This website began as a way of telling people about my book, Our Dying Planet. Over time it has evolved into a blog in which I discuss recent science results on aspects of the environmental crisis, and recent news events, particularly from Canada, pertaining to the struggle to get the crisis taken seriously. Necessarily, I find there are important things to say about Canada’s tar sands, the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines, and attitudes to environment. However, I also talk more generally about the global environmental crisis, and more specifically about particular ecological systems and how they, and we, are doing. Visit, read, hopefully enjoy, comment, and tell your friends.
With the release of the paperback edition of Our Dying Planet, I have added an Addendum page on this website, that briefly updates the book to September 2012. I also urge readers to scan through The Blog which is an ongoing discussion of topics related to the environmental crisis — sometimes science, sometimes news, sometimes politics.
Peter Sale, 3rd October 2012
There is an informative review of Our Dying Planet on the blog, Books, etc. published 16th August 2012
New review in Quarterly Review of Biology, 88, p.34 (March 2013), by Erle C. Ellis. (not entirely favorable) “The prose and storytelling are engaging and flow well, many complex concepts are well explained, and the author is a world-class expert in coral reef ecology with a long career face to face with his subject. The content in areas relating to marine ecology, perhaps three-quarters of the book, is both scientifically illuminating and filled with interesting personal stories that only an expert in this area could know. If this volume was retitled and refocused to Our Dying Corals or Our Dying Oceans, I would recommend it without reservation”.
Here is the 18th October 2011 interview with Jason Hartman on the Holistic Survival show, posted mid May on their website. Fourth interview that day — amazing I was still coherent!
Here is a more recent conversation on Topical Currents, WLRN Radio, Miami, in April 2012.
See various reviews on Our Dying Planet page
Our environmental crisis is multi-faceted, pervasive and very serious. Coral reefs are particularly hard hit, and stand a real chance of being the first ecosystem ever eliminated by humanity – for us that’s quite a step up from causing extinctions of single species, a step up in irresponsibility. The Arctic is thawing so rapidly that scientists have trouble imagining what it will be like in 10 or 20 years. Floods in Pakistan, droughts in Australia and in East Africa, giant dust storms in Arizona are all parts of this crisis. So too are our dwindling catches of fish, the growing number of dead zones in the oceans, the outbreaks of new pest species and new diseases, growing restlessness and strife in many parts of the world, and the growing prices for food, water, and fuel. The crisis is an ecological one, but we are not immune to ecology. The crisis is also well under way, and it is getting much worse, very quickly.
How humanity chooses to respond over the next few years will determine the type of future we will enter over the next couple of decades. Most of the possible futures are now grim, and doing nothing, sitting to wait and see how bad things are going to get before taking action, will bring us the worst future. Yet there still remains a chance that we can get to a good future if we act now, act vigorously, and make the correct decisions. To do that, public opinion in the developed world has got to shift substantially and quickly, because only that shift will energize governments and economies to take the bold steps needed. Public opinion can change overnight. We need the right messages, and the knowledge that if we change we can reach a good future, one I call New Atlantis.
Our Dying Planet is my attempt, as an ecologist, to convey the complexity and severity of the environmental crisis, and the need for quick and determined action if we care at all about our own children. There is still time to act, and economically viable paths to take, that will bring us to New Atlantis, a future in which humans live rich and fulfilling lives as stewards of an ecologically sustainable Earth. Join up for the journey of our time.
Peter F. Sale
“Peter Sale’s book shows us the exquisite sensitivity of ecosystems to the consequences of human activity. This is the anthropocene epoch, a time when human beings have become a force of nature, altering properties of the biosphere on a geological scale. Read this and you will know it is very late and we must act.”
David Suzuki, author of The Sacred Balance