Life in the Hothouse
256 pages, 6 x 9
Paperback
Release Date:15 May 2010
ISBN:9780816527236
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Life in the Hothouse

How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change

The University of Arizona Press

At last there is a book for the general reader that demystifies the science behind global warming. In this insightful, compelling, and highly readable work, Why does the planet’s warming produce stronger hurricanes, rising seas, and larger floods? Simple: just as we sweat to cool off on a hot day, the Earth is putting its own cooling mechanisms into action.

Life in the Hothouse presents the latest research in climate science with the engaging, highly readable style of a popular writer. Dr. Melanie Lenart, an award-winning science writer and climate researcher, examines the most current scientific theories, including Gaia theory, which holds that the Earth has some degree of climate control “built in.” For example, as Lenart points out, scientists have documented stronger hurricanes and larger floods in recent years. There is a good reason for this: hurricanes help cool the ocean surface and clear the air of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming.

There is hope, Lenart writes. If we allow Earth’s natural defense systems, including wetlands and forests, to flourish, the planet will no longer need to rely on the cooling effects of what we call “natural disasters.” Combining cutting-edge science with a journalist’s flair, Life in the Hothouse is essential reading for anyone interested in the alarming changes affecting our planet.
Melanie Lenart holds a PhD in Natural Resources and Global Change. She teaches environmental writing and works as a researcher for the Institute for the Environment and Society at the University of Arizona.

List of Figures

Acknowledgments

Introduction: The Sweat of the Earth

1 A Feverish Response: Hurricanes Come with High Temperatures

2 A Living System: Gaia and Climate Control

3 Greenhouse Gas Attack: One Way to Warm a Planet

4 Circulation Patterns: A Pulse of Floods, to the Beat of Rising Waves

5 An Herbal Remedy: Plants Work to Restore Balance

6 An Internal Cleanse: The Additive Power of Soils and Wetlands

7 Beneath the Surface: Weathering the Warming in Deep Time

8 Systematic Healing: More Ways Trees and Wetlands Boost Planetary Health

Conclusion: What Would Gaia Do?

Index

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