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Retired now, Jim in his favourite Parisian café has before him the letter from Ingrid, his estranged daughter. She is happy and has included photos of her son’s fifth birthday party. She has asked her father again to go over his life story, from the beginning. He is to include all the juicy bits, she says, and not spill a single drop.
His story begins during the war years, in their home in a gritty inner city working class suburb of Sydney. He is at crawling age. On his dining room floor he can feel the vibrations of footsteps and hear from the glass-fronted dresser the rattle and tinkle tattle of crockery and glass. He grows into a larrikin, fights in street gangs with shields and swords, throws stones and kicks over garbage bins; they even skewered dead rats.
The family migrates to a building site in the Australian wilderness, where they, like the early pioneers, felled trees to carve out new lives for themselves. Both parents die young in short succession.
Jim’s halcyon years are his university years, living it up in the bright light district of Kings Cross, a “den of iniquity,” as it was known, where he meets other young artists who inspire him. He graduates with a degree in architecture, builds a home, marries, has a daughter and runs a successful practice for the next thirty years. His wife falls in love with another.
On early retirement Jim goes and settles in Paris. He learns to type and develops a passion for photography. Over the next thirty years he ventures out to discover the world through the lens of his camera. He focuses on many extraordinary faces and tries to capture the essential character of place, places where few other travellers dared to go, certainly no tourists. He will write it all down and include his best photos and the juicy bits. It will take him at least five hundred pages.
It is a very human story, at times sad and poignant, at other times hilariously funny.
Humans have difficulty thinking at the global scale. Yet as we come to understand our planet as a single, interconnected, complex system and encounter compelling evidence of human impact on Earth’s climate and biosphere, the need for a truly global effort is increasingly urgent. In this concise and accessible text, David P. Turner presents an overview of global environmental change and a synthesis of research and ideas from the rapidly evolving fields of earth system science and sustainability science that is suitable for anyone interested in humanity’s current predicaments and what we can do about them.

The Green Marble examines Earth’s past, contemporary human disruption, and the prospects for global environmental governance. Turner emphasizes the functioning of the biosphere—the totality of life on Earth—including its influence on geologic history, its sensitivity to human impacts, and its possible role in ameliorating climate change. Relying on models of the earth system that synthesize vast amounts of monitoring information and recent research on biophysical processes, The Green Marble describes a range of scenarios for our planetary home, exploring the effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and factors such as economic globalization. Turner juxtaposes cutting-edge ideas from both the geosciences and the social sciences to illustrate how humanity has arrived upon its current dangerous trajectory, and how we might pull back from the brink of civilization-challenging environmental change. Growing out of the author’s popular course on global environmental change, The Green Marble is accessible to non-science majors and provides a framework for understanding the complex relationship of humanity to the global environment.

You can hardly open a paper or read an academic journal without some attempt to explain an aspect of human behaviour or experience by reference to neuroscience, biological or evolutionary processes. This ‘biologising’ has had rather a free ride until now, being generally accepted by the public at large. However, there is a growing number of scholars who are challenging the assumption that we are little more than our bodies and animal origins. This volume brings together a review of these emerging critiques expressed by an international range of senior academics from across the social sciences. Their arguments are firmly based in the empirical, scientific tradition. They show the lack of logic or evidence for many ‘biologising’ claims, as well as the damaging effects these biological assumptions can have on issues such as dealing with dyslexia or treating alcoholism. This important book, originally published as a special issue of Contemporary Social Science, contributes to a crucial debate on what it means to be human.

"This collection of articles by David Canter and his colleagues, rigorously argued and richly informative [...] are of immense importance. It is astonishing that, as Canter puts it in his brilliant overview of biologising trends [...] there are those in the humanities who need to be reminded "that human beings can talk and interact with each other, generating cultures and societies that have an existence that cannot be reduced to their mere mechanical parts".

Professor Raymond Tallis FRCP FMedSci DLitt LittD in the Preface.

You can hardly open a paper or read an academic journal without some attempt to explain an aspect of human behaviour or experience by reference to neuroscience, biological or evolutionary processes. This ‘biologising’ has had rather a free ride until now, being generally accepted by the public at large. However, there is a growing number of scholars who are challenging the assumption that we are little more than our bodies and animal origins. This volume brings together a review of these emerging critiques expressed by an international range of senior academics from across the social sciences. Their arguments are firmly based in the empirical, scientific tradition. They show the lack of logic or evidence for many ‘biologising’ claims, as well as the damaging effects these biological assumptions can have on issues such as dealing with dyslexia or treating alcoholism. This important book, originally published as a special issue of Contemporary Social Science, contributes to a crucial debate on what it means to be human.

"This collection of articles by David Canter and his colleagues, rigorously argued and richly informative [...] are of immense importance. It is astonishing that, as Canter puts it in his brilliant overview of biologising trends [...] there are those in the humanities who need to be reminded "that human beings can talk and interact with each other, generating cultures and societies that have an existence that cannot be reduced to their mere mechanical parts".

Professor Raymond Tallis FRCP FMedSci DLitt LittD in the Preface.

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