Life in the Hothouse

How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change

By Melanie Lenart
(University of Arizona Press, Paperback, 9780816527236, 256pp.)

Publication Date: April 2010

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Description

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. Why does the planet’s warming produce stronger hurricanes, rising seas, and larger floods? Simple, says Lenart. 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.

Life in the Hothouse incorporates Lenart’s extensive knowledge of climate science—including the latest research in climate change—and the most current scientific theories, including Gaia theory, which holds that the Earth has some degree of climate control “built in.” As Lenart points out, scientists have been documenting stronger hurricanes and larger floods for many years. 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. 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.

Check out some recent interviews with Melanie Lenart!
EcoShock Radio (May 21, 2010)




About the Author

Melanie Lenart is an environmental scientist and writer who specializes in climate change and forests. A researcher with the University of Arizona in Tucson for many years, Lenart now focuses on writing and teaching environmental writing at the university and in workshops.




Praise For Life in the Hothouse

“A highly entertaining yet superbly informative look at earth’s climate and its intricate dance with life, including us.” —Kerry Emanuel, author of Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes "Lenart's 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." —Bookpleasures.com "A scientist with a background in journalism, Lenart is well placed to provide a coherent account for the general reader of the work of a host of researchers who have explored some of the intricacies of response to warming in Earth’s ecosystems." —Celcias.com

"Lenart's 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." —Bookpleas

"A scientist with a background in journalism, Lenart is well placed to provide a coherent account for the general reader of the work of a host of researchers who have explored some of the intricacies of response to warming in Earth’s ecosystems." —Celcias

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