For the first time in history, humans have exceeded the
sustaining capacity of Earth's global ecosystems. Our expanding
footprint has tremendous momentum, and the insidious explosion of
human impact creates a shockwave that threatens ecosystems
worldwide for decades-possibly centuries.
Walter K. Dodds depicts in clear, nontechnical terms the root
causes and global environmental effects of human behavior. He
describes trends in population growth, resource use, and global
environmental impacts of the past two centuries, such as greenhouse
effects, ozone depletion, water pollution, and species extinctions
and introductions. Dodds also addresses less familiar developments,
such as the spread of antibiotic resistant genes in bacteria and
the concentration of pesticides in the Arctic and other remote
ecosystems. He identifies fundamental human activities that have
irreversible effects on the environment and draws on recent social
science and game theory results to explain why people use more than
their share. Past behavior indicates that as resources grow scarce,
humans will escalate their use of what remains instead of managing
their consumption. Humanity's Footprint paints a lively
but ultimately sobering picture of our environmental predicament.
Dodds calls for a consilient approach to socioenvironmental
restoration that draws on new thinking from across disciplines to
develop sustainable solutions to global environmental problems.