Explaining the Earth
© De Vuurberg / A. van Roekel
Book review, October 3rd, 2007
2008 will be the Year of Planet Earth. To raise awareness about planetary processes
that take place on our Earth, UNESCO in collaboration with the International Union
of Geological Sciences (IUGS) have published the booklet Explaining the Earth.
Starting off explaining the solar system and the condition for the development of life on our
planet, the basics of Earth sciences are further explored. The author, Philippe Bouysse,
is a French geologist also involved in global mapping projects at CCGM/CGMW in Paris.
Diving into plate tectonics and the earth’s inner layers, the processes along plate boundaries,
volcanism and various types of faults are explained. The book describes in a crystal clear and simple
manner the 'ballet of continental drift', the formation of mountains and shapes
of islands such as arcs and hotspot archipelagos.
Water and air, the vital substances of our environments, make up our atmosphere and hydrosphere
and relate directly to our weather and climate.
This sympathetic and well illustrated booklet specially aims at young people but is
informative for any age. One could say that anybody leaving school should have this
knowledge in their back pocket. Especially in our time, as we are more and more confronted
with the basic processes on our planet, climate being only one of them. Humans, and life in general,
cannot do without the conditions that only the Earth can offer us. That is exactly why the Year of
Planet Earth was launched, to ‘enhance awareness of the essential relationship between humankind
and planet earth and to highlight the key role that geoscientists have to play in creating a balanced
Hopefully both UNESCO and IUGS are able to surpass the warming-up debate,
creating more understanding and respect among a general public. So that
it becomes clear that the Earth not only serves us, offering the right conditions,
but has a value in its own right. One of the challenges of earth science is to
improve human awareness of time, ‘usually extending to the length of an individual’s life’.
To understand what sustainability really means, we need a time horizon which exceeds
Explaining the Earth. Philippe Bouysse
Part of Discovering the World series - Also available in French and Spanish
48 pagina's. ISBN 978 92 3 104015 3
Price: 8 euro
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