This is a summary of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History...Summarized by J.J. Holt
This is a summary of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History...Summarized by J.J. Holt
A major book about the future of the world, blending natural history, field reporting and the history of ideas and into a powerful account of the mass extinction happening today
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.
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
Inside this Instaread of The Sixth Extinction:* Overview of the book* Important People* Key Takeaways* Analysis of Key Takeaways
Long known for her insightful and thought-provoking political journalism, author Elizabeth Kolbert now tackles the controversial and increasingly urgent subject of global warming. In what began as groundbreaking three-part series in the New Yorker, for which she won a National Magazine Award in 2006, Kolbert cuts through the competing rhetoric and political agendas to elucidate for Americans what is really going on with the global environment and asks what, if anything, can be done to save our planet. Now updated and with a new afterword, Field Notes from a Catastrophe is the book to read on the defining issue and greatest challenge of our times. Elizabeth Kolbert was a reporter for the New York Times for fourteen years before becoming a staff writer covering politics for the New Yorker. She and her husband, John Kleiner, have three sons. They live in Williamstown, MA. Praise for Field Notes from a Catastrophe: "[A] small miracle of concision, gaining by its brevity and its plan of attack a rhetorical power that elucidates, rises to meet and deftly answers the historic crisis in which we find ourselves." -Los Angeles Times "Important...Precise and measured. Visiting an Inupiat community in Alaska, a butterfly expert in England, or a midlevel Bush administration official in Washington, D.C., [Kolbert] lets readers connect the dots to form a frightening (and still avoidable) vision of our future...[Grade:] A." -Entertainment Weekly "If you have time this year for just one book on science, nature or the environment, this should be it."-San Diego Union-Tribune "Passionate...well-researched."-New York Times Book Review
Could extinct species, like mammoths and passenger pigeons, be brought back to life? The science says yes. In How to Clone a Mammoth, Beth Shapiro, evolutionary biologist and pioneer in "ancient DNA" research, walks readers through the astonishing and controversial process of de-extinction. From deciding which species should be restored, to sequencing their genomes, to anticipating how revived populations might be overseen in the wild, Shapiro vividly explores the extraordinary cutting-edge science that is being used--today--to resurrect the past. Journeying to far-flung Siberian locales in search of ice age bones and delving into her own research--as well as those of fellow experts such as Svante Paabo, George Church, and Craig Venter--Shapiro considers de-extinction's practical benefits and ethical challenges. Would de-extinction change the way we live? Is this really cloning? What are the costs and risks? And what is the ultimate goal? Using DNA collected from remains as a genetic blueprint, scientists aim to engineer extinct traits--traits that evolved by natural selection over thousands of years--into living organisms. But rather than viewing de-extinction as a way to restore one particular species, Shapiro argues that the overarching goal should be the revitalization and stabilization of contemporary ecosystems. For example, elephants with genes modified to express mammoth traits could expand into the Arctic, re-establishing lost productivity to the tundra ecosystem. Looking at the very real and compelling science behind an idea once seen as science fiction, How to Clone a Mammoth demonstrates how de-extinction will redefine conservation's future.
Over the last 530 million years there have been five mass extinctions of species-the last,65 million years ago,when the dinosaurs disappeared.The biodiversity of our planet may now be on the verge,Leakey and Lewin believe,of a sixth extinction,caused this time by the relentless expansion and limitless appetites of human beings. The new science of 'biodiversity',presented clearly and cogently by Leakey and Lewin,combines insights from palaeontology,biology,ecology and even economics.It integrates the role of Darwenian evolution with the increasingly recognised importance of external and unpredictable forces.
So much to read, so little time? This brief overview of The Sixth Extinction tells you what you need to know—before or after you read Elizabeth Kolbert’s book. Crafted and edited with care, Worth Books set the standard for quality and give you the tools you need to be a well-informed reader. This short summary and analysis of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert includes: Historical context Chapter-by-chapter overviews Detailed timeline of key events Important quotes Fascinating trivia Glossary of terms Supporting material to enhance your understanding of the original work About The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert: Our planet has endured five events of mass extinction, from centuries of catastrophic heating and cooling to the asteroid that fell to earth and ended the Cretaceous Period. We are currently facing the sixth extinction, and this time the human species is to blame. Elizabeth Kolbert travels the world and meets with scientists who are grappling with the ecological outcomes of human activity. Her Pulitzer Prize–winning modern science classic tells the stories of thirteen different species that have already disappeared or are on the brink of extinction as a result of human activity. A captivating blend of research and historical anecdotes enlightens readers about the unintentional consequences of our behaviors, from climate change and global warming to invasive species and overexploitation. The summary and analysis in this ebook are intended to complement your reading experience and bring you closer to a great work of nonfiction.
An Iraq War vet's bracing, visionary response to the challenge posed by global warming and his hope in the humanities.
Humanity can make short work of the oceans’ creatures. In 1741, hungry explorers discovered herds of Steller’s sea cow in the Bering Strait, and in less than thirty years, the amiable beast had been harpooned into extinction. It’s a classic story, but a key fact is often omitted. Bering Island was the last redoubt of a species that had been decimated by hunting and habitat loss years before the explorers set sail. As Callum M. Roberts reveals in The Unnatural History of the Sea, the oceans’ bounty didn’t disappear overnight. While today’s fishing industry is ruthlessly efficient, intense exploitation began not in the modern era, or even with the dawn of industrialization, but in the eleventh century in medieval Europe. Roberts explores this long and colorful history of commercial fishing, taking readers around the world and through the centuries to witness the transformation of the seas. Drawing on firsthand accounts of early explorers, pirates, merchants, fishers, and travelers, the book recreates the oceans of the past: waters teeming with whales, sea lions, sea otters, turtles, and giant fish. The abundance of marine life described by fifteenth century seafarers is almost unimaginable today, but Roberts both brings it alive and artfully traces its depletion. Collapsing fisheries, he shows, are simply the latest chapter in a long history of unfettered commercialization of the seas. The story does not end with an empty ocean. Instead, Roberts describes how we might restore the splendor and prosperity of the seas through smarter management of our resources and some simple restraint. From the coasts of Florida to New Zealand, marine reserves have fostered spectacular recovery of plants and animals to levels not seen in a century. They prove that history need not repeat itself: we can leave the oceans richer than we found them.
An environmental engineer turned ecology writer relates the history of our waterways and her own growing understanding of why our waterways continue to be polluted—and what needs to be done to save this essential natural resourse.Water: A Natural History takes us back to the diaries of the first Western explorers; it moves from the reservoir to the modern toliet, from the grasslands of the Midwest to the Everglades of Florida, throught the guts of a wastewater treatment plant and out to the waterways again. It shows how human-engineered dams, canals and farms replaces nature’s beaver dams, prairie dog tunnels, and buffalo wallows. Step by step, Outwater makes clear what should have always been obvious: while engineering can depollute water, only ecologically interacting systems can create healthy waterways.Important reading for students of environmental studies, the heart of this history is a vision of our land and waterways as they once were, and a plan that can restore them to their former glory: a land of living streams, public lands with hundreds of millions of beaver-built wetlands, prairie dog towns that increase the amount of rainfall that percolates to the groundwater, and forests that feed their fallen trees to the sea.
A Science Friday and Smithsonian Magazine Best Science Book of the Year A brilliant young environmental journalist argues that we must innovate and adapt to save planet Earth in this enlightening “trip around the world to meet people working out new ways for humanity to live as well as survive” (The New York Times Book Review). With the historical perspective of The Song of the Dodo and the urgency of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, The Unnatural World chronicles a disparate band of unlikely heroes: an effervescent mad scientist who would fertilize the seas; a pigeon obsessive bent on bringing back the extinct; a low-level government functionary in China doing his best to clean up his city, and more. These scientists, billionaires, and ordinary people are all working toward saving the best home humanity is ever likely to have. What is the threat? It is us. In a time when a species dies out every ten minutes, when summers are getting hotter, winters colder, and oceans higher, some people still deny mankind’s effect on the Earth. But all of our impacts on the planet have ushered in what qualifies as a new geologic epoch, thanks to global warming, mass extinction, and such technologies as nuclear weapons or plastics. “A futurist ray of hope amid the usual denial and despair” (Esquire), The Unnatural World examines the world we have created and analyzes the glimmers of light emerging from the efforts of incredible individuals seeking to change our future. Instead of a world without us, this history of the future shows how to become good gardeners, helping people thrive along with an abundance of plants, animals, all the exuberant profusion of life on Earth—a better world with us. The current era of humans need not be the end of the world—and “Biello describes both what we have done to alter our planet and what we should do in the future to ensure its habitability” (Scientific American).
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 2011
Defining our true role in shaping the nature around us, an award-winning ecology writer searches for places untouched by human hands and discovers, along the way, that the environmental crisis we face today has been well under way for hundreds of years. 20,000 first printing.