Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 1631490834

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 7995

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Half-Earth proposes an achievable plan to save our imperiled biosphere: devote half the surface of the Earth to nature. In order to stave off the mass extinction of species, including our own, we must move swiftly to preserve the biodiversity of our planet, says Edward O. Wilson in his most impassioned book to date. Half-Earth argues that the situation facing us is too large to be solved piecemeal and proposes a solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem: dedicate fully half the surface of the Earth to nature. If we are to undertake such an ambitious endeavor, we first must understand just what the biosphere is, why it's essential to our survival, and the manifold threats now facing it. In doing so, Wilson describes how our species, in only a mere blink of geological time, became the architects and rulers of this epoch and outlines the consequences of this that will affect all of life, both ours and the natural world, far into the future. Half-Earth provides an enormously moving and naturalistic portrait of just what is being lost when we clip "twigs and eventually whole braches of life's family tree." In elegiac prose, Wilson documents the many ongoing extinctions that are imminent, paying tribute to creatures great and small, not the least of them the two Sumatran rhinos whom he encounters in captivity. Uniquely, Half-Earth considers not only the large animals and star species of plants but also the millions of invertebrate animals and microorganisms that, despite being overlooked, form the foundations of Earth's ecosystems. In stinging language, he avers that the biosphere does not belong to us and addresses many fallacious notions such as the idea that ongoing extinctions can be balanced out by the introduction of alien species into new ecosystems or that extinct species might be brought back through cloning. This includes a critique of the "anthropocenists," a fashionable collection of revisionist environmentalists who believe that the human species alone can be saved through engineering and technology. Despite the Earth's parlous condition, Wilson is no doomsayer, resigned to fatalism. Defying prevailing conventional wisdom, he suggests that we still have time to put aside half the Earth and identifies actual spots where Earth's biodiversity can still be reclaimed. Suffused with a profound Darwinian understanding of our planet's fragility, Half-Earth reverberates with an urgency like few other books, but it offers an attainable goal that we can strive for on behalf of all life.

Half-Earth

Our Planet's Fight for Life

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781631492525

Category: Nature

Page: 272

View: 3435

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"A brave expression of hope, a visionary blueprint for saving the planet. Stephen Greenblatt"

Half-earth

Our Planet's Fight for Life

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781631490828

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 7948

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Refusing to accept the mass extinction of species as an inevitability, the world s greatest naturalist (Jeffrey Sachs) proposes a plan to save Earth s imperiled biosphere."

The Social Conquest of Earth

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0871403307

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 9799

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New York Times Bestseller From the most celebrated heir to Darwin comes a groundbreaking book on evolution, the summa work of Edward O. Wilson's legendary career. Sparking vigorous debate in the sciences, The Social Conquest of Earth upends “the famous theory that evolution naturally encourages creatures to put family first” (Discover). Refashioning the story of human evolution, Wilson draws on his remarkable knowledge of biology and social behavior to demonstrate that group selection, not kin selection, is the premier driving force of human evolution. In a work that James D. Watson calls “a monumental exploration of the biological origins of the human condition,” Wilson explains how our innate drive to belong to a group is both a “great blessing and a terrible curse” (Smithsonian). Demonstrating that the sources of morality, religion, and the creative arts are fundamentally biological in nature, the renowned Harvard University biologist presents us with the clearest explanation ever produced as to the origin of the human condition and why it resulted in our domination of the Earth’s biosphere.

Letters to a Young Scientist

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0871407000

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 752

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Pulitzer Prize–winning biologist Edward O. Wilson imparts the wisdom of his storied career to the next generation. Edward O. Wilson has distilled sixty years of teaching into a book for students, young and old. Reflecting on his coming-of-age in the South as a Boy Scout and a lover of ants and butterflies, Wilson threads these twenty-one letters, each richly illustrated, with autobiographical anecdotes that illuminate his career—both his successes and his failures—and his motivations for becoming a biologist. At a time in human history when our survival is more than ever linked to our understanding of science, Wilson insists that success in the sciences does not depend on mathematical skill, but rather a passion for finding a problem and solving it. From the collapse of stars to the exploration of rain forests and the oceans’ depths, Wilson instills a love of the innate creativity of science and a respect for the human being’s modest place in the planet’s ecosystem in his readers.

The Origins of Creativity

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: Liveright Publishing

ISBN: 1631493191

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 6225

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An eloquent exploration of creativity, The Origins of Creativity grapples with the question of how this uniquely human expression—so central to our identity as individuals and, collectively, as a species—came about and how it has manifested itself throughout the history of our species. In this profound and lyrical book, one of our most celebrated biologists offers a sweeping examination of the relationship between the humanities and the sciences: what they offer to each other, how they can be united, and where they still fall short. Both endeavours, Edward O. Wilson reveals, have their roots in human creativity—the defining trait of our species. Reflecting on the deepest origins of language, storytelling, and art, Wilson demonstrates how creativity began not ten thousand years ago, as we have long assumed, but over one hundred thousand years ago in the Paleolithic age. Chronicling this evolution of creativity from primate ancestors to humans, The Origins of Creativity shows how the humanities, spurred on by the invention of language, have played a largely unexamined role in defining our species. And in doing so, Wilson explores what we can learn about human nature from a surprising range of creative endeavors—the instinct to create gardens, the use of metaphors and irony in speech, and the power of music and song. Our achievements in science and the humanities, Wilson notes, make us uniquely advanced as a species, but also give us the potential to be supremely dangerous, most worryingly in our abuse of the planet. The humanities in particular suffer from a kind of anthropomorphism, encumbered by a belief that we are the only species among millions that seem to matter, yet Wilson optimistically reveals how researchers will have to address this parlous situation by pushing further into the realm of science, especially fields such as evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and anthropology. With eloquence and humanity, Wilson calls for a transformational "Third Enlightenment," in which the blending of these endeavors will give us a deeper understanding of the human condition and our crucial relationship with the natural world.

The Future of Life

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0679768114

Category: Nature

Page: 229

View: 1170

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Calls for decisive action to save Earth's endangered biological heritage, profiling threatened animals and plants and offering a program based on economic, ethical, and religious ideals for preserving our biosphere.

The Meaning of Human Existence

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 087140480X

Category: Science

Page: 192

View: 5738

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National Book Award Finalist. How did humanity originate and why does a species like ours exist on this planet? Do we have a special place, even a destiny in the universe? Where are we going, and perhaps, the most difficult question of all, "Why?" In The Meaning of Human Existence, his most philosophical work to date, Pulitzer Prize–winning biologist Edward O. Wilson grapples with these and other existential questions, examining what makes human beings supremely different from all other species. Searching for meaning in what Nietzsche once called "the rainbow colors" around the outer edges of knowledge and imagination, Wilson takes his readers on a journey, in the process bridging science and philosophy to create a twenty-first-century treatise on human existence—from our earliest inception to a provocative look at what the future of mankind portends. Continuing his groundbreaking examination of our "Anthropocene Epoch," which he began with The Social Conquest of Earth, described by the New York Times as "a sweeping account of the human rise to domination of the biosphere," here Wilson posits that we, as a species, now know enough about the universe and ourselves that we can begin to approach questions about our place in the cosmos and the meaning of intelligent life in a systematic, indeed, in a testable way. Once criticized for a purely mechanistic view of human life and an overreliance on genetic predetermination, Wilson presents in The Meaning of Human Existence his most expansive and advanced theories on the sovereignty of human life, recognizing that, even though the human and the spider evolved similarly, the poet's sonnet is wholly different from the spider's web. Whether attempting to explicate "The Riddle of the Human Species," "Free Will," or "Religion"; warning of "The Collapse of Biodiversity"; or even creating a plausible "Portrait of E.T.," Wilson does indeed believe that humanity holds a special position in the known universe. The human epoch that began in biological evolution and passed into pre-, then recorded, history is now more than ever before in our hands. Yet alarmed that we are about to abandon natural selection by redesigning biology and human nature as we wish them, Wilson soberly concludes that advances in science and technology bring us our greatest moral dilemma since God stayed the hand of Abraham.

Naturalist

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: Island Press

ISBN: 1597269360

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 416

View: 8532

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Edward O. Wilson -- University Professor at Harvard, winner of two Pulitzer prizes, eloquent champion of biodiversity -- is arguably one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. His career represents both a blueprint and a challenge to those who seek to explore the frontiers of scientific understanding. Yet, until now, little has been told of his life and of the important events that have shaped his thought.In Naturalist, Wilson describes for the first time both his growth as a scientist and the evolution of the science he has helped define. He traces the trajectory of his life -- from a childhood spent exploring the Gulf Coast of Alabama and Florida to life as a tenured professor at Harvard -- detailing how his youthful fascination with nature blossomed into a lifelong calling. He recounts with drama and wit the adventures of his days as a student at the University of Alabama and his four decades at Harvard University, where he has achieved renown as both teacher and researcher.As the narrative of Wilson's life unfolds, the reader is treated to an inside look at the origin and development of ideas that guide today's biological research. Theories that are now widely accepted in the scientific world were once untested hypotheses emerging from one mans's broad-gauged studies. Throughout Naturalist, we see Wilson's mind and energies constantly striving to help establish many of the central principles of the field of evolutionary biology.The story of Wilson's life provides fascinating insights into the making of a scientist, and a valuable look at some of the most thought-provoking ideas of our time.

A Window on Eternity

A Biologist’s Walk Through Gorongosa National Park

Author: Edward O., Wilson

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1476747415

Category: Nature

Page: 176

View: 8671

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Featuring beautiful full-color photographs by two of the world's best wildlife photographers, a world-renowned biologist and Pulitzer Prize-winner tells the extraordinary story of how Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique was destroyed, restored and continues to evolve.

The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393079732

Category: Science

Page: 192

View: 1753

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The book that launched a movement: “Wilson speaks with a humane eloquence which calls to us all” (Oliver Sacks). Called “one of the greatest men alive” by The Times of London, E. O. Wilson proposes an historic partnership between scientists and religious leaders to preserve Earth’s rapidly vanishing biodiversity.

Nature Revealed

Selected Writings, 1949-2006

Author: Edward O. Wilson,Honorary Curator in Entomology and University Research Professor Emeritus Edward O Wilson

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 9780801883293

Category: Science

Page: 719

View: 5613

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Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward O. Wilson is one of the leading biologists and philosophical thinkers of our time. In this compelling collection, Wilson's observations range from the tiny glands of ants to the nature of the living universe. Many of the pieces are considered landmarks in evolutionary biology, ecology, and behavioral biology. Wilson explores topics as diverse as slavery in ants, the genetic basis of societal structure, the discovery of the taxon cycle, the original formulation of the theory of island biogeography, a critique of subspecies as a unit of classification, and the conservation of life's diversity. Each article is presented in its original form, dating from Wilson's first published article in 1949 to his most recent exploration of the natural world. Preceding each piece is a brief essay by Wilson that explains the context in which the article was written and provides insights into the scientist himself and the debates of the time. This collection enables us to share Wilson's various vantage points and to view the complexities of nature through his eyes. Wilson aficionados, along with readers discovering his work for the first time, will find in this collection a world of beauty, complexity, and challenge.

Earth in Human Hands

Shaping Our Planet's Future

Author: David Grinspoon

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

ISBN: 1455589136

Category: Science

Page: 544

View: 5848

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For the first time in Earth's history, our planet is experiencing a confluence of rapidly accelerating changes prompted by one species: humans. Climate change is only the most visible of the modifications we've made--up until this point, inadvertently--to the planet. And our current behavior threatens not only our own future but that of countless other creatures. By comparing Earth's story to those of other planets, astrobiologist David Grinspoon shows what a strange and novel development it is for a species to evolve to build machines, and ultimately, global societies with world-shaping influence. Without minimizing the challenges of the next century, Grinspoon suggests that our present moment is not only one of peril, but also great potential, especially when viewed from a 10,000-year perspective. Our species has surmounted the threat of extinction before, thanks to our innate ingenuity and ability to adapt, and there's every reason to believe we can do so again. Our challenge now is to awaken to our role as a force of planetary change, and to grow into this task. We must become graceful planetary engineers, conscious shapers of our environment and caretakers of Earth's biosphere. This is a perspective that begs us to ask not just what future do we want to avoid, but what do we seek to build? What kind of world do we want? Are humans the worst thing or the best thing to ever happen to our planet? Today we stand at a pivotal juncture, and the answer will depend on the choices we make.

Biodiversity

Author: Edward O. Wilson,Frances M. Peter

Publisher: National Academies

ISBN: N.A

Category: Biodiversity

Page: 521

View: 4138

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This book calls attention to a most urgent global problem: the rapidly accelerating loss of plant and animal species to increasing human population pressure and the demands of economic development. Biodiversity creates a systematic framework for analyzing

Cosmosapiens: Human Evolution from the Origin of the Universe

Author: John Hands

Publisher: The Overlook Press

ISBN: 146831324X

Category: Science

Page: 704

View: 978

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The book that transforms our understanding of what we are and where we came from. Specialist scientific fields are developing at incredibly swift speeds, but what can they really tell us about how the universe began and how we humans evolved to play such a dominant role on Earth? John Hands’s extraordinarily ambitious quest is to bring together this scientific knowledge and evaluate without bias or preconception all the theories and evidence about the origin and evolution of matter, life, consciousness, and humankind. This astonishing book provides the most comprehensive account yet of current ideas such as cosmic inflation, dark energy, the selfish gene, and neurogenetic determinism. In the clearest possible prose it differentiates the firmly established from the speculative and examines the claims of various fields such as string theory to approach a unified theory of everything. In doing so it challenges the orthodox consensus in those branches of cosmology, biology, and neuroscience that have ossified into dogma. Its striking analysis reveals underlying patterns of cooperation, complexification, and convergence that lead to the unique emergence in humans of a self-reflective consciousness that enables us to determine our future evolution. This groundbreaking book is destined to become a classic of scientific thinking. (67 black and white illustrations)

Darwin's Backyard: How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory

Author: James T. Costa

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393249158

Category: Science

Page: 416

View: 5229

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Darwin’s Backyard goes beyond the portrait of Charles Darwin as a brilliant thinker to concentrate on him as a nimble experimenter delving into some of evolution’s great mysteries. James T. Costa takes readers on a journey from Darwin’s childhood through his voyage on the HMS Beagle where his ideas on evolution began. We then follow Darwin to Down House, his bustling home of forty years, where he kept porcupine quills at his desk to dissect barnacles, maintained a flock of sixteen pigeon breeds in the dovecote, and cultivated climbing plants in the study, and to Bournemouth, where on one memorable family vacation he fed carnivorous plants in the soup dishes. Using his garden and greenhouse, the surrounding meadows and woodlands, and even taking over the cellar, study, and hallways of his home-turned-field-station, Darwin tested ideas of his landmark theory of evolution with an astonishing array of hands-on experiments that could be done on the fly, without specialized equipment. He engaged naturalists, friends, neighbors, family servants, and even his children, nieces, nephews, and cousins as assistants in these experiments, which involved everything from chasing bees and tempting fish to eat seeds to serenading earthworms. From the experiments’ results, he plumbed the laws of nature and evidence for the revolutionary arguments of On the Origin of Species and his other watershed works. Beyond Darwin at work, we accompany him against the backdrop of his enduring marriage, chronic illness, grief at the loss of three children, and joy in scientific revelation. This unique glimpse of Darwin’s life introduces us to an enthusiastic correspondent, crowd-sourcer, family man, and, most of all, an incorrigible observer and experimenter. Includes directions for eighteen hands-on experiments, for home, school, yard, or garden.

The Great Texas Wind Rush

How George Bush, Ann Richards, and a Bunch of Tinkerers Helped the Oil and Gas State Win the Race to Wind Power

Author: Kate Galbraith,Asher Price

Publisher: University of Texas Press

ISBN: 0292735839

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 199

View: 2359

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In the late 1990s, West Texas was full of rundown towns and pumpjacks, aging reminders of the oil rush of an earlier era. Today, the towns are thriving as 300-foot-tall wind turbines tower above those pumpjacks. Wind energy has become Texas’s latest boom, with the Lone Star State now leading the nation. How did this dramatic transformation happen in a place that fights federal environmental policies at every turn? In The Great Texas Wind Rush, environmental reporters Kate Galbraith and Asher Price tell the compelling story of a group of unlikely dreamers and innovators, politicos and profiteers. The tale spans a generation and more, and it begins with the early wind pioneers, precocious idealists who saw opportunity after the 1970s oil crisis. Operating in an economy accustomed to exploiting natural resources and always looking for the next big thing, their ideas eventually led to surprising partnerships between entrepreneurs and environmentalists, as everyone from Enron executives to T. Boone Pickens, as well as Ann Richards, George W. Bush and Rick Perry, ended up backing the new technology. In this down-to-earth account, the authors explain the policies and science that propelled the “windcatters” to reap the great harvest of Texas wind. They also explore what the future holds for this relentless resource that is changing the face of Texas energy.

Eaarth

Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

Author: Bill McKibben,Schumann Distinguished Scholar Bill McKibben

Publisher: Vintage Books Canada

ISBN: 0307399192

Category: Climatic changes

Page: 288

View: 1409

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The bestselling author of Deep Economy shows that we're living on a fundamentally altered planet -- and opens our eyes to the kind of change we'll need in order to make our civilization endure. Twenty years ago, with The End of Nature, Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about global warming. Those warnings went mostly unheeded; now, he insists, we need to acknowledge that we've waited too long, and that massive change is not only unavoidable but already under way. Our old familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding, and burning in ways that no human has ever seen. We've created, in very short order, a new planet, still recognizable but fundamentally different. We may as well call it Eaarth. That new planet is filled with new binds and traps. A changing world costs large sums to defend -- think of the money that went to repair New Orleans, or the trillions of dollars it will take to transform our energy systems. But the endless economic growth that could underwrite such largesse depends on the stable planet we've managed to damage and degrade. We can't rely on old habits any longer. Our hope depends, McKibben argues, on scaling back -- on building the kind of societies and economies that can hunker down, concentrate on essentials, and create the type of community (in the neighborhood, but also on the Internet) that will allow us to weather trouble on an unprecedented scale. Change -- fundamental change -- is our best hope on a planet suddenly and violently out of balance. From the Hardcover edition.

Inheritors of the Earth

How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction

Author: Chris D. Thomas

Publisher: PublicAffairs

ISBN: 1610397282

Category: Nature

Page: 320

View: 2644

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Human activity has irreversibly changed the natural environment. But the news isn't all bad. It's accepted wisdom today that human beings have permanently damaged the natural world, causing extinction, deforestation, pollution, and of course climate change. But in Inheritors of the Earth, biologist Chris Thomas shows that this obscures a more hopeful truth--we're also helping nature grow and change. Human cities and mass agriculture have created new places for enterprising animals and plants to live, and our activities have stimulated evolutionary change in virtually every population of living species. Most remarkably, Thomas shows, humans may well have raised the rate at which new species are formed to the highest level in the history of our planet. Drawing on the success stories of diverse species, from the ochre-colored comma butterfly to the New Zealand pukeko, Thomas overturns the accepted story of declining biodiversity on Earth. In so doing, he questions why we resist new forms of life, and why we see ourselves as unnatural. Ultimately, he suggests that if life on Earth can recover from the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, it can survive the onslaughts of the technological age. This eye-opening book is a profound reexamination of the relationship between humanity and the natural world.

To You We Shall Return

Lessons about Our Planet from the Lakota

Author: Joseph Marshall

Publisher: Sterling Publishing (NY)

ISBN: 9781402736087

Category: Nature

Page: 184

View: 3709

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Combines personal anecdotes, history, and Lakota tales to present a meditation on mankind's connection to the land and our need to love and respect the Earth's resources.