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Half-Earth: Our Planets Fight for Life Hardcover – Mar 22 2016

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Liveright (March 22 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1631490826
  • ISBN-13: 978-1631490828
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.5 x 24.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 540 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #50,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


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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Format: Kindle Edition
Edward O. Wilson is angry, and so is his book. No one is listening and things have gotten unbelievably worse. There’s no evidence to provide any real hope. He describes future paleontologists easily identifying the sedimentary layers of our era by the amount of chemicals and plastics in the soil strata, by the fragments of machines and weapons everywhere, and the lack of varied species identified. This is our legacy.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Noted evolutionary biologist Edward O. Wilson has written a polemic, but a polemic based on his life-long work in ant systematics and evolutionary ecology, that offers some glimmer of hope. This is a surprisingly terse book from Wilson, but one of sufficient length that it may serve as a rallying call to anyone who has some interest in conservation biology - which he should be viewed as its "godfather" - and a keen desire to preserve much of Earth's biodiversity for future generations of humanity. Divided into three sections, Wilson seeks to enlighten the reader on the nature of the problem, how this relates to Earth's current biodiversity, and then, a general overview on what should be done to preserve Earth's biodiversity. In the first section "Part I: The Problem", Wilson describes how and why current biodiversity losses should be seen as a "Sixth Extinction", equivalent in its severity with the five major mass extinctions known from the Phanerozoic Eon (approximately the last 543 million years of Earth's history). Those familiar with Elizabeth Kolbert's "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural Hisotry" might regard Wilson's descriptive prose, repetitive, in its bleak picture of current biodiversity loss, but it is a picture well-informed by Wilson's own decades-long research in conservation biology and systematic zoology, especially of ants. In "Part II: The Real Living World", Wilson's enthusiastic eloquence is at its finest, as he describes vividly, ecosystems in the deepest parts of the world's oceans and even in the Earth's crust that are largely unknown to all, but the most informed readers familiar with relevant aspects of ecology, molecular biology and geology.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book through Amazon. It's wonderful. Can't recommend it highly enough. Nothing else to say, except why does Amazon leave the apostrophe out of the title, listing it as "OUR PLANETS (sic) FIGHT FOR LIFE," rather than "our PLANET'S.."? Don't they realize that literature freaks come to their page, and people like that react badly to title and grammar being mangled?
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Format: Hardcover

“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.
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