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RCA General Meeting - David Grinspoon Book Event

  • OMSI 1945 Southeast Water Avenue Portland, OR, 97214 (map)

While the weather isn't the best, we are still having the meeting tonight, and are still eagerly looking forward to hearing Dr Grinspoon speak.

Author of Earth in Human Hands

On January 16th, we will be welcoming Dr David Grinspoon back to Portland to talk about his new book Earth In Human Hands and to autograph copies afterwards. Dr Grinspoon is an excellent communicator and a wonderful writer.  We very much enjoyed his earlier book Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life and have been looking forward to his new book for a quite awhile. Earth In Human Hands was released on December 6th and has received many great reviews. It has also already been named a "Best Science Book of 2016" by NPR's Science Friday.  Here is the description of the book from the publisher.

For the first time in Earth's history, our planet is experiencing a confluence of rapidly accelerating changes prompted by one species: humans. Climate change is only the most visible of the modifications we've made--up until this point, inadvertently--to the planet. And our current behavior threatens not only our own future but that of countless other creatures. By comparing Earth's story to those of other planets, astrobiologist David Grinspoon shows what a strange and novel development it is for a species to evolve to build machines, and ultimately, global societies with world-shaping influence.

Without minimizing the challenges of the next century, Grinspoon suggests that our present moment is not only one of peril, but also great potential, especially when viewed from a 10,000-year perspective. Our species has surmounted the threat of extinction before, thanks to our innate ingenuity and ability to adapt, and there's every reason to believe we can do so again.

Our challenge now is to awaken to our role as a force of planetary change, and to grow into this task. We must become graceful planetary engineers, conscious shapers of our environment and caretakers of Earth's biosphere. This is a perspective that begs us to ask not just what future do we want to avoid, but what do we seek to build? What kind of world do we want? Are humans the worst thing or the best thing to ever happen to our planet? Today we stand at a pivotal juncture, and the answer will depend on the choices we make.

For more information about ordering, please contact our Sales Director Craig Hlady.


Dr David Grinspoon is a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute.  From 2012 to 2013, he served as the first Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology and, from 2006 to 2012, he was the Curator of Astrobiology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  He was named "Alpha Geek" by Wired Magazine in 2007, received the 2006 Carl Sagan Medal for Public Communication of Planetary Science from the American Astronomical Society, and received the 2004 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Research Nonfiction for his excellent book Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life. He is also a member of the House Band of the Universe.  You can read more about his adventures on his web site

Slides from January Meeting



Earlier Event: January 16
New member orientation
Later Event: January 18
Cosmology SIG