Life’s Engines – How Microbes Made Earth Habitable * is Star Wars in reverse. It looks at life’s inner space – the cell – and the oxygen of our daily breath, not the fantasy of outer space. This book is a beautiful read – like art. See my review in Leonardo Reviews here.
Basic science used to be for scientists only: Darwin’s evolution theory or Einstein’s E=MC² have not altered our daily behavior much, if at all (Aside from the technological advances that came because of them). Things have changed. This book, by taking us through life’s most basic processes – our body’s energy needs – brings out problems that are too close for comfort. And we ignore them at our own peril.
Yes, it’s a serious basic science book. But let’s get back to basics, the simple truth. The simple truth is that we cannot argue with the chemical reactions that happen in our body cells every second. And that these exact same reactions are happening in animals and plants throughout the Earth, including zillions of microbes beyond our imagination that are silently shaping and changing our Earth’s atmosphere – which is becoming less and less stable, thanks to the carbon dioxide we send up. We send up around 20 pounds of carbon dioxide for each gallon of gasoline burned – the whole picture is even worse (see page 154 in book).
And think microbiome! All the microbes that inhabit our body – skin, hair, mouth, gut… They number ten times more than our our own body cells – though they are so small they only weigh about 2-3 pounds. And the genes they carry have become linked to our own metabolism – kill them willy-nilly with our full-spectrum antibiotics and we become sick without knowing why…
“What global warming? It’s freezing here in New York” – quoting a presidential candidate.
Even many school teachers hold mistaken views of the global warming situation, according to a survey by Penn State University
Let’s get real.
* Life’s Engines – How microbes made earth habitable by Paul Falkowski, Princeton University Press (2015). Click here or link above for my book review.
NEWS & UPDATES:
2016 05 14 Get friendly – National microbiome initiative from the White House to know our bacterial life partners. “… life on land became possible because ancient ocean-dwelling microbes released oxygen into the atmosphere.” “We wouldn’t be here without these bacteria,”… “Our health, our behavior and even our longevity are all affected by these bacteria.”