Earth Day with David Waltham’s Lucky Planet

Posted on 2014/04/22 , tagged as david waltham

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Earth DayToday is Earth Day, a worldwide campaign for environmental protection. We thought we’d celebrate by sharing this video by David Waltham, about his upcoming book Lucky Planet: Why Earth is Exceptional – and What that Means for Life in the Universe, published next month. In this pop-science masterpiece Waltham argues that life on Earth is, amazingly, a cosmic fluke. So shouldn’t we do all we can to protect it?

Science tells us that life elsewhere in the Universe is increasingly likely to be discovered. But in fact the Earth may be a very unusual planet – perhaps the only one like it in the entire visible Universe. In Lucky Planet David Waltham asks why, and comes up with some surprising and unconventional answers.

Recent geological, biological, and astronomical discoveries are bringing us closer to understanding whether we might be alone in the Universe, and this book uses these to question the conventional wisdom and suggest, instead, that the Earth may have had ‘four billion years of good weather’ purely by chance.

If Earth-like worlds don’t have natural stabilising mechanisms, then intelligent observers such as ourselves will only ever look out onto those rare planets where, like the Earth, all the bad things that could have happened to the climate have fortunately cancelled each other out. So before you prepare to meet the aliens, consider that we are probably alone…

Lucky Planet will be available from all good bookshops and as an eBook from 1st May. Follow @David_Waltham on Twitter and find out more about Earth Day here.