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5000 Days to save the Planet - information

This book was written by the editors of The Ecologist: Edward Goldsmith, Peter Bunyard, Nicholas Hildyard and Patrick McCully; and published by Hamlyn / Random Century Publications in 1990 in London. What follows below is the publisher's information.

The book was also published in the USA under the title Imperiled Planet: restoring our endangered ecosystems by MIT Press, Cambridge MA 02142. In all it was published in six languages.

"This book is more than a report. It is marvellously illustrated, bringing the world close in offering clear explanations and both despair and hope"
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"Written by the editors of The Ecologist magazine, one of the oldest and most respected international environment journals; founded in 1970, it has been at the forefront of numerous campaigns to save the world's environment. Illustrated with 250 stunning photographs, this book is a plea on behalf of the planet, an explanation of what humanity is doing to the planet and a manifesto of what needs to be done to save the planet.

We live in a fragile and beautiful world which we are busy polluting and destroying. If radical action is not taken now, then the future of our planet hangs in the balance.

The world photographed from outer space to its fragile beauty - a lonely sphere of blue sea, white cloud and caramel land, From this distance humanity's presence on the planet is undetectable.

Centuries ago, ancient civilizations deified the earth, creating gods for the air, the sea, the wind, for fire and water and the-earth itself. The Hindus called the earth God Kali, who wreaked destruction if displeased, and the Greeks named the goddess of the earth, Gaia. Though a gentle mother, she was swift to avenge if provoked. For hundreds of years, humanity lived in harmony with the planet. In the millisecond that represents the last two hundred years in the life of the earth, we now stand poised to destroy it.

Barely fifty years ago, the world's environment was still largely in balance. The assault on the rainforests had barely begun, the ozone layer was entact and global warming was an academic theory. The world was a vast, beautiful and powerful place; how could we possibly damage it?

Today we are told that our planet is in crisis, that we are destroying and polluting our way to a global catastrophe. Modern man has lost respect for the earth in his greed for comfort, speed and commercial gain. Now everyone knows about damage to the ozone layer, the destruction of the rainforests is a global issue, atmospheric warming has arrived and every day there are more warnings about the dire consequences of not taking action to address these problems. but despite the rhetoric of concern, governments around the world are doing little or nothing to remedy the problems. We may have as little as fifteen years, perhaps as short a time as 5000 days to save the planet.

There is no magic wand that will bring the environmental crisis to an end overnight. The opportunity to move towards a less destructive society, where people have greater control over their lives, and where one person's wealth does not come about by impoverishing others, is there for us to take.

It may well be that we prove unwilling to change our lifestyles in the interest of future generations. if that is the case, then the prospects are indeed grim. But the indications are otherwise. Throughout the world, and increasingly in the developing countries, numerous local groups are now demanding a halt to the destructiveness of modern society. It is through such groups and by taking individual responsibility for our actions - that change will come about, change that is not imposed from above but which is created from below - by ordinary people.

Daunting as the task ahead might seem, individual actions - through lobbying, changing lifestyles, political action, boycotts and the like - can make all the difference in the world. But only if we are willing to act immediately, before it is too late.

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