Top 38 Charles C. Mann Quotes

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“Farmers can’t plant much more land because almost every accessible acre of arable soil is already in use. Nor can the use of fertilizer be increased: it is already being overused everywhere except some parts of Africa, and the runoff is polluting rivers, lakes, and oceans.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Seoul and Shanghai, Jaipur and Jakarta; shining skyscrapers, pricey hotels, traffic-jammed streets ablaze with neon – all were built atop a foundation of laboratory-bred rice.”

― Charles C. Mann

“There are several types of greenhouse gasses, but carbon dioxide is the most important.”

― Charles C. Mann

“The way I think of it, economics and ecology occupy two intellectual silos, isolated from each other. Even when they do take each other into consideration, it’s not uncommon for ecologists to spout absolute nonsense about economics, and vice versa.”

― Charles C. Mann

“A smartphone links patients’ bodies and doctors’ computers, which in turn are connected to the Internet, which in turn is connected to any smartphone anywhere. The new devices could put the management of an individual’s internal organs in the hands of every hacker, online scammer, and digital vandal on Earth.”

― Charles C. Mann

“A world with a sudden limit on air travel would be tremendously different from the one we live in now.”

― Charles C. Mann

“The legal fight over climate change begins in the United States with the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977. Under the Act, the E.P.A. is required to publish a list of ‘stationary sources’ of air pollution, of which the most important are power plants.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Prediction is a mug’s game, but taking the side of water polluters has not been a winning political strategy for 50 years. Presidents Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II all undertook to weaken water regulations in the name of economic growth. They left office; the regulations remained.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Scientists have established huge numbers of links between particular diseases and snippets of DNA, but in the great majority of cases, this has not yet been translated into treatments that can help cure patients. These treatments will come – tomorrow, or the day after.”

― Charles C. Mann

“A whole bunch of big technological shocks occurred when Asian innovations – paper, gunpowder, the stirrup, the moldboard plow and so on – came to Europe via the Silk Road.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Historically, large-scale global trade has served two functions: 1) the exchange of goods between willing sellers and buyers described in Econ 101 textbooks; 2) as a tool of state aggrandizement, in which the private parties are stand-ins for governmental interests.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Smartphones can relay patients’ data to hospital computers in a continuous stream. Doctors can alter treatment regimens remotely, instead of making patients come in for a visit.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Major power and telephone grids have long been controlled by computer networks, but now similar systems are embedded in such mundane objects as electric meters, alarm clocks, home refrigerators and thermostats, video cameras, bathroom scales, and Christmas-tree lights – all of which are, or soon will be, accessible remotely.”

― Charles C. Mann

“The embrace of a new technology by ordinary people leads inevitably to its embrace by people of malign intent.”

― Charles C. Mann

“The Japanese are great at inventing complex systems of rules, and not so great at explaining those rules to foreign visitors.”

― Charles C. Mann

“The Japanese drive on the left side of the road. Most streets literally do not have names.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Compared with U.S. cities, Japanese cities bend over backward to help foreigners. The countryside is another matter.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Japanese maps tend to come in two varieties: small, schematic, and bewildering; and large, fantastically detailed, and bewildering.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Cash-strapped cities in nations from Argentina to Albania have begun to turn over their municipal water systems to Big Water, often under lease arrangements that can continue in force for decades.”

― Charles C. Mann

“So many wells have been dug in Changzhou that its groundwater has been over-exploited, and the local ground level has sunk by two feet. The city has officially banned new wells and mandated the installation of pollution controls, but China’s endemic corruption ensures that neither measure has much meaning.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Rather than forcing local factories to clean up after themselves, Changzhou decided to outsource the job of managing its water supply to a French company named Veolia – one of a handful of corporate giants now scrambling to take over city water systems around the planet, especially in the often polluted and water-short developing world.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Big Water makes an argument straight out of Economics 101. The best way to deliver water to people’s homes efficiently, the water barons argue, is to put the process in the hands of the market. If water is scarce, then raise the price – let the law of supply and demand take over!”

― Charles C. Mann

“Under the Paris agreement, every one of the 147 signatories issues what is called an ‘intended nationally determined contribution’ (INDC), which amounts to a promise that the nation will take certain actions to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by a certain date.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Canceling the climate pact will loudly demonstrate Trump’s willingness to fight – an important step for the White House because, on a concrete level, few tools are available to revive the coal industry.”

― Charles C. Mann

“The Paris pact was correctly described by its opponents – greens and anti-greens alike – as toothless. But it was also the first time that nations around the world had officially agreed that climate change was a problem and that concrete steps should be taken to avoid its worst effects.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Indeed, for all Donald Trump’s railing about the efforts to curb climate change, nobody in his administration seems to have paid any attention to what they actually are.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Obama issued a slew of executive orders about climate change during the eight years of his presidency. Inexplicably, President Trump revoked about half of them but left the other half in place. Since Obama’s orders were intertwined, it’s unclear exactly what applies.”

― Charles C. Mann

“You know how in movies the new president comes in and promises to perform sweeping actions with a stroke of a pen? The Administrative Procedure Act is designed to thwart this sort of maneuver.”

― Charles C. Mann

“The queue of activists, interest groups, and ordinary people wringing their hands over what a President Donald Trump might do in office is long, and environmentalists are at the front of the line.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Americans are willing to cheer on politicians who denounce bureaucratic overreach and job-killing red tape in abstract terms. But they turn out to like specific regulations against toxic chemicals in their drinking water.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Some Western states have collaborative water agreements with Indian tribes – Washington state, for instance, monitors a number of its rivers to protect spawning salmon, which are promised to native peoples under 19th-century treaties.”

― Charles C. Mann

“All parents remember the moment when they first held their children – the tiny crumpled face, an entire new person, emerging from the hospital blanket.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Like other parents, I want my children to be comfortable in their adult lives.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Artificial lighting, air-conditioning, and automobiles, all powered by fossil fuels, swaddle us in our giddy modernity. In our ergonomic chairs and acoustical-panel cubicles, we sit cozy as kings atop 300 years of flaming carbon.”

― Charles C. Mann

“As an issue, climate change was unlucky: when nonspecialists first became aware of it in the 1990s, environmental attitudes had already become tribal political markers.”

― Charles C. Mann

“By the 1980s, businesses had realized that environmental issues had a price tag. Increasingly, they balked. Reflexively, the anticorporate Left pivoted; Earth Day, erstwhile snow job, became an opportunity to denounce capitalist greed.”

― Charles C. Mann

“Not only are utilities switching from coal and oil to gas, but also trucking, schoolbuses, garbage trucks, and even taxi fleets.”

― Charles C. Mann

“There are serious worries about unconventional gas and oil, especially those concerning the environment.”

― Charles C. Mann
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