Jim’s First Book:


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Along with reducing their contribution to atmospheric methane, there are many good reasons to reduce the number of domestic ruminant animals that live on our planet at any one time.  (See index for soil erosion for details.)  But the focus on the methane contributed by such animals distracts us from the methane releases that human activities are causing.  While “livestock account for 15-20 percent of global methane emissions”, it is at least equaled by our own activities.3  Currently, our use of fossil fuels contributes 20% of the methane that is being released into the atmosphere.4  At least half of this 20% results from the release of methane gas related to mining coal.5

As stated in the first paragraph of this introduction, this book is about solutions.  Solutions that are not only consistent with principles of ecological sustainability but those that can be successfully applied on a scale that can sustainably support a global population of 7 billion or more individuals who increasingly live in urban areas.  It is also about developing a planning strategy that will help us in this effort.

It is my belief that the recommendations presented in this book are workable and cost effective, even within the narrow confines of how we currently measure material wealth.  But, I also see these recommmendations as only a starting place.  We are just beginning to understand how the life support system on our planet works.

Indeed, we have not even named all the organisms that share this planet with us.  Our relationship to them, as interdependent elements in the web of life, is even more of a mystery.

As our knowledge grows, new insights and ideas about how we can live and make livings sustainably on our planet are sure to evolve.  To people of the future, the ideas I have presented here will, undoubtedly, seem as crude and quaint as the thechnologies of the distant past seem to us today.


3 Brown, Lester R. State of the World 1992.  Worldwatch Institute, W.W. Norton and Company, New York, London, (1992):  p. 74.
4 Ibid. pp 37-38.
5 Ibid.

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