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The eminent Harvard naturalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Wilson marshals all the prodigious powers of his intellect and imagination in this impassioned call to ensure the future of life. Opening with an imagined conversation with Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond, he writes that he has come "to explain to you, and in reality to others and not least to myself, what has happened to the world we both have loved." Based on a love affair with the natural world that spans 70 years, Wilson combines lyrical descriptions with dire warnings and remarkable stories of flora and fauna on the edge of extinction with hard economics. How many species are we really losing? Is environmentalism truly contrary to economic development? And how can we save the planet? Wilson has penned an eloquent plea for the need for a global land ethic and offers the strategies necessary to ensure life on earth based on foresight, moral courage, and the best tools that science and technology can provide. -- Lesley Reed
Legendary Harvard biologist Wilson (On Human Nature; The Ants; etc.) founded sociobiology, the controversial branch of evolutionary biology, and won the Pulitzer Prize twice. This volume, his manifesto to the public at large, is a meditation on the splendor of our biosphere and the dangers we pose to it. In graceful, expressive and vigorous prose, Wilson argues that the challenge of the new century will be "to raise the poor to a decent standard of living worldwide while preserving as much of the rest of life as possible." For as America consumes and the Third World tries to keep up, we lose biological diversity at an alarming rate. But the "trajectory" of species loss depends on human choice. If current levels of consumption continue, half the planet's remaining species will be gone by mid-century. Wilson argues that the "great dilemma of environmental reasoning" stems from the conflict between environmentalism and economics, between long-term and short-term values. Conservation, he writes, is necessary for our long-term health and prosperity. Loss of biodiversity translates into economic losses to agriculture, medicine and the biotech industries. But the "bottleneck" of overpopulation and overconsumption can be safely navigated: adequate resources exist, and in the end, success or failure depends upon an ethical decision. Global conservation will succeed or fail depending on the cooperation between government, science and the private sector, and on the interplay of biology, economics and diplomacy. "A civilization able to envision God and to embark on the colonization of space," Wilson concludes, "will surely find the way to save the integrity of this planet and the magnificent life it harbors."
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.See all Product Description
Wilson treats social science topics as if they are natural science topics, an effort which he admits to, and which he likens to the molecular biologist attempted take-over of... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Tyler Bateman
The reader, Ed Begley, Jr., reads this book clearly and with good phrasing. The abridging is not heavy.
Only one complaint: 6 CDs with NO TRACK INDEX! Read more
Although its quite clearly a thoughtful analysis, I could not see Wilson's recommendations as realistic. Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2004 by CDaniels
The title The Future of Life is a good book because it makes predictions of the future based on what is happening now. Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2004
Great work ! In this book, E.O.Wilson takes us through a whirlwind tour of what/why/how of biodiversity preservation -- "what is biodiversity and how we humans are... Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2004 by chaitanya pullela
Unfortunately this book was a little over my head. The book started off with a good point on extinction but then started to get into biological terms that made me lose my... Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2004 by M. Karakus
I found this book fascinating and scary. I also got bogged down in some of the minutia(sp?) of the biology. Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2004 by Tim Cannata
Whether we like informational books or not, sometimes we need to read them so we're aware of what's going on in the world. Read morePublished on Dec 12 2003 by Kent
I have more often than not been disappointed by books which deal with the topic(s) of an economically, biologically, and socially sustainable future. Read morePublished on Sept. 6 2003 by Govindan Nair