Extraction to Extinction
Extraction to Extinction charts our relationship with the geology of Earth, winding its way elegantly through time, showing how the development of humankind is intrinsically linked to the ground beneath our feet.
The book is laid out in chronological order, starting with the birth of the planet and how the processes that created its structure over billions of years were fundamental in providing the right environments for rocks and mineral deposits to form. Each chapter introduces a different substance, interweaving geology with historical context to provide an explanation of how we sought to discover, understand, and utilise geology.
Split into three main parts, the book starts with a review of materials derived from the extractive industries. This then leads into the birth of manufacturing materials, such as concrete and plastics. As our scientific knowledge improved, we have been able to manipulate raw products into new ones, often with huge environmental impact as we use (and abuse) our ever-diminishing resources. The final chapters paint a somewhat stark picture as the reality of how our perpetual thirst for growth, which is showing no signs of reducing, comes with consequence. The quest for rare earth elements and how industrial pollution and climate change are shaping the world we live in are eloquently discussed. The Anthropocene, representing just a click of the fingers in geological time, could be our defining moment if we don’t choose to alter our path. Economics and perpetual growth cannot be the sole definition of how we live and it’s up to us to influence what our relationship with our planet looks like in the future.
This is a great book that does a fantastic job of weaving together geology, social science, and history into a really engaging read.
Reviewed by Phil Merrin
BY: David Howe (2021). Saraband Publishing. 264 pp. (pbk or ebook)
PRICE: £9.99 or £6.99 saraband.net