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The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Conflicting Visions of the Future of Our Planet

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Conflicting Visions of the Future of Our Planet

作者 : Charles C. Mann

出版社 : PICADOR

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定價 : NT 699

售價 : NT699

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《一四九一:重寫哥倫布前的美洲歷史》作者查爾斯‧曼恩最新作品!

「地球有限的容量就表示經濟成長應該停止嗎?這個重要的問題就是查爾斯‧曼恩新書的主題,一本充滿知識的寶庫,不可被取代」─華爾街日報

查爾斯‧曼恩書名中的預言家指的是推動保護環境運動的先鋒William Vogt,而巫師指的是Norman Borlaug,他的研究影響了高產量農作物的發展,阻止了大規模的飢荒,曼恩以這兩個二十世紀的科學家的研究來講地球現正面臨的四個問題:食物、水、資源、氣候變化。

Vogt認為人類要是繼續過度取用地球資源總有一天會滅亡,但Borlaug就樂觀許多,他認為某天科技發展會找出拯救人類的方法,雖兩個有不同想法的人當時沒有公開辯論,但這個爭議到現在還持續被社會討論著,究竟人類的結局會是如何?我們應該尊重地球的極限?還是應該繼續從它身上嘗試取得不同的資源?看完這本書也許你可以得到一些答案。

In just three decades - by about 2050 - the human population of the Earth will reach ten billion. This will present fundamental, even elemental, problems: How to feed ten billion? How to provide ten billion with water? How to keep ten billion warm in the cold and cool in the heat? And how to do all this without irreparably harming our planet? To explore these challenges, Charles C. Mann goes back to the 1950s and 60s and vividly brings to life two individuals who established the distinct schools of thought that still dominate our ideas about these issues. On the one hand is `the Prophet', ecologist William Vogt. Crippled by childhood polio, Vogt spent years struggling through the remotest regions of Latin America - including, memorably, the hellishly beautiful guano islands of Peru - to assemble what became the basic ideas behind today's global environmental movement. Environmentalists who have followed Vogt's lead see the world as bound by immutable biological limits and our rising affluence as a threat. Unless humankind drastically reduces consumption, they argue, our growing numbers and appetite will overwhelm the planet's ecosystems. On the other hand is `the Wizard', Norman Borlaug, the legendary plant-breeder who in 1970 won the Nobel Peace Prize. Born into abject poverty, Borlaug became the primary figure in the `Green Revolution' of the 1960s, which used new agricultural technology to raise global grain harvests, helping to avert tens of millions of deaths from hunger. Today, he has become the emblem of `techno-optimism' - the view that science and technology, properly applied, can help us produce our way out of our difficulties. To those who take Borlaug's position, affluence is not the problem but the solution. Only by getting richer and smarter, they say, can humankind invent and apply the new discoveries that hold the key to a prosperous tomorrow. Can we bend nature to our will or are we, like all other species, bound by its inexorable laws? Mann tackles this crucial question with eloquence, clarity and evenhandedness, exploring Vogt and Borlaug's ideas before turning to the fundamental problems raised by rising human demands on our planet and the possible solutions that each approach would demand. Ranging from Mexico to India, across continents and the earth's oceans, from the past to the present and future, brilliantly original in concept, wryly observant and deeply researched, The Wizard and the Prophet is essential reading for readers of Noah Juval Harari's Sapiens or Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, for anyone interested in how we got here and in the future of our species.
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