Half-Earth: Our Planets Fight for Life Hardcover – Mar 22 2016
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Edward O. Wilson possesses a rare, almost unique, combination of immense scientific knowledge and deep humane intelligence. Looking around him at the beloved natural world he has done so much to understand and taking the measure of the massive damage to it caused by human stupidity and greed, he has every reason to succumb to despair. But Half-Earth is not a bitter jeremiad. It is a brave expression of hope, a visionary blueprint for saving the planet. — Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Swerve
Wilson speaks with a humane eloquence which calls to us all. — Oliver Sacks
If humankind finds a way to live in peace together, and in harmony with nature, Wilson will have played a unique role in that deliverance. — Jeffrey Sachs
About the Author
Edward O. Wilson is widely recognized as one of the world's preeminent biologists and naturalists. The author of more than twenty books, including The Creation, The Social Conquest of Earth, The Meaning of Human Existence, and Letters to a Young Scientist, Wilson is a professor emeritus at Harvard University. The winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, he lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.
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As I have written elsewhere, it took the Earth four billion years to reach the Holocene, an era where climate, ice, water and life achieved a state of pleasant equilibrium, with jet streams and ocean currents arranged in a virtuous circle. In just the last 150 years, Homo sapiens has upset the entire system, killing off the Holocene in favor of the Anthropocene, in which one invasive species rules, and any other species that does not add to its immediate benefit can be eliminated. And if even if it does add to its benefit, if it hasn’t been domesticated, it can still face extinction. We are clear-cutting the biosphere.
The book is a relentless, hardhitting – make that pounding – indictment of our custodianship. We are far worse than negligent; we are malevolent. We think it does no harm to remove a species from its environs – and its role. The way it really works, Wilson says, is there are no species living on the periphery; every species depends on other species or is critical to their survival. Our total disregard of this simple rule causes unpredictable disaster.
Wilson has been a naturalist all his long life, and it pains him to find things in this state. His childlike appreciation comes through, often overtaking his anger with the wonder of various species and how they live and contribute so differently.Read more ›
“I’ve written [this book] as the last of a trilogy that describes how our species became the architects and rulers of the [new] ‘Antropocene’ epoch [the time of human alteration of the entire global environment], bringing consequences that will affect all of life, both ours and that of the natural world, far into the geological future.”
The above comes from this fascinating, well-written book by E. O. Wilson. He is a biologist (his specialty is the study of ants), researcher (especially in biodiversity or biological diversity), theorist (he proposed the biophilia hypothesis: an instinctive bond exists between humans and other living systems), naturalist (conservationist) and a best-selling author (of more than twenty books).
Wilson is now Professor Emeritus in Entomology (the study of insects) at Harvard University and a lecturer at Duke University. He has won numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize (twice).
Simply put, this book is about nature. Wilson is deeply concerned about it. He shares this concern with the reader by dividing his book into three logical parts: first he identifies “THE PROBLEM,” then he tells us about “THE REAL LIVING WORLD,” and finally he proposes “THE SOLUTION” to the problem that is affecting our living world.
In the first part (nine chapters) he tells us that the wide variety of life-forms on our planet remains unknown to science. The species discovered so far that can be studied well-enough to assess (namely, animals and flowering plants) are declining in number at an increasing rate.
There were three chapters in this part that I found particularly interesting: “Why extinction is accelerating,” “The impact of climate change: land, sea, and air,” and “The most dangerous worldview.Read more ›
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