulated their base. If you tell a lie long enough, and stay on track with the message, your base will believe anything. As Hitler said, people are not motivated by sound information, facts, but emotions and feeling (I love that). How can anyone not believe what this book presented in 1994? Gore was not only right, but underestimated the impact of global warming. The Corporate party knew, but because it would impact their profit line they told their emotional followers to believe them and not sound scientific facts. Even today, Earth in The Balance predictions are buried under the impact of Global Warming, the Corporate party lies and say’s ‘it’s just an natural thing, you know, climate change. As Gore explains, never in recorded history has this earth been hit with a sudden climate change of less than a century that didn’t create a massive die off. The last one was 65 million years ago. The next one has already started, and there's nothing we can do to stop it. Remember the thing about emotions against reason?

  • Alex Chege
    2019-04-29 16:06

    This personally is an incredibly momentous book, Al Gore emphasizes the dire importance of the environmet, the global situation and the fundamental issue with our mental attitue towards climate change and environmental destruction, I love this book and the fact that it was written in 1992 emphasizes its importance as the magnitude of its message seems to increase with every given year. Al Gore can be commended for confronting the global issue from various perspectives be it economic, historical, philosophical or spiritual. Simply put its inspiring. However I do critize him for having somewhat long winded metaphors and illustrations even if they seem poetic, His resolution of a Global Marshall Plan is definately over-ambitious, (especially if it directly opposes the corporate mind) And I find his focus on the US' role rather than a global community a little dreary, this also goes along with his conflict towards Bush. All in all, love this book.

  • Spenser
    2019-05-20 12:05

    I always hear how extreme Al Gore is on the environment, but reading this book it shows me that everyone else hasn't been taking environmental issues seriously enough. This book was a book about the current events and it is a little difficult to read because of that, but surprisingly most of the problems he points out are still problems. I think anyone who doesn't agree with an environmentalist's point of view should read this book and look at the facts that are pointed out. This is not just a book on crazy prophecies, but instead it is well researched and thought out almost academic. I would recommend this book to someone who wants to get involved with current environmental issues, and is a democrat. I also really enjoyed his take on history and the environment, especially how he addressed his critics through historical fact and philosophy.

  • João Miranda
    2019-05-06 14:18

    Estava com vontade de pegar num livro deste tipo. Identifico-me com o autor e com as suas preocupações em relação ao ambiente, numa perspectiva macro. As três estrelas significam algo. Por um lado, tempos informação bastante pertinente sobre as condições actuais, além da contextualização histórica, exemplos de todo o globo, abordagens à filosofia, sociologia e diversidade cultural. Existe informação, identificação do problema e sugestão para o enfrentar. Por outro lado, a ligação demasiado política, espiritual e o papel prioritário dos EUA. Algumas divagações exageradas, considerações que não caem muito bem num tema com tanta informação científica para mostrar. Al Gore é político e o livro é o espelho daquilo que sabe fazer melhor. É bom saber que ainda existem pessoas com esta preocupação. Recomendo.

  • Beneth
    2019-04-27 15:05

    This book was on my reading list for an Environmental Land Use Planning class I took in law school. I was impressed Al Gore had such scientific knowledge and the interest in the subject to write it. Then someone told me that politicians often "collaborate" with ghost writers to get credit as author for books for political purposes. I don't know how much Al Gore was involved in writing this book, but it still was a good book. I am saddened Al Gore was cheated out of becoming the president in a year that popular vote in the US chose him. The environment would have been in a much better state, as would international opinion of the United States, not to mention all the lives needlessly sacrificed and scarred as a result of President Bush's choices.

  • Adih Respati
    2019-04-29 13:19

    Human civilization economical prowess by, with our knowing or not, geological exploitation (water, air, soil) has lead us to our own threat of survival --our earth is loosing its capabilities to replenish its natural resources. Both household and factories wastes are making things worse.We are ignorant of their consequences because they take place nowhere near 'our backyards' and too gradually, too. The consequences are now here and ignorance is no more an option. We are challenged to choose between proceeding with our conventional economical venture thus exhausting the earth, or commit ourselves to global crisis treatment thus inventing new economical approach.Earth in the Balance is a moral argument as well as political.

  • Ayla
    2019-04-28 12:15

    I found a lot of environmentaly sound practices that I could try to look into implementing in my daily life. the book was full of information that I found astounding and not too unbelievable esp when it came to the Bush administration. It got a little preachy with the "God" and spirtual aspects. But all in all a recommended read if you are seriously interested in the environment, and by the way if you want to cut down on CO2 emissions, eat less meat and drink almond milk, raising cows for meat and milk increase the release of CFC's. A gallon of milk has a carbon footprint of 17 lbs of CO2 per gallon just shy of gasolines 20!

  • Charlaralotte
    2019-05-15 10:19

    There was only one class in Environmental Policy when I was Harvard. I took it, and we read this book. The better story was about the professor. He'd gone to live with a tribe of people in Africa who subsisted entirely on sweet potatoes. Unfortuntately, due to his portly figure, he had to leave the community as he needed too many yams & their supply was suffering.Also, my final paper was on disposable versus washable diapers. I had an anxiety attack as I had accumulated so much information on the subject that I couldn't make any sense out of the debate. The paper was, uh, a miserable failure.

  • John Wood
    2019-05-20 08:03

    The subtitle should be a common sense perspective. Contrary to a popular misconception, Al Gore is definitely not a crackpot. Since this book was written, nearly 100% of scientists believe that global warming is a fact. Gore's ideas about a global Strategic Environmental Initiative are even more urgent today. We would be much closer to overcoming this massive problem had Gore not been cheated out of the presidency in 2000. Unfortunately this book deals mainly with governmental actions and not individual solutions.

  • Michael
    2019-05-15 14:01

    This book was written in 1992 and he spoke a great deal on global warming and what the USA and the world needs to do to prevent it. We haven't made much progress during this time, especially under the Bush years. He mentioned the auto industy several times on how they are going to make better gas effecient cars. The opposite seemed to happen with the SUV's that were sold during this time period. It doesn't look good in my opinion that we are doing much to better improve the quality of our environment.

  • Jaime Contreras
    2019-05-06 14:56

    Gore uses fear, myth and opinions mixed with some science here to push his ideology. I guess that is okay but it caused me to laugh because that in later times, Gore would criticize the conservatives of using religious rhetoric in the same way. This book comes across as a treatise of the new 'religion' of 'environmentalism.' I do not disagree that the earth does go through changes but this book uses many suppositions without enough scientific data.

  • Sharon Cameron
    2019-05-05 09:52

    Terrific. Another important one that I've gone back to over years. The issue I've referred to others is his framework to get control of our overpopulation problem (and how fast it is happening). He suggests 3 ways to get it under control: 1. Cut childhood mortality (so developing countries don't have to have many children to make up for it). 2. Availability of appropriate birth control. 3. Empowerment of women.

  • David Orellana
    2019-05-14 15:13

    Buen libro para entender los primeros pasos que se dieron sobre el cambio climático a nivel mundial y como EEUU falló en liderar este ámbito. De igual forma, se tocan puntos importante que como sociedad deberíamos abordar, porque aun muchos de los problemas desarrollados están más vigentes que nunca, a pesar de ser un libro escrito hace casi 25 años. Sin dudas da para pensar que otro mundo viviríamos si Al Gore hubiese sido electo presidente.

  • Nicole Powell
    2019-05-12 10:02

    Al Gore has it right on - this book is a must read for anyone that cares about our planet and its people! He presents interesting facts, but balances the shock and awe terror of the crisis the world faces with a human touch - perfect title for this work. I found myself underlining, noting, and highlighting so much of this book that there is hardly a blank page in it. Please read this book and live your life thinking about the Earth in Balance.