Read and take notes from the following.
Answer the questions following these reviews.
NB : When writing
your essays beware of just making broad observations eg :
"we really do not understand all the elements needed for
the proper functioning of the environment".
Make these statements yes, but support them with
abundant direct quotes and specific references to the text!
An eye-opener, April 26, 2005
Reviewer: Lem Sportsinterviews (Montreal)
It is hard to say
whether all Suzuki's facts are absolutely valid or not, especially
when his discussion turns to what the Earth's true carrying
capacity for humans is - but that is slightly beside the
point here. The most important part of environmentalism is
to wake people up and make them realize the effects that
their everyday actions have on the world around them.
does this by explaining
1) how everything in this world is
2) pollution of one area will invariably affect
3) we really do not understand all the
elements needed for the proper functioning of the environment.
This should make any person reflect on their own actions.
The world's environmental problems (which in turn are deeply
connected to human problems) will not be solved by governments'
imposing regulations and all this Kyoto b.s. (not that Kyoto
is bad... it's just a very small step and it is disgusting
to see that both USA and Canada are stalling), change will
only come when each individual makes sure their OWN actions
do not make the situation worse.
Buy organic when you can
afford it, reduce or cut out meat entirely from your diet
(I think 80% of farmland is used to keep livestock alive),
buy local products, recycle, compost, reduce energy consumption.
This isn't hippy crap - hippies never had that much self-restraint
- this is about being a responsible person so that your grandchildren
will be able to go outside and play without gas masks. Suzuki's
book was what opened my eyes when I was 17... and it should
do the same for most reasonable people.
Excellent, enlightening and
a "should read",
March 24, 2005
Reviewer: Myles Delta Freeman "Myles" (Halifax,
NS CANADA) -
This is an excellent and enlightening work about the general
state of the planet, humanity as a species, where we belong
on the planet and what it means to us in terms of sustaining
us as a species for the long run.
Well-written and divided
into chapters which could be summarized as humanity, air,
earth, water, fire, community, love, spirituality and balance,
this book paints an accurate state of the world picture with
facts as well as metaphors. It always presents its concern
about the greater picture without losing sight of the details.
A great balance of general science and spirituality, with
just enough facts and personal stories of many to make the
points convincing, this book also is threaded with impacting
and eye-opening quotes and poetry from a variety of sources
A superb book, overall, from someone who
has seen a lot of what he wrote about. This book should be
on the curriculum for senior year high school so that the
future generations can get a good grasp of the world as they
become contributing adults in that world which they will
own and determine, more impacting than ever, for future generations.
No matter how much or how little they will
get from it, every bit helps at a time when that is truer
than ever in the past from every one of us living today.
Don't get me wrong, though, it's not the book that's profound.
It's what you do with what you learn from it which will be.
Sane Science, September 30, 2004
Reviewer: Jeff W. Krueger (Portland, Oregon)
Humanity is creating problems of a size and
magnitude unprecedented in Earth history. We are razing the
forests, causing mass extinctions, and have befouled earth,
sky and water with with deadly toxins. While clinging to
faith in science and progress, deserts quietly creep in on
our venerated civilization.
Within the human economy (community
sounds too hospitable) as well, we see signs of collapse:
some "800 million
people go to bed hungry every night; and in wealthy industrialized
nations, chronic unemployment, violence, social alienation,
drug abuse, crime, unhappiness and the disparity between
rich and poor appear to be rising. The sense that something
is wrong is pervasive... People seem to feel helpless and
pessimistic about the future." All of this, it must
be added, in an era that many historians and pundits tout
for "unprecedented scientific and technological progress."
believes that, although abundant with information and technique,
we lack a working worldview and have utterly disconnected
ourselves from the living planet. "What we need," he
says, "is a new kind of science that approaches the
traditional knowledge of indigenous communities." What
we need is a new story, sense of place, deep connection and
meaning - and that's exactly what this book provides.
life-affirming narrative explains who we are, where we came
from, and our proper place is in this complex, interdependent
world. A beautiful blend of ancient wisdom and modern scientific
thought, The Sacred Balance provides nothing less than the
The Sacred Balance by David Suzuki
Book Review by Jeff Cressman
David Suzuki is a fabulous writer with an urgent and strong
point. This book entitled The Sacred Balance is a non-fiction
book based on the heart and soul of what Suzuki believes.
The first chapter attempts to help the reader realize humans
are biological in nature and, as a species, have lost touch
with our natural connections. He uses four chapters in this
book to describe basic human needs and how intimately humans
rely on the living Earth in every way.
One of these needs
is air, which Suzuki talks about as the "matrix that
joins all life together" and we as a society "need
to acknowledge our responsibilities to protect the air we
Other such basic needs for humans include
water, of which we are 60% by weight; the life providing
medium of soil; the relentless downpour of energy from the
sun, which Suzuki calls "The Divine Fire"; and
the cyclical properties of nature with increasing importance
for sustained life concerning biodiversity.
Suzuki goes on
to talk about the next level of human need, this being love
and spiritual needs. "These needs are absolute, inalienable,
and where they are not met we suffer, even perish."
the final chapter of this book Suzuki outlines a few outstanding
examples of people who are attempting to restore the balance
in their communities. He also goes on to give examples of
ways in which we can live our lives in order to improve the
fragile and deteriorating plant Earth.
Suzuki makes his point
well: "Each of us as the ability to act powerfuly for
change; together we can regain that ancient and sustaining
harmony, in which human needs and the needs of all our companions
on the planet are held in balance with the sacred, self-renewing
processes of Earth."
This book could be utilized as an excellent teaching tool.
It is intimately entwined with biological aspects some of
which are somewhat advanced. Suzuki attempts to explain them
so a person without any background might be able to understand.
The ideas in this book are that of respect and dignity for
the environment that we live in. Many lessons can be learned
from Suzuki’s words for not only young students but
also for all of humanity. I would seriously consider studying
this book with a high school science class over the course
of a semester. Suzuki demonstrates a very "down to Earth" view
of today’s society.
This last one from Perth.
Educational, enlightening and frightening, March 11, 2004
Reviewer: binnsie "binnsie" (Perth, Western Australia)
Not many science books have been written which are able
to captivate its readers and hold their attention like "The
Sacred Balance". Almost like a mystery thriller, it
compels you to turn each page and keep on discovering amazing
facts about the world we live in.
We learn about the origin of the planet and the painstakingly
slow but methodical evolution of all the life forms which
inhabit it. The atmosphere, the seas, the soil, the plants,
the animals and the interdependent web they form, is described
in a logical manner such that you think it is so obvious.
David Suzuki is clearly not just a brilliant scientist but
a very good educator. His description of an ecosystem is "a
complex of community of producers, consumers, decomposers
and detritivores, which interact within boundaries imposed
by their physical surroundings to cycle energy and material
through the web of life."
It is surprising to read that the ozone layer is only as
thick as a sheet of newspaper. A quick independent check
confirmed that it is indeed only about 2-3 mm thick. The
diameter of the sun at 1.4 million kilometres wasn't surprising
enough for me to rush off and check, but it is pretty awesome.
Each second the sun burns 637 million tonnes of hydrogen
to create 632 million tonnes of helium while releasing some
386 billion billion megawatts. The sun has been aflame for
5 billion years and is about half way through its own life
"Sacred Balance" tells us that mankind's technological
ability to exhaust the planet of its natural resources at
an alarming rate and the associated increase in demand on
food, water, trees, the land and the atmosphere threaten
to modify the sacred balance to such an extent that our survival
is under threat. A frightening picture is painted by conjuring
up a time-lapse film taken from space over the last ten thousand
years so that each millennium passes in one minute. For the
first 7 minutes the movie looks like more like a still photo
as nothing changes. Gradually, as time progresses, forests
and greenery begin to disappear in parts of Europe, Central
America, China and India. 12 seconds from the end, 2 centuries
ago, the thinning spreads more intensely until with 6 seconds
to go eastern north America is deforested. The action accelerates
in the last 10 seconds, 5 seconds, 3 seconds and so on until
in the final fractions of a second it looks as if a plague
of locusts has descended on the planet. Seen this way the
planet's forests are being irrevocably lost in a mere tick
of the geological clock. Plotted on a chart this forest devastation
leaps almost straight off the page in our own lifetime.
Finally a series of "good news" stories are told
which serve to give us hope that even an individual with
a will can make a difference. From mangrove planters in Kuwait
and Vietnam to the "Clean up Australia Day" campaign
which has grown to become "Clean up the World" good
things are happening. However, a lot of momentum is going
to have to shift if the cycle is to be reversed and the sacred
balance of our fragile and wonderful planet preserved.
What do these reviews identify as Suzuki's purpose in
writing The Sacred Balance ?
List any quotes which state the PROBLEMS IDENTIFIED BY
List any quotes which state the SOLUTIONS IDENTIFIED
List any quotes which express