This morning I've been looking at another book I got for Christmas (no-one can say geographers are difficult to buy presents for!) - Fragile Earth, Views of a Changing World, which has some stunning - and shocking - images of the effects of natural events and of human activity on the planet. Some of the images, as well as some information about the book, can be found on the Collins website by clicking on the picture.
I was also interested to read some "views to the future", particularly one from Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. He suggests that, if we want to make the world a better place, we ought to be focussing on isses such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, malnutrition and malaria - and in addressing these issues, we will be reducing people's vulnerability to the effects of climate change... An internet search for Bjorn Lomborg will provide you with lots of information about him and his ideas, but it is fair to say that he's quite a controversial character! There are many "anti-Lomborg" sites, accusing him of "scientific dishonesty" and saying that he is manipulating statistics to support his claims that climate change fears are greatly exaggerated. He was also named one of the world's 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine in 2004.
The concluding paragraph in his article in Fragile Earth reads, "It is likely that the future of the world will be better - simply because our technology and innovation keep making us richer and better able to deal with our threats. The trick is to worry about the right things first.".
Have a listen to this interview and read some of the responses on the BBC website... What do you think? Might there be some truth in what he is saying? Or is he talking nonsense?