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Hacking the Earth

Hacking the Earth cover (final version)
    Update for visitors from Dot.Earth:

    This entry is largely about the book process, and not about the content, so I'll rectify that problem.

    Hacking the Earth is a collection of essays written between 2005 and early 2009 on the subject of geoengineering, as well as our broader responsibility for the climate and environment. This isn't a science text; while science is discussed, it's written for non-scientists to be able to understand and make use of.

    Instead, Hacking the Earth is fundamentally a book about how our culture and politics would both influence and be influenced by the consideration and deployment of geoengineering techniques. Issues of control, responsibility, liability, and cultural perceptions of risk loom large. It's not a book that tells you whether geoengineering is bad or good -- it's a book intended to give some depth to the debates.

    It's a short work, only about 115 pages, easily read in one sitting.

    Hacking the Earth came out in early 2009, and in the subsequent time, I've written a number of additional pieces about geoengineering. Probably most important is a new essay on management of the process, "A Survival Guide to Geoengineering," published by the University of Minnesota's institute on the Environment. In February, I gave a talk on the same subject for the State of Green Business Forum entitled "Hacking the Earth without Voiding the Warranty"; a video can be found here.

Today my collection of essays about geoengineering, Hacking the Earth, goes on sale. It gathers together the major pieces I've written about geoengineering, here and at Worldchanging; I've edited most of them to bring the content up to date, eliminate the bloggier aspects ("such and such just appeared at this link"), and give it a bit more flow.

This is my "have to have a book in print" stake in the ground, at least for now. It's sometimes surprising how important a print publication still is in many knowledge and analysis fields. It doesn't matter if it's widely read, it just needs to exist.

This is also an experiment in publish-on-demand. Rather than go through a traditional publisher, I'm trying out Lulu.com. This gives me a bit more control over the content, and allows me to put something about on a subject that probably won't be generating a lot of mainstream attention for another couple of years.

If you decide to buy a copy, thank you. If not, thank you, too. I'm really curious about how well this model of book publishing works, in terms of both success and failure.

I don't think I have any more geoengineering items lined up right now. Therefore, I declare Terraformingstock over for now.


Have you considered putting out a Kindle edition as well? I know I can download from Lulu, but it'd be easier for me to grab from Amazon. And it'd be nice to have someone self-publish something worth reading on the device.

Thomas beat me to my intended comment. I'd also like to be able to grab it from Amazon for my Kindle.

It looks like a Kindle version will take some serious formatting work. I tried doing a straight conversion of PDF to Kindle -- using Amazon's own conversion service -- and the results aren't pretty.

I'll see what I can do, though. Now that I have a Kindle myself, I can make sure it works before making anything public.


Drop the MS into Word, then upload the .doc file: the Kindle formatter plays with that more nicely, but you'll have to modify your TOC to be simple, and small.

Off to buy a copy of your book!

Why not avoid dicey geo-engineering gambits by choosing to stop doing the soon to become patently unsustainable things we are doing to the Earth and its environs now that could likely precipitate a calamitous global ecological wreckage?

At some point in the near future, before it is too late for humankind to make a difference, reason and common sense are going to be deployed and collective action ably and humanely taken by new leadership within the family of humanity that at least strives to mitigate, if not resolve the colossal, human-driven ecological crisis which looms so ominously before all of us on the horizon.

Perhaps we can see how the attractive ideological idiocy and self-serving greediness of some as well as the stony silence of many are what is required to precipitate the ruination of the Earth and its environs as a fit place for human habitation by children everywhere.

Steven, the whole point of the book is to emphasize that eliminating the (as you put it) "patently unsustainable things we are doing to the Earth" is absolutely necessary, whether or not geoengineering is deployed. This isn't a call to undertake geo; it's a request that we think through the social and political consequences, along with the environmental results.

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