I wish to begin by explaining why this book has been written. Peter Fleming, in writing about his travels in Russia and China in 1933, put the need for such an explanation this way:
In 2003, I wrote in the first edition of this book: “At the time of writing this introduction, the President of the United States, George W. Bush, has already rejected the Kyoto Agreement on the control of greenhouse gas emissions; European leaders appear to be in a dither and ecowarriors alongside anticapitalists have again clashed with riot police in the streets.” A key change since then has been the Stern Review (Stern, 2006) on the economics of climate change. The likely environmental impact of climate change trajectories-rising sea levels permanently displacing millions of people, declining crop yields, more than a third of species facing extinction-had already been well rehearsed. What had not been adequately quantified and understood was the likely cost to the global economy (a 1% decline in economic output and 4% decline in consumption per head for every 1°C rise in average temperature) and that the cost of stabilizing the situation would cost about 1% of gross domestic product (GDP). It seemed not too much to pay, but attention is now firmly focused on the “credit crunch”’ and the 2008 collapse of the financial sector. In the meantime, annual losses in natural capital worth from deforestation alone far exceed the losses of the current recession, severe as it is. Will it take ecological collapse to finally focus our attention on where it needs to be? This book has been written because, like most of its readers, I have a concern for the quality of world we live in, the urgent need for its maintenance and where necessary, its repair. In this book I set out what I believe is a key approach to problem solving and conflict resolution through the analysis and modeling of spatial phenomena. Whilst this book alone will
perhaps not safeguard our world, you the reader on finishing this book will have much to contribute.