Wisdom for a Livable Planet

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Carl N. McDaniel's Wisdom for a Livable Planet offers an introduction to a selection of eight individuals’ efforts to save Earth from various forms of pollution, overpopulation, and the overall wasteful lifestyles of humans. Eight of the ten chapters tell the personal story of those individuals who are trying to make a difference. Brief biographies are included along with an outline of how they became involved in their current efforts. As should be expected in any work discussing environmental and social issues is the inclusion in each chapter of how politics and economics largely impact or impede the efforts to preserve the planet for a sustainable future. Short bibliographies for further reading, organized by the topics discussed, are provided by each of the eight individuals highlighted. McDaniel provides an excellent overview of some of the landmark literature that has been written about the environment such as Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (1962) and Bjorn Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist (2001), making Wisdom for a Livable Planet an excellent resource and introduction to environmental issues.

Wisdom for a Livable Planet is more than just another book about saving the environment as it provides a fresh perspective on social issues that might not be immediately thought of as major environmental concerns. For example the chapters on clean air, pollution, preserving land, and global warming are naturally expected. The chapters on combating overpopulation, using economics to solve instead of impede conservation efforts, and implementing better farming procedures provide necessary explanations of how the current lifestyle practices of man have an enormous impact on the health of the planet.

Wisdom for a Livable Planet while somewhat biased in presentation, is an excellent source of information on grassroots efforts to overcome some of the environmental concerns plaguing society. McDaniel has compiled captivating stories of what can be accomplished through individual effort while also examining the impact that economics, politics, and personal beliefs have on efforts to change.