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These two countries also have the greatest per capita water usage. The ocean and its currents stabilize the temperature of the Earth. Suzuki recounts the loss of life in Lake Erie from pollution and overfishing. Introduced species such as the zebra mussel and industrial effluents are also very problematic. Microscopes reveal that soil is alive, full of microorganisms. Often in creation myths, the first humans were fashioned form soil or clay.

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Land is the traditional source of food and medicine. Indigenous societies magically promoted the fecundity of the land.

In actuality, the soil is alive with nitrogen-fixing and other microorganisms that make it fertile. These microorganisms make up the major amount of species by mass, of all species. Many are unstudied. The soil filters, cleans, and recycles water and decaying matter. The origins of soil are recounted with the three types of weathering of rock: mechanical, chemical, and biological.

The Sacred Balance : Rediscovering Our Place in Nature

Mechanical weathering simply breaks rock into smaller pieces, usually initiated by water and ice. Chemical weathering is by chemical reactions, dissolving and precipitating, and is also often initiated by water, carrying reactants. Biological weathering is caused by life — by organisms excreting chemicals and decaying. Life eventually enriched itself through its own decay by the development of organic-rich topsoil.


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Plants reduce erosion and hold the soil in place. The authors describe soil science, soil horizons, and processes of leaching and accumulation in soils. We need food and its molecular components such as vitamins. The sensory process of food interest, subsequent feeding, and digestion are described in detail. For me, all these descriptions served as reminders of basic life science processes. The process of starvation is also described.

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Indeed, food is our energy source, and without it we stop. Agriculture is also examined. The effect of modern methods of factory farming on top soil tend to make it thinner, able to hold less water, and be more prone to washing away during flooding. But human depletion of food and agricultural resources actually began in pre-agricultural Paleolithic times when certain large species of animals were hunted to extinction.

Book Review: The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature by David Suzuki • Insteading

Controlled burning to make way for agriculture also devastated large swathes of land. Modern agricultural methods, while increasing yields, are also depleting topsoil at an alarming rate. Increasing population increases the need for agriculture and leads to more deforestation. Smaller traditional human groups, often developed better reciprocal relationships with the environment, through subsistence farming and conservation-minded hunting methods and hunting rituals.

The current popularity of organic and sustainable farming methods offers hope to keep the soil resources useful for future generations. Our source of light and heat, the sun, is here called the Divine Fire. According to the Rig Veda, the Supreme God first arose from heat. This sun fire is energy. Energy is the capacity to do work.

Energy functions according to the various laws of physics. The sun powers the area beyond it with energy, which counteracts the decay of energy, the tendency toward randomness and disorder known as entropy. Mammals like us keep a constant body temperature we are homeothermic. Our source of heat is the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. We also absorb and lose heat through our skin. We make excessive heat in the form of fevers to weaken and destroy dangerous microorganisms. Along with the fire within there is the fire without.

It also brought us together in campsites that we defended against predators and other humans. He gives the ancient Greek story of Prometheus and Pandora and compares it to the story of the Garden of Eden. Energy transactions take place at the atomic, molecular, and cellular levels. It is thought that life began by utilizing energy and then improved itself by finding sources of continuous energy. This oxygenated the atmosphere. It took millions of years for the slow accumulation in anoxic environments , burial, pressurizing, and heating of the carcasses of small forms of life that came to be hydrocarbons — coal, oil, and natural gas.

These hydrocarbons store energy from the sun. Animal fat, dung, straw, and wood were the fuels used by humans before these hydrocarbons were discovered and fueled the Industrial Revolution.


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  • Now, our standards of living include constant instant access to light, heat, and power. But like Prometheus and Pandora, fire energy is a double-edged sword. The wastes — pollution and CO2 and ghg build-up — have the potential to destroy life as we know it. Life itself shapes and creates the environment. Biodiversity, or the totality of life, say the authors, should take its place beside the elements as a fashioner of the biosphere.

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    All species can be seen as a web, as an ecosystem. All species are linked in the food chain. An acclaimed geneticist artfully explains the diverse web of life, our kinship with other species, and the crucial need of our time to make Nature the ultimate concern of society at large and for our Adrienne Mason has lived on Vancouver Island all her life and spent twenty years on the west coast, first in Bamfield and then Tofino. As well as writing a local history column for Tofino Time, she is the author of numerous books and magazine articles about science, nature, and west coast history.

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    The book begins by presenting the concept of people as creatures of the Earth who depend on its gifts of air, water, soil, and sun energy. The author explains how people are genetically programmed to crave the company of other species, and how people suffer enormously when they fail to live in harmony with them. Suzuki analyzes those deep spiritual needs, rooted in nature, that are a crucial component of a loving world.

    Drawing on his own experiences and those of others who have put their beliefs into action, The Sacred Balance is a powerful, passionate book with concrete suggestions for creating an ecologically sustainable, satisfying, and fair future by rediscovering and addressing humanity's basic needs. Halaman terpilih Halaman Judul. Daftar Isi. Isi Introduction to the Revised Edition.