Solvable: How We Healed the Earth, and How We Can Do It Again (Hardcover)

Solvable: How We Healed the Earth, and How We Can Do It Again By Susan Solomon Cover Image

Solvable: How We Healed the Earth, and How We Can Do It Again (Hardcover)


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A compelling and pragmatic argument: solutions to yesterday’s environmental problems reveal today’s path forward.
We solved planet-threatening problems before, Susan Solomon argues, and we can do it again. Solomon knows firsthand what those solutions entail. She first gained international fame as the leader of an expedition to Antarctica in 1986, making discoveries that were key to healing the damaged ozone layer. She saw a path—from scientific and public awareness to political engagement, international agreement, industry involvement, and effective action. Solomon, an atmospheric scientist and award-winning author, connects this career-defining triumph to the inside stories of other past environmental victories—against ozone depletion, smog, pesticides, and lead—to extract the essential elements of what makes change possible. 

The path to success begins when an environmental problem becomes both personal and perceptible to the general public. Lawmakers, diplomats, industries, and international agencies respond to popular momentum, and effective change takes place in tandem with consumer pressure when legislation and regulation yield practical solutions. Healing the planet is a long game won not by fear and panic but by the union of public, political, and regulatory pressure.

Solvable is a book for anyone who has ever despaired about the climate crisis. As Solomon reminds us, doom and gloom get us nowhere, and idealism will only take us so far. The heroes in these stories range from angry mothers to gang members turned social activists, to upset Long Island birdwatchers to iconoclastic scientists (often women) to brilliant legislative craftsmen. Solomon’s authoritative point of view is an inspiration, a reality check, a road map, and a much-needed dose of realism. The problems facing our planet are Solvable. Solomon shows us how.
Susan Solomon is professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was the founding director of the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative. She is known for pioneering work on the Antarctic ozone layer and for landmark studies of the timescales of climate change. She has received many scientific honors and awards, including the US National Medal of Science, the Grande Médaille from the French Academy of Sciences, and the Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. She is the author of The Coldest March, which was named a New York Times notable book and an Economist book of the year.
Product Details ISBN: 9780226827933
ISBN-10: 0226827933
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: June 13th, 2024
Pages: 312
Language: English
“This immensely readable and deeply insightful book by one of the world’s most distinguished atmospheric scientists should be read by everybody who wants to better understand global environmental problems and solutions. Solomon shows that even the worst environmental problem of all—climate change—can still be mastered if society will only rise to the challenge.”
— John P. Holdren, President Obama’s science advisor, 2009–2017

“In Solvable, Susan Solomon rolls up her sleeves and digs into the lessons of past environmental problems, including DDT and acid rain, to inspire our hope for the future. She shows how today’s problems, though daunting, are also solvable.”
— Fred Krupp, president, Environmental Defense Fund

“In a narrative that sweeps from the excitement of scientific discovery to the halls of Congress and international diplomacy, Solomon reminds us that humanity has solved seemingly impossible environmental problems before and can do so again. An inspiring and illuminating book for anyone worried about the environmental challenges of today. Highly recommended!”
— Anthony Leiserowitz, director, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication

"A study of how successful campaigns to curb dangerous chemicals and pollution point to a way forward on climate change. [Solomon] has won acclaim for her four decades of work in her field, and in this book, she examines how a range of environmental crises have been addressed. . . . Solomon’s review of answers to big problems displays her expertise and optimism in a pragmatic, inspiring package."
— Kirkus Reviews