Life on a modern planet : a manifesto for progress


Life on a modern planet : a manifesto for progress

Richard D. North

(Issues in environmental politics)

Manchester University Press, c1995

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This text has a controversial message - that humankind will cope with the environmental "disasters" which appear in the media with increasing frequency. It re-evaluates global questions such as feeding the world, energy, pollution and green consumerism. It argues that the fashionable view that "progress" opposes "caring for the environment" should be laid to rest. Instead, it suggests that people should reject unrealistic ideas about paradise on earth, and be satisfied with a permanent change in their environment in the name of science. In addition, the book turns around a series of case studies - the Braer disaster, the Camelford water disaster, the American rangelands and rainforest deforestation from being chronicles of doom to instead argue for a positive and constructive view of the modern world.


  • Introduction - making room for people. Part 1 Too many humans?: snapshot of a modern planet - busy and largely successful
  • defusing the population bomb - fertility, famine and affluence
  • feeding the future billions - some clues
  • fuelling the future billions - some clues. Part 2 The consumer, the campaigners and chemophobia: the myth of ecological disaster - apocalypse not yet?
  • aesthetics versus ecology - wind and water at war with the landscape
  • chlorine - Devil's element or useful member of society
  • oh for the simple life - right living, right technology. Part 3 Man, nature and development: paradise, wilderness and the nurseryworld - the worlds we have lost
  • wilderness and the manscape - what we can really expect from the primitive
  • facing facts in the rich world
  • humanizing development, developing humanism.

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