Read & Download The Wizard and the Prophet Ý PDF DOC TXT or eBook

Read ç PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Ì Charles C. Mann

From the best selling award winning author of 1491 and 1493 an incisive portrait of the two little known twentieth century scientists Norman Borlaug and William Vogt whose diametrically opposed views shaped our ideas about the environment laying the groundwork for how people in the twenty first century will choose to live in tomorrow's worldIn forty years Earth's population will reach ten billion Can our world support that What kind of world will it be Those answering these uestions generally. I really didn't think I'd ever waste my time reading another new book by Charles Mann After he came out with his article claiming that fossil fuel supplies are infinite I lost all respect for him I had actually liked 1491 and 1493 finding some ideas to be a bit uestionable but for the most part being pretty good books At first I couldn't even believe that the article could have been written by the same guy who wrote those Looking around for solid evidence of his insanity I found an interview on youtube with him and John Tierney that was just shockingly irresponsible I mean it's one thing to say that peak oil doomers are putting too much faith in the economy crashing on its own before making the planet uninhabitable an opinion I actually agree with but to use high oil estimates as justification for infinte growth is completely nuts Not only do these guys mock anyone who thinks we should conserve resources Mann also blatantly misrepresents Jared Diamond's ideas This made me really uestion his sincerity He just comes across as a con artist trying to eliminate competition from his niche Since that interview I have actually seen a video of him and Diamond talking together pretty cordially though Maybe the things he said that originally irritated me were just honest mistakes but I do find that kind of hard to believe I only heard about this book because people were passing around Mann's newest Atlantic article about the challenges of feeding a world with 10 billion people Sustainable agriculture is a subject I've been interested in for a while I've also been interested in the debate between anti tech groups and pro tech groups about which path really is best for people and the planet having even written my own book on the subject it was never actually published so technically it's just a blog but it was written to be read like a book If anyone's interested they can read that here for free Since it focuses on some of my favorite subjects this book was kind of hard for me to resist I figured that even if I disagreed with his ideas I should at least see what he's saying since so many people follow his work Even before getting to the book his Atlantic article had some really bad mistakes Most annoying to me since I've spent so much time researching the ideas myself was a line about chestnuts producing calories per acre than wheat I have absolutely no idea where he came up with that It's pretty common for people to calculate the yield from nut trees in fresh weight and the calories per pound in dry weight this actually threw off some of my own estimates in the first draft of my work before I realized the mistake but even using those numbers the highest reasonable estimate for chestnut yield per acre is 6000 pounds per year this is about 6 times higher than the number that should be used for calories per acre calculations by the way When you multiply that by the calories per pound that's still less than the average wheat yield and wheat isn't even the highest yielding of annuals anyway The only explanation I can think of is that he took the number of trees initially planted per acre and multiplied that by the average yield of a full grown tree instead of using the number of full grown trees that can fit in an acre which can be less than 10% of the number of trees initially planted I am an advocate for perennializing farmland so it's not the glorification of tree crops over annuals that annoys me it's the impression this leaves people with about how many people can be fed with sustainable agriculture and how that shapes peoples' opinions on economic growth This particular mistake isn't found in the book but I think it says a lot about the credibility of Mann's research Getting into the actual book there are a lot of dumbed down overly simplified arguments and misrepresentations of different groups of people It didn't piss me off as much as I'd expected though He does a pretty good job of hiding his own opinions presenting most ideas as the opinions of others which helps him come across as a little less biased towards infinite growth and techno utopianism Make no mistake though he does have his own opinions and is trying to leave readers with a certain impression I'm extremely skeptical of the claim that he's undecided or still trying to figure out which side he's on Early on he says that he used to lean towards the Vogtian side but came to sympathize with Borlaugians as he realized oil wasn't running out and pesticides weren't leading to epidemics of cancer his words not mine The choice to focus on Vogt and Borlaug as the progenitors of two opposing views of thought is itself pretty strange It feels like a pointless gimmick to me basically just some new way of presenting ideas that most of his readers already know anyway like climate science the evidence for evolution how photosynthesis works and the history of Darwinism He spends way too much time explaining these things in my opinion Almost every topic of discussion just turns into an excuse to write a short biography on some scientist I thought the point of the book was supposed to be comparing high tech visions of the future with lower tech alternatives not rehashing what thousands of other environmental books have already said It seems like a bit of a stretch to say that most people can trace their opinions back to one of these two schools of thought I really don't think these particular scientists influenced us as much as he claims His terms Vogtian and Borlaugian or prophet and wizard don't even cover the full spectrum between simplicity advocates and techno utopians And this isn't just because there are complex mixtures of opinions on growthdegrowth centralizationdecentralization globallocal unifieddiverse and large scalesmall scale than just small scale low tech advocates that want degrowth and large scale high tech advocates who want infinite growth compare anarcho primitivists who want a world of a few million hunter gatherers to simple living advocates who think we could feed over 10 billion with low consumption localized lifestyles and permaculture to conservative libertarians who are against the science of evolution and global warming but still want to use science to colonize outer space to the zeitgeist movement that wants a techno utopian world government for the sake of protecting nature to singularitarians who want maximum technological progress so we can escape the limits of nature etc The two main options presented in here are actually both pretty pro tech and pro complex global industrial civilization probably being best summarized by their views on how solar panels should be arranged rather than their views on whether or not solar panels should be part of the solution at all Vogtians want solar panels on their houses and Borlaugians want huge centralized solar power plants That doesn't exactly cover everyone Similarly the main argument shouldn't be about which view will best provide for 10 billion affluent humans but whether or not we should even try to create a world of 10 billion humans with American middle class lifestyles This uestion isn't totally left out to be fair but he doesn't spend anywhere near as much time on simpler alternatives Being someone of the opinion that high tech lifestyles will never be truly sustainable I was pretty disappointed by that He's also way too kind to those who uestion whether or not it's our responsibility to make any sacrifices for the sake of future generations Many fears of energy shortages and climate disasters have proven to be exaggerated right So why should rich people risk losing any of their privileges what a horrible atrocity that would be if we aren't 100% sure that the sacrifices will lead to a better future I have absolutely no respect for this shit at all When else are such arguments ever acceptable It's like robbing someone and saying so what Maybe you'll meet the love of your life while standing in line at the local soup kitchen someone you'd have never met if you were still financially stable Your life may be better because I robbed you Or how about yeah I murdered your 12 your old son but for all we know he could have grown up to be the next Hitler If you can't prove otherwise then I shouldn't be punished It's especially irritating coming from someone who loves to use statistics about the greater good to justify things like how a smaller percentage of people are dying violently these days than at any other time in history and that most of us are living longer lives etc Most of his other arguments are about playing the odds at least the way he sees them but with this it's about letting people take huge risks to the wellbeing of the majority if there's even just a slim chance of them not leading to disaster If he was following the same logic with this subject that people have to play the odds for the sake of the greater good shouldn't he be as skeptical about the promises that technology will fix everything as he is of the claims that technology is leading us to disaster Techno optimists have been claiming for centuries that we're headed for a world of leisure one without war starvation disease crime depression obligatory labor or anything else bad all because technology will fix everything Have those predictions been accurate than the pessimistic ones warning us of potential ecocide Every technological advancement has just led to new problems and most serious environmental studies keep finding that things are falling apart even faster than predicted But because the most extreme predictions about a coming ice age or sudden economic collapse have been debunked you don't take any warnings seriously It's crazy We're not talking about a slight problem that has a slight chance of occurring if we don't all voluntarily suffer horribly for the sake of the future We're talking about a very likely possibility of making the only habitable planet we know of totally uninhabitable unless we make ourselves a little less comfortable for a little while In a lot of cases people will likely end up finding that these sacrifices actually improve their lives Humans aren't exactly designed to stare at computer screens all day I know that there are obstacles to changing our lifestyles than just getting people comfortable with the idea Even those who want to change already feel like they're trapped in the status uo To keep going along with this though should feel unbearable for anyone who sees where it's headed Even the damage that's already being done to nature and to less fortunate humans should be considered unacceptable to anyone with a conscience Reading his work you have to wonder sometimes if Mann really cares about the environment at all It almost seems like he's just trying to attract environmentally minded people to read his books so he can trick them into joining the techno optimist side At times I wondered if that might be backwards though He does mention some good solutions like agroforestry and indigenous land management techniues after all Could he be trying to get techno optimists to accept some of the ideas of the simple living crowd instead It's really hard to tell More likely he's just trying to double the size of his audience so he can sell books In my opinion this guy's good ideas aren't enough to make up for the bad ones I definitely don't recommend supporting him If for some reason you do want to read his work then you should probably just borrow the book from the library or something rather than buy it

Free download The Wizard and the Prophet

The Wizard and the ProphetCrops that then saved millions from starvation Innovate was Borlaug's cry Only in that way can everyone win Mann delves into these diverging viewpoints to assess the four great challenges humanity faces food water energy climate change grounding each in historical context and weighing the options for the future With our civilization on the line the author's insightful analysis is an essential addition to the urgent conversation about how our children will fare on an increasingly crowded Eart. Food for thought book Well researched and referenced Enjoyable but intense readCharles Mann claims this is about two remarkable scientists William Vogt and Norman Borlaug but I would claim that his book revolves around three remarkable scientists the third being Lynn Margulis Mann uses Margulis’s biological rules and explains Vogt and Borlaug’s work and perceptions against themMann starts the book by give us biographies on both men and touching on their early and most important works Basically Vogt is of naturalist and Borlaug gets the ball rolling on modern agriculture it's implied he starts the GMO wave but from what is described he created hybrids by hand He then breaks their theories down into the four elements Earth Water Fire and Air He thoroughly explains the position of things from both points of view He then finishes up the book with recapping on the later years of both men The book finishes with two appendixes – on why to believe that climate change is happening and the GMOs are safe for consumption to me the GMO issue isn’t so much that they are safe for consumption but the environmental moral and financial impacts – Mann doesn’t really touch on theseThere were some shortcomings to the book that prevented me from giving this a five star rating This is because Mann conveniently left out some discussion points on topics – perhaps because they were too dicey Also he doesn't always analyze what he is presenting leaving this up to the readerAfter reading about the two men I discovered I am a pretty much a Vogtian with a splash of Borlaugian

Charles C. Mann Ì 4 review

Read & Download The Wizard and the Prophet Ý PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook º From the best selling award winning author of 1491 and 1493 an incisive portrait of the two little known twentieth century scientists Norman Borlaug and William Vogt whose diametrically opposed views shaped our ideas about the environment layingFall into two deeply divided groups Wizards and Prophets as Charles Mann calls them in this balanced authoritative nonpolemical new book The Prophets he explains follow William Vogt a founding environmentalist who believed that in using than our planet has to give our prosperity will lead us to ruin Cut back was his mantra Otherwise everyone will lose The Wizards are the heirs of Norman Borlaug whose research in effect wrangled the world in service to our species to produce modern high yield. I've read about both Borlaug The Wizard Vogt The Prophet before but it's great to get a better picture of their lives missions especially where their adherents collide head on Borlaug believed that technology got us into this mess could get us out of it He's credited with saving over a billion lives due to his work with tweaking crops to grow in poor soils He is credited as the father of the Green Revolution crops modified to resist disease deliver while being fertilized protected by chemical means He wanted to feed hungry people now Vogt saw humans racing headlong into Malthusian destruction our only option was to cut back the human population allow Mother Nature to prosper He sees the environment as having a 'carrying capacity' being limited in what we can safely take from it He is the father of the modern conservation movement Both have fanatic supporters I've rarely read a book on the subject that wasn't completely biased toward one camp or the other The author admits to being on the fence which lends his work a balanced point of viewSince I already know something about them I'm finding the people politics surrounding our heroes even interesting than their biographies works Conservation originally was seen as a way for the government to get control by regulating what companies people could do a real danger to capitalism The thinking at the time meant that many of the members were racists believed in eugenics Conservation of nature was conflated with conserving the white raceA perfect example is Madison Grant I've heard of him before as a friend of Teddy Roosevelt his conservation efforts Grant founded the American Bison Society was one of the main forces behind setting up the Bronx Zoo the biggest best zoo I visited as a kid I hadn't realized Grant also wrote The Passing of the Great Race or the Racial Basis of European History was against immigration women's rights He was complicated I still think he was a great man greatly right greatly wrong so I applaud his good works but don't forget his bad ones The Sierra Club other organizations he helped distanced themselves from him as much as possible after Hitler company took the ideas he they espoused to their logical conclusionNot all of Vogt's friends supporters were so complicated though He was friends with Roger Peterson the author of the field guides helped him get his first one published Peterson's ID system for birds is fantastic although I generally find the Audubon guides a little complete Rachel Carson was one of Vogt's disciples popularized his ideas with her fantastic book Silent SpringBorlaug grew up on a subsistence farm While he never went hungry he knew how much labor went into it how much tech helped when the family got a tractor It allowed him to continue his education leave the farm He reasoned that tech had gotten us into a mess was needed to get us out of it People needed to eat They were starving that wasn't acceptableIt's a shame Borlaug Vogt their followers can't see any middle ground but what the 2 men saw in the same Mexican fields gave them entirely different visions of the future Vogt saw worn out fields that weren't salvageable the only solution was less people growing less food Borlaug saw a problem that needed to be fixed could be with the right tech He did but there were conseuences due to improper use of fertilizers pesticides To make the misunderstandings worse Vogt those in his camp often tend to mysticism which doesn't work well with scientists The prophets also tend to forget that people want to keep or better their standard of living They aren't going to let any government take away their comforts for possible future generations Most don't save enough for their own retirement Nor can our economy make huge changes or handle too many restrictions too uickly We also need to deal with unforeseen conseuences such as invasive species I don't like spraying parauat It's dangerous to me I have to fence off the animals from the area for 40 days a tough proposition I have goats horses One jumps over through under while the other just runs temporary fences over I have to occasionally due to a poisonous invasive plant that takes over the fields thoughWe've changed the environment dramatically continue to do so both on purpose mining fishing farming habitation inadvertently invasive species waste We're riding a runaway truck people economy with very limited steering technology brakes conservation We're mowing over the environment in our plunge may well wind up going off a cliff but we really don't know where the cliff edge is Our climate models are poor guesses everyone wants to be right than they want solutionsConservation efforts are needed because the technologists don't know as much as they think they do Every day we're discovering about the biosphere how complex it is Even 50 years ago we had no idea how pervasive important bacteria were we're barely realizing it now We still can't make a decent weather forecast a week out Wetlands are a efficient cheaper filter than anything we've come up with Most of all it's morally correct I love the land plants wildlife I don't want to see Terra covered in concrete but the so called 'natural environment' is a figment of popular imagination We're part of the environment have been changing it dramatically since our ancestors discovered fire burned off grasslands tens of thousands of years ago at least by some accounts The climate has changed numerous times that was probably what stirred us into creating agriculture 10K years ago We've turned deserts that couldn't support a small settlement into habitations for millions eg Los Angeles We poisoned our cities with smog from coal petroleum fumes but we've cleaned that up with maturing technologies Disease starvation other ills are at their lowest points ever yet we have far people than ever Technology is a very powerful tool for good ill that we can't won't abandon It would be really nice if we could come to some agreement on how to use it responsibly without so much wasted argumentMann only presented the two sides of the argument I wish he'd had space to address hybrid solutions but the book was a bit too long as it was Still he's the guy to do it In the Energy chapter he notes that the techs want centralized electric generators while the conservationists want it to be distributed I have several large structures that could be fitted with solar panels or windmills to generate electricity feed it directly into the grid Around here the electric company makes it inexpensive to hook up alternative power generation to their grid pays residential rates back Not all do Good deal BUT there is little data available on which to make investments the break even point is probably too far off by any but the most optimistic estimates for solar wind in my area This is an area where governments could invest very little an anemometer logging data some expert help to push some distributed electric generation A little in low interest loans tax breaks other incentives would really give it push I'd keep buying my electric from the grid because I need steady power but I'd also put some into it to ease the central burden No batteries needed while it won't fix the need it also won't be trying to force it on anyone who can't or doesn't want to deal with itAnyway I've had a foot in both camps all my life really appreciated this look at both sides of this great debate IMO it should be reuired reading I'd like to see it presented in an abridged simplified form starting in first grade with balanced details added every year in schools It's possibly the most complicated important mess we face I highly recommend this to everyone in any format I listened to this as an audio book it was very well narrated but I appreciated having the ebook to review information Mann mentions a lot of names studies that will be interesting to explore