The Song Of The Dodo

Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions

Author: David Quammen

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 1448137403

Category: Nature

Page: 704

View: 4352

Why have island ecosystems always suffered such high rates of extinction? In our age, with all the world's landscapes, from Tasmania to the Amazon to Yellowstone, now being carved into island-like fragments by human activity, the implications of this question are more urgent than ever. Over the past eight years, David Quammen has followed the threads of island biogeography on a globe-encircling journey of discovery.
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The Sixth Extinction

An Unnatural History

Author: Elizabeth Kolbert

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1408851237

Category: Nature

Page: 336

View: 6910

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions of life on earth. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. Elizabeth Kolbert combines brilliant field reporting, the history of ideas and the work of geologists, botanists and marine biologists to tell the gripping stories of a dozen species – including the Panamanian golden frog and the Sumatran rhino – some already gone, others at the point of vanishing. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy and Elizabeth Kolbert's book urgently compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
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Relicts of a Beautiful Sea

Survival, Extinction, and Conservation in a Desert World

Author: Christopher Norment

Publisher: UNC Press Books

ISBN: 1469618672

Category: Nature

Page: 288

View: 7095

Along a tiny spring in a narrow canyon near Death Valley, seemingly against all odds, an Inyo Mountain slender salamander makes its home. "The desert," writes conservation biologist Christopher Norment, "is defined by the absence of water, and yet in the desert there is water enough, if you live properly." Relicts of a Beautiful Sea explores the existence of rare, unexpected, and sublime desert creatures such as the black toad and four pupfishes unique to the desert West. All are anomalies: amphibians and fish, dependent upon aquatic habitats, yet living in one of the driest places on earth, where precipitation averages less than four inches per year. In this climate of extremes, beset by conflicts over water rights, each species illustrates the work of natural selection and the importance of conservation. This is also a story of persistence--for as much as ten million years--amid the changing landscape of western North America. By telling the story of these creatures, Norment illustrates the beauty of evolution and explores ethical and practical issues of conservation: what is a four-inch-long salamander worth, hidden away in the heat-blasted canyons of the Inyo Mountains, and what would the cost of its extinction be? What is any lonely and besieged species worth, and why should we care?
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Evolution

The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory

Author: Edward J. Larson

Publisher: Modern Library

ISBN: 9781588365385

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 8820

“I often said before starting, that I had no doubt I should frequently repent of the whole undertaking.” So wrote Charles Darwin aboard The Beagle, bound for the Galapagos Islands and what would arguably become the greatest and most controversial discovery in scientific history. But the theory of evolution did not spring full-blown from the head of Darwin. Since the dawn of humanity, priests, philosophers, and scientists have debated the origin and development of life on earth, and with modern science, that debate shifted into high gear. In this lively, deeply erudite work, Pulitzer Prize–winning science historian Edward J. Larson takes us on a guided tour of Darwin’s “dangerous idea,” from its theoretical antecedents in the early nineteenth century to the brilliant breakthroughs of Darwin and Wallace, to Watson and Crick’s stunning discovery of the DNA double helix, and to the triumphant neo-Darwinian synthesis and rising sociobiology today. Along the way, Larson expertly places the scientific upheaval of evolution in cultural perspective: the social and philosophical earthquake that was the French Revolution; the development, in England, of a laissez-faire capitalism in tune with a Darwinian ethos of “survival of the fittest”; the emergence of Social Darwinism and the dark science of eugenics against a backdrop of industrial revolution; the American Christian backlash against evolutionism that culminated in the famous Scopes trial; and on to today’s world, where religious fundamentalists litigate for the right to teach “creation science” alongside evolution in U.S. public schools, even as the theory itself continues to evolve in new and surprising directions. Throughout, Larson trains his spotlight on the lives and careers of the scientists, explorers, and eccentrics whose collaborations and competitions have driven the theory of evolution forward. Here are portraits of Cuvier, Lamarck, Darwin, Wallace, Haeckel, Galton, Huxley, Mendel, Morgan, Fisher, Dobzhansky, Watson and Crick, W. D. Hamilton, E. O. Wilson, and many others. Celebrated as one of mankind’s crowning scientific achievements and reviled as a threat to our deepest values, the theory of evolution has utterly transformed our view of life, religion, origins, and the theory itself, and remains controversial, especially in the United States (where 90% of adults do not subscribe to the full Darwinian vision). Replete with fresh material and new insights, Evolution will educate and inform while taking readers on a fascinating journey of discovery.
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The Blue Sapphire of the Mind

Notes for a Contemplative Ecology

Author: Douglas E. Christie

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199986649

Category: Religion

Page: 488

View: 2458

"There are no unsacred places," the poet Wendell Berry has written. "There are only sacred places and desecrated places." What might it mean to behold the world with such depth and feeling that it is no longer possible to imagine it as something separate from ourselves, or to live without regard for its well-being? To understand the work of seeing things as an utterly involving moral and spiritual act? Such questions have long occupied the center of contemplative spiritual traditions. In The Blue Sapphire of the Mind, Douglas E. Christie proposes a distinctively contemplative approach to ecological thought and practice that can help restore our sense of the earth as a sacred place. Drawing on the insights of the early Christian monastics as well as the ecological writings of Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Annie Dillard, and many others, Christie argues that, at the most basic level, it is the quality of our attention to the natural world that must change if we are to learn how to live in a sustainable relationship with other living organisms and with one another. He notes that in this uniquely challenging historical moment, there is a deep and pervasive hunger for a less fragmented and more integrated way of apprehending and inhabiting the living world--and for a way of responding to the ecological crisis that expresses our deepest moral and spiritual values. Christie explores how the wisdom of ancient and modern contemplative traditions can inspire both an honest reckoning with the destructive patterns of thought and behavior that have contributed so much to our current crisis, and a greater sense of care and responsibility for all living beings. These traditions can help us cultivate the simple, spacious awareness of the enduring beauty and wholeness of the natural world that will be necessary if we are to live with greater purpose and meaning, and with less harm, to our planet.
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Strangers in the South Seas

The Idea of the Pacific in Western Thought : an Anthology

Author: Richard Lansdown

Publisher: University of Hawaii Press

ISBN: 0824829026

Category: Travel

Page: 429

View: 3308

Long before Magellan entered the Pacific in 1521 Westerners entertained ideas of undiscovered oceans, mighty continents, and paradisal islands at the far ends of the earth-such ideas would have a long life and a deep impact in both the Pacific and the West. With the discovery of Tahiti in 1767 another powerful myth was added to this collection: the noble savage. For the first time Westerners were confronted by a people who seemed happier than themselves. This revolution in the human sciences was accompanied by one in the natural sciences after Darwin's momentous visit to the Galapagos Islands. The Pacific produced other challenges for nineteenth-century researchers on race and culture, and for those intent on exporting their religions to this immense quarter of the globe. As the century wore on, the region presented opportunities and dilemmas for the imperial powers, a process was accelerated by the Pacific War between 1941 and 1945. Strangers in the South Seas recounts and illustrates this story using a wealth of primary texts. It includes generous excerpts from the work of explorers, soldiers, naturalists, anthropologists, artists, and writers--some famous, some obscure. It shows how "the Great South Sea" has been an irreplaceable "distant mirror" of the West and its intellectual obsessions since the Renaissance.
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21st Century Geography

Author: Joseph P. Stoltman

Publisher: SAGE

ISBN: 141297464X

Category: Science

Page: 883

View: 6501

This is a theoretical and practical guide on how to undertake and navigate advanced research in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
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The Global Environment

Institutions, Law, and Policy

Author: Regina S. Axelrod,Stacy D. VanDeveer

Publisher: CQ Press

ISBN: 148332298X

Category: Political Science

Page: 440

View: 9622

The new edition of Regina S. Axelrod and Stacy D. VanDeveer’s award-winning volume, The Global Environment: Institutions, Law, and Policy, reflects the latest events in global environmental politics and sustainable development while providing balanced coverage of the key institutions, issues, laws, and policies. The volume has been reorganized to better highlight global environmental institutions, major state and non-state actors, and includes an expanded set of cases such as climate change, biodiversity, hazardous chemicals, ozone layer depletion, nuclear energy and resource consumption. Based on reviewer feedback, the new edition broadens coverage of the growing global environmental agenda and explores the relationships between states, NGOs, and international organizations.
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Empire of Extinction

Russians and the North Pacific's Strange Beasts of the Sea, 1741-1867

Author: Ryan Tucker Jones

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199373809

Category: History

Page: 336

View: 4087

In the second half of the eighteenth century, the Russian Empire-already the largest on earth-expanded its dominion onto the ocean. Through a series of government-sponsored voyages of discovery and the establishment of a private fur trade, Russians crossed and re-crossed the Bering Strait and the North Pacific Ocean, establishing colonies in Kamchatka and Alaska and exporting marine mammal furs to Europe and China. In the process they radically transformed the North Pacific, causing environmental catastrophe. In one of the most hotly-contested imperial arenas of the day, the Russian empire organized a host of Siberian and Alaskan native peoples to rapaciously hunt for fur seals, sea otters, and other fur-bearing animals. The animals declined precipitously, and Steller's sea cow went extinct. This destruction captured the attention of natural historians who for the first time began to recognize the threat of species extinction. These experts drew upon Enlightenment and Romantic-era ideas about nature and imperialism but their ideas were refracted through Russian scientific culture and influenced by the region's unique ecology. Cosmopolitan scientific networks ensured the spread of their ideas throughout Europe. Heeding the advice of these scientific experts, Russian colonial governors began long-term management of marine mammal stocks and instituted some of the colonial world's most forward-thinking conservationist policies. Highlighting the importance of the North Pacific in Russian imperial and global environmental history, Empire of Extinction focuses on the development of ideas about the natural world in a crucial location far from what has been considered the center of progressive environmental attitudes.
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The Birds of Paradise

Alfred Russel Wallace, a Life

Author: William Bryant

Publisher: iUniverse

ISBN: 0595380417

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 280

View: 572

A biography of one of the world's great naturalists, with details of his explorations on the Amazon and in the Malay Archipelago. Wallace's hidden sexual life, the world of Victorian science and gay sexuality, and the struggles of a great thinker to survive in a hostile social environment are described in lavish detail.
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