Earthly Order: How Natural Laws Define Human Life

Earthly Order

Earthly Order
How Natural Laws Define Human Life
By Saleem H. Ali
Published by Oxford University Press
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The Covid-19 Pandemic has brought forth global anxiety about linkages between the environment and society at a fundamental structural level. Earthly Order: How Natural Laws Define Human Life provides an accessible exposition of the latest foundational knowledge on how natural and social
systems science can inform planetary crises. Humanity has either tried to conquer or capitulate to natural order, whereas we should be seeking to understand latent structures and patterns that permeate all systems and develop an "earthly order," that is socially functional and sustainable.

Current debates in politics often present what should constitute a "world order" while scientists have wrestled with what are fundamental conditions of "natural order." Author Saleem H. Ali provides a readable synthesis of these debates with practical guidance for the public with a host of current
examples around environmental decision-making by consumers, the government and industry.

All net royalties will be donated to environmental literacy programs in developing countries.


"In an ambitious, yet eminently readable book, Saleem Ali uses a search for order as an organizing principle across all the scales of the world, from submicroscopic to the way human societies interact. I learned something on nearly every page; so will you, as the author draws us into an affirmative view of a changing, interrelated, and wondrous world." -- Roald Hoffmann, Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry and Poet, Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters, Emeritus, Cornell University

"Saleem Ali's new book allows global societies to rediscover nature through an analysis of planetary order. The narrative clarifies visions of the future while practically anchored in the present. By building bridges across disciplines this book provides a pragmatic way of fostering a more positive relationship between humans and the earth." -- Izabella Teixeira, Former Environment Minister of Brazil, UNEP "Champion of the Earth" Awardee

"With Earthly Order, Saleem Ali presents a grand, sprawling exploration of the scientific realm in search of simplicity in nature and order in our human planet. What he uncovers is revealing and provocative in equal measure - a fresh lens to look at the social, economic, political and environmental challenges of our unsustainable age" -- Professor Iain Stewart, Host of BBC Series, How Earth Made Us, UNESCO Chair in Geoscience and Society, Royal Scientific Society of Jordan

"Saleem Ali has at one and the same time assembled a transdisciplinary tour de force on sustainability from the natural and social sciences while also making these insights accessible to broad publics. The systems approach he offers can be a foundation for sustainability curricula in professional schools and a much-needed framework for global business, policy and civic leaders no matter where they hail from on our previous planet." -- Professor Sanjeev Khagram, Director General and Dean, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona State University

"School is all about teaching students about the basic order of life. But the education of order is not exactly an orderly education. Broken up across multiple subjects- mathematics, chemistry, physics, economics - students never get a holistic picture of how natural laws string together to create the basic geometry of the human experience. 'Earthly Order' fixes that. Saleem Ali's new book builds a bridge across the sciences using the scaffolding of natural laws, delivering the reader a unique and unifying perspective of life on Earth." -- Lucas Joppa, Chief Environmental Officer, Microsoft Corporation

"Saleem Ali's new book is a tour de force examining the conceptual meaning of 'order'. Conversations about changes in economic systems, social relations, and human identity are hampered by our inadequate and imprecise thinking about "order": what function it serves, how it breaks down, and what new possibilities it can reveal. Ali's book equips us with novel metaphors and analyses to improve our understanding, debates, and collaborations. Anyone working on complex social and environmental challenges should read this." -- Dr. Zia Khan, Senior Vice President of Innovation, The Rockefeller Foundation

"Earthly Order is a tour de force exploration of how natural laws operate at all levels of the great hierarchy of human existents, from the quantum chemistry of our bodies to sustainability cycles of our planet to economic, social and political structures of our societies. Three principles prevail: commonality of order in a general systems theory sense; expanding multiplicity of variables that generate increasing complexity; and emergence of novel regularities, qualitatively distinct at various levels. This is a book for our times." -- Robert Lawrence Kuhn, Host of media series Closer to Truth

"Earthly Order educates, illuminates and challenges, making connections across great swaths of the domains of knowledge, with climate change as the overarching motivation for this intellectual exploration. I found myself pausing after many paragraphs to consider what Ali had written, often re-reading, as much to experience the pleasure of the prose a second time as to clarify something. To capture Ali's purpose with this book, and to quote from one of my favorite paragraphs, here is the last sentence of his Introduction: 'The goal here is to stretch that specter of inquiry across the full spectrum of human learning about ordered systems so as to make the quest for sustainability more meaningful in both literal and figurative ways.' And, that's just what he does, with elegance and great insight." -- Jared Cohon, President Emeritus Carnegie Mellon University, Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering

"We are privileged to enjoy Saleem's wisdom in the UNEP International Resource Panel. As he states "The ultimate aim (of this book) is contemporary global problem-solving by understanding basic tenets of functional order in natural, social, and political systems. " This statement describes well the very ambition of this essential work. Nothing less than the basics of our existence in the quest leading to sustainability. How could one resist to read it and learn?" -- Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment (2010 -2014); European Commissioner for Science (2004-2010)
Hardcover | 288 pages | $35.00 USD | 978-0197640272 | June 28, 2022