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The EARTH as a CRADLE for Life: The origin, evolution and future of the environment



World Scientific, Singapore



The EARTH as a CRADLE for Life: The origin, evolution and future of the environment

 Authors  Frank D. Stacey and Jane H. Hodgkinson

Year of Publication











Krishna B. Misra



Review Complete

The book comprises 16 chapters, organized under three sections and is preceded by a Preface.






Chapter 1

The age of the Earth as an abode fitted for life

20 Pages


Chapter 2

Rotation, tides and the Moon

16 Pages


Chapter 3

The variable Sun and other astronomical effects

13 Pages


Chapter 4

The magnetic field

14 Pages





Chapter 5

The internal heat and the evolution of the Earth

18 Pages


Chapter 6

The oceans

25 Pages


Chapter 7

Planetary atmospheres and the appearance of free oxygen

21 Pages

Chapter 8

Thermal balance, the greenhouse effect and sea level

23 Pages


Chapter 9

Environmental crises and mass extinction of species

11 Pages


Chapter 10

Stability of the environment

10 Pages


Chapter 11

Inorganic mineral deposits as products of an evolving environment

08 Pages


Chapter 12

Fossil fuels, buried carbon and photosynthetic oxygen

15 Pages





Chapter 13

Effects of Fossil fuel use

14 Pages


Chapter 14

A comparison of human energy use with natural dissipations

17 Pages


Chapter 15

The cradle is rocking

11 Pages


Chapter 16

A summary of salient conclusions

03 Pages



21 Pages


Name index

03 Pages


Subject index

07 Pages


About the authors

01 Page


This is a very interesting book and must be read by all those who are concerned about the environmental the-earth-as-a-cradle-for-life-978-9814508322degradation on account of careless handing of issue of environment. The reviewer suggests that a reader should begin with the 16th chapter first so that the motivation for in depth study is developed in him or her and the reader then can start looking for the reasons of the consequences enumerated in chapter 16 from  the earlier chapters of the book. The authors in fact facilitate the navigation easier by giving within parentheses the chapter/chapters where a reader can look for more details regarding a particular statement. The book traces the history of Earth’s origin and subsequently as a nursery of life which the authors believe must be understood by us all as it took millions of years of evolution in the solar system to reach the state that is suitable for life to exist on this unique planet. The authors do take a reader to explore other planets as well in order to emphasize Earth’s uniqueness for sustaining life .

Not stopping at that the authors believe that everything is in place for life to exist billions of years but for human tampering with the environment and want us to understand the consequences of this tampering. We are producing irreversible changes for Earth environment. For example, energy problem will be major concern for environment in future and according to authors’ estimate the average rate of human use of energy exceeds 16 terawatts (16x1012Watts) which is grossly much higher than dissipations by some natural phenomena such as flow of world’s river need only 6 terawatts. Much of the energy that we use comes from fossil fuels which leads to CO2 built up although solar and wind power is abundantly available. In the same way indiscriminate exploitation of mineral resources eventually point to their possible exhaustion. After all, Earth’s resources are finite. Since both the authors belong to CSIRO Earth Science and Resource Engineering, Australia, they approach the subject from the perspective of global geophysics. Dematerialization is one of the tenets of sustainable development.  Persons involved with the subject of sustainability will find this book very useful. The reviewer recommends this to all who desire to know about our planet and its environment since misunderstandings about the environment are quite common, even in the scientific community.


This review has been published in Vol. 11, No. 6,  November 2015 issue of the IJPE


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