Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change


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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Life in the Hothouse by Melanie Lenart. Life in the Hothouse: In this insightful, compelling, and highly readable work, Melanie Lenart, an award-winning journalist and science writer who holds a PhD in Natural Resources and Global Change, examines global warming with the trained eye of a professional scientist.

And she presents the science in a clear, straightforward manner. The Earth is just doing what comes naturally. Just as humans produce sweat to cool off on a hot day, the planet produces hurricanes, floods, wetlands, and forests to cool itself off. There is a good reason for this, she notes. Hurricanes help cool the ocean surface and clear the air of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming.

From the perspective of Gaia theory, these responses are helping to slow the ongoing global warming and Lenart expounds upon this in a clear and understandable fashion.

Life in the Hothouse

There is hope, Lenart writes. If we help sustain Earth's natural defense systems, including wetlands and forests, perhaps Mother Earth will no longer need to rely as much on the cooling effects of what we call "natural disasters"—many of which carry a human fingerprint. At a minimum, she argues, these systems can help us survive the heat. Paperback , pages. Published May 15th by University of Arizona Press.

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This book is not yet featured on Listopia. May 12, Lois rated it it was amazing. Award-winning ex-journalist turned academic, Melanie Lenart sets out in Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change to see what lessons from the past, including from the two especially hot periods of the Cretaceous and the Eocene, can teach us about our present-day situation and about how we can prepare ourselves for our future on what promises to become an increasingly hot planet. Her intention is to show how we can work with the planet to limit some of the potentially dis Award-winning ex-journalist turned academic, Melanie Lenart sets out in Life in the Hothouse: Her intention is to show how we can work with the planet to limit some of the potentially disastrous impacts of global warming.

True to her previous role as an investigative reporter, Lenart relates personal experiences of those affected by natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina. She includes quotes from interviews conducted with leading experts in the field, as well as excerpts from relevant e-mail exchanges. Her skill in expressing the most scientific and complex phenomena enables her to convey her message so clearly that even someone with only a very basic knowledge of how the planet functions will be able to understand what she has to say.

No surprise, then, that Lenart also teaches environmental writing at the University of Arizona check out her webpage on their site, which contains details of her schedule , as well as conducts workshops in her field.

The Last Time the Globe Warmed

She shows her humane side as a scientist by revealing anecdotes of how her own life has been affected by climate change, whether it has meant cowering under an overturned couch during a hurricane or sweating profusely on an unexpectedly muggy July day. After all, this is not an academic treatise, but rather a text that sets out to explore the implications of global warming for the average person. In straightforward, jargon-free prose, Lenart simply and objectively tells of life-threatening climate changes, such as that of rising winter temperatures in Alaska, which is leading to the need to relocate entire riverside towns.

By assuming that the average reader has sufficient intelligence to be able to understand the implications of what she has to say, Lenart establishes a certain rapport with her audience, which makes her arguments all the more convincing. She contextualizes the writings and work of those researchers to whom she refers, citing many popular articles than can be found in such magazines as Science and the New Scientist , which are widely available.

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Those who find that they wish to read further on the topics that she covers can, therefore, easily do so. The chapters could have been better signposted with subheadings, replacing the curlicues that currently are used between the subsections of each chapter. The text might appear daunting, as it contains no illustrations, which are always a powerful way of communicating any message, but specifically one that is scientific in nature.


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Witness, for example, the transformation of the once print-dense National Geographic magazine over the years into a medium that is currently dominated by illustrations. In an age in which sound bites have become the desired mode of communication, it would be wise to follow their venerable example.

Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change by Melanie Lenart | Science News

I also found the index not to be as comprehensive as it should be. For example, it omits any reference to the Tribal Lands and Climate conferences and to the MIT, as well as to some of the researchers whose research is briefly described in the body of the text. However, overall this work is highly relevant, especially given the chaos that can occur due to the onset of unanticipated and unprecedented climate-related events.

The publication of Life in the Hothouse: May 20, Michelle Kaye rated it it was amazing. Lenart is an award-winning journalist, environmental scientist, teacher, and researcher for the University of Arizona. While conducting this specialized research Dr. Lenart was able to piece together how soil and tree ring analysis can help date logs and their decay. She has also been instrumental in researching the affects of forest fires and climate change. Life in the Hothouse: In this insightful, compelling, and highly readable work, Melanie Lenart, an award-winning journalist and science writer who holds a PhD in Natural Resources and Global Change, examines global warming with the trained eye of a professional scientist.

And she presents the science in a clear, straightforward manner. The Earth is just doing what comes naturally.

Electronic Green Journal

Just as humans produce sweat to cool off on a hot day, the planet produces hurricanes, floods, wetlands, and forests to cool itself off. There is a good reason for this, she notes. Hurricanes help cool the ocean surface and clear the air of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. From the perspective of Gaia theory, these responses are helping to slow the ongoing global warming and Lenart expounds upon this in a clear and understandable fashion. There is hope, Lenart writes. At a minimum, she argues, these systems can help us survive the heat.


  1. Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change by Melanie Lenart?
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Check out some recent interviews with Melanie Lenart! Click here for source notes for this book. Front Matter Download Save. The Sweat of the Earth pp.

Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change
Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change
Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change
Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change
Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change
Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change
Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change

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