E.O Wilson, in agreement with most biologists and natural scientists, points out again what is becoming clear: humanity is playing a global endgame. Wilson believes that humans will realize that, for the survival of humanity, the evolutionary principle of species survival will force a change of humanity's attitude from individualism to community--the entire planetary biome being the community. Species whose individual members cooperate thrive; others do not. Present technology favors a smaller ecological footprint with an improved lifestyle--we don't have to continue to savage our common home to live well. Basic to life processes is biodiversity; Wilson identifies places on Earth where biodiversity is still exuberant. These special places include Gorgongosa National Park in Mozambique (distant and exotic) and the long-leaf pine savannas of the American South (local and familiar). If half of Earth's surface is set aside, valued and cherished, life on Earth, including mankind, can continue to thrive. HALF EARTH: Our Planet's Fight for Life is hopeful, imperative and delightful to read.
Working living systems follow certain fundamental rules, from the wildlife of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique to fish populations in Lake Mendoza in Wisconsin to viral and bacterial diseases in humans. Trophic cascades and critical set points determine whether an ecosystem is balanced or out of control. Understanding how these processes work from the scale of the elephant to that of a virus provides techniques to promote recovery of damaged ecological systems and control or eradicate diseases in humans. The Serengeti Rules by Professor Sean Carroll is not only a easy and fascinating read; a good story in itself, but provides guidelines that offer great hope for Ecosystem Earth.
WHY BIRDS SING: a journey into the mystery of bird song is about the mystery of bird song and its astonishing richness. David Rothenberg approaches the mystery from the viewpoint of biological science, musicology, aesthetics, and, seemingly unscientifically, from the pleasure that singing seems to give to birds. Rothenberg is a professor of philosophy at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and also a composer and jazz clarinetist who jams with his subjects. The book is a poetic and technical narrative which leaves you wondering, "Why, indeed, do birds sing--is it because of the pleasure that virtuosity gives them?
Thousand Mile Song by David Rothenberg comes with a 60 minute CD of whale songs, some accompanied by the author on bass clarinet. The whale vocalizations alone are well worth the price of the book. Your probably have never heard sounds like these. David Rothenberg, a professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, has recorded and played music with whales worldwide. Read about the "sea canaries) (belugas), humpbacks, orcas, dolphins and sperm whales. Cetaceans live in an environment entirely different from terrestrial animals and can communicate vast distances. Some have larger brains than humans. We know very little about these creatures; they are essentially extraterrestrial beautiful singers. Read about and jam with the largest creatures on our planet.
For tens of thousands of years humans lived in small hunter-gatherer bands. Suddenly, in evolutionary times, everything changed abruptly and our traditional way of life was replaced by modern societies. In The World Until Yesterday Diamond details his personal experiences as an anthropologist and geographical scientist among Papua New Guinea highlanders, Inuits, the San and others. He compares the benefits and deficits of the "traditional" way of life of our ancestors with the deficits and benefits of modern urban society. We moderns often do not come off so well, especially with regard to chronic disease, with the stone age hunter gatherers. Diamond offers some suggestions as how we "moderns" could improve our societies and lifestyles by adopting some of the practices of "primitive" people.
"Ear opening" is the way to describe David Rothenberg's book. Take a pleasant and thought-provoking tour through a blizzard of 17-year cicadas or an acoustical nocturnal walk accompanied by an orchestra of crickets and you probably will never regard the noises insects make in the same way. Rothenberg is a professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and a jazz clarinetist; a musicologist. Bug Music is somewhat technical in a conversational tone. You have never read a book about nature like it.
The Power of Trees: Gretchen C. Daily & Charles J. Katz, Jr.:
Trees seem so still;
Some trees can talk to one another;
Trees depend on intimate relaationships;
Trees became trees several times over;
Heartwood is ...as strong as steel;
The tree keeps growimg;
Trees' life processes might possibly go on forever;
Trees live through sound;
Trees define our lives.
Dharma Gaia contains essays on the environment by H.H. the Dalai Lama, Joanna Macy, Joan Halifax, Gary Snyder, Rick Fields, Thich Nhat Hanh and many others, who, from the Buddhist perspective of ahimsa or harmlessness, call for a greening of human activity as a religious practice or sacred obligation. The collection concludes with A Boddhisattva's Guide to Ecological Activism. The essays in this book apply to all faiths and spiritual practices and call upon us to take action for a transcendental purpose.
Seeing Trees is a georgeous book! Mary Ross Hugo's descriptions of what to look for in those trees you visit every day willl open your eyes and minds to wonders that you have never seen before (even though they have literally been right before your nose.) Robert Llewellyn's detailed macrophotos are exquisite works of art. The book is worth the purchase price for the beautiful pictures alone. Even lifelong backyard botanists and treehuggers can learn a great deal from this book. Read it and you will never see a tree in the same way as you did before.
The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of the Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv provides answers to the problem presented in his previous book (Last Child in the Woods). Humans are detached and estranged from our moorings--adrift in a virtual world and heading toward further trouble. The Nature Principle addresses the nature-deficit disorder that infests modern society, shows us how to reconnect to the natural factors which support us and how we can live happily on planet Earth without periling our descendants.
Tree: A Life Story is the life history of a specific Douglas Fir tree. You don't have to be a tree hugger to learn from and enjoy Tree.
The World Without Us is the Book of Revelations writ large for the 21st century. Alan Weisman has listed the crises facing planet Earth and what would happen if humankind would disappear from Earth altogether--the built environment without continual maintenance would collapse (thinkOzymandias); Nature would quickly reclaim its original domain; some species would thrive but those dependent on humans would die off; some damaged environments would recover but others would not. This book is a catalog of disaster and opportunity--a must-read for anyone concerned about the future of civilization, not to mention planet Earth.
The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning by James Lovelock is a reluctant jeremiad by a 90+ year old environmental systems scientist. Lovelock warns that there is no returning to the formerly lush planet Earth, even as it was in the 1950s. An irreversible course of events has been set in motion by humans that will lead to a planet with a smaller habitable area, less agricultural productivity; a hotter, drier planet with depleted resources. To survive as a species, humans must become less acquisitive, more communal, less consumptive and less aggressive. Natural forces will reduce human numbers; whether humans will evolve to a higher state and learn to live within nature’s limits or whether natural processes will replace humans with another dominant species remains to be seen.
Bill McKibben insists that humanity has waited too long to avert major man-made changes to Planet Earth and now massive changes are now unavoidable and already under way. Mankind has created a new planet; we might as well rename it Eaarth. The old, abundant Planet Earth is gone forever and irretrievable. Humanity's hope depends on concentrating on essentials, cooperating, decreasing economy to a scale that Eaarth can support and prepare, as a society, to endure the coming unprecedented trouble. (also available as an audiobook on CD)
This classic book, first published in 1903, breathes life and wonder into a dry and unforgiving landscape, the desert and foothill lands between Death Valley and the High Sierras. Dry and seemingly empty, this collection of essays answers the question: "If one is inclined to wonder at first how so many dwellers came to be in the loneliest land that ever came out of God's hands, what they do there and why stay, on does not wonder so much after having lived there." For those who love nature, this classic is a "must read."
The Cloudspotter's Guide is a delightful journey through the science, history, and culture of clouds. Written by Gavin Preton-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, The book will make the reader appreciative of clouds. "That's an altocumulus," you can cry out with authority after reading the book. The sky and its clouds provide an ever-accessible entertainment for those who care to look.
In A Sense of Wonder, Rachel Carson describe a child's exploration of the natural world and the attachment to the environment that this engenders. InLast Child in the Woods Richard Louv emphasizes the disconnect of children from nature today and the consequences that this unnatural separation has for the child and, ultimately, for the world. Louv calls this disconnect "nature-deficit disorder," discusses it in detail and offers solutions to this critical problem, as well as a guide with 100 practical actions we can take. This is an important book: Stephen Jay Gould said, "What you do not love, you will not protect;" Chief Seattle said, "When you separate yourselves from the beasts, you will die of a great loneliness."
NATURAL GRACE: The Charm, Wonder & Lesson of Pacific Northwest animals and Plants is a natural history gem. Natural Grace compares well with Travels in Alaska by John Muir and Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez-- in other words, an excellent book. William Dietrich describes in beautiful detail the life forms and natural features of the Pacific Northwest and connects us all to it as a part of the grand biota and the cosmic scheme.
The Universe in a Single Atom: the convergence of science and spirituality by Tenzin Gyatso, the XIV Dalai Lama, is a gentle but insistent call for compassion in our torn and conflicted world. The Dalai Lama discusses the implications of the discoveries in the major sciences, including the natural and biological sciences to the well-being of all living creatures on planet Earth. The book concludes with a plea for compassion in the application of scientific discoveries, so that they might work for the betterment, rather than the destruction, of the world that we live in.
The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment is about mechanisms and processes rather about solutions and restoration. Paul and Anne Ehrlich teach us how genetics and evolution working over time produced a species (Homo sapiens) that has overwhelmed virtually every form of life and has altered the environment to the extent that Earth may become inhabitable, as least in the way that humans now use it. If we understand the process, we may be able to do something about it-- a major social/cultural evolutionary change; a paradigm shift to sustainability.
Strand: An Odyssey of Pacific Ocean Debris is for anyone who has ever picked up a shell, agate, found a bone or bottle on the beach and mused about where it came from--in short, a book for beachcombers. Bonnie Henderson traces the origins and the natural history of Japanese fishing floats, the dead birds commonly found on the beach, a tennis shoe from China, a beached minke whale, a wrecked fishing boat, a mermaid's purse and as she does so, we learn about ocean currents, marine life, human commerce and the interconnectedness of it all.
Stephen Jay Gould, named a "Living Legend" by the U.S. Congress in 2000, taught biology, geology and the history of science at Harvard University for 30 years, where he was named Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology. Gould was curator of the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, served as the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and memorably, wrote 300 consecutive essays for Natural History. Gould was a both brilliant biological scientist and a gifted writer. Steven Rose has anthologized the best of Gould's popular writing in this book.
Back on the Fire , a collection of largely autobiographical essays, uses fire as a metaphor for the crucial moment when deeply held viewpoints yield to new experiences, and our spirits and mindsd broaden and mature. From the ecological point of view, read "Lifetimes with Fire," which carries the metaphor from human experience to a deeper truth in regenerative nature.
Under the Sea-Wind, Rachel Carson's first book and her personal favorite, evokes the mystery and beauty of sea birds and sea creatures in their natural habitat. Carson's intimate account celebrates the open sea--its limitless vistas, its twilight depths, and the delicate negotiations of its ingeniously calibrated ecology.
Paul Hawken documents how the largest movement in the world, based on social unrest and activism and guided by a living intelligence, manifested by NGOs and other group action, is moving mankind toward a socially just and environmentally sustainable existence. It is happening, inexorably, one miracle at a time! We are living in a new Axial Age, in which the foundations of human thought are being changed.
Blessed Unrest has the endorsement of Jane Goodall, Bill McKibben, Barry Lopez, Terry Tempest Williams, David James Duncan and David Suzuki and will have yours, too!
E. O. Wilson, author of Biophilia and "The Diversity of Life", explains the importance of the work of the naturalist and field biologist-only a small fraction of all life forms on Earth have been identified; if we don't know what is there, he argues, how can we protect it? The book is set as a letter to a Southern Baptist pastor and argues that there is no valid conflict between religion and science.
Ecological Literacy, the third book in The Bioneers Series and published by Sierra Club Books, explores how to educate children for a sustainable world. It has been said that we will protect that which we cherish; we cherish that with which we have had positive contact imbued with wonderment. If the world is to be sustained unto the 7th Generation, we must start with the present one.
The Last Wilderness documents with beautiful photographs the geological grandeur and the teeming wildlife of America's Serengeti. It gives the lie to those oilmen and politicians who demean "ANWR" as "just a desolate wasteland". Read this book and view the pictures and you will have no doubt that to sacrifice this sacred portion of the planet for six months of oil and corporate profit would be a great environmental crime; a crime against humanity and the planet.
Terry Tempest Williams equates the majesty of our nation's wild places with the essence of America's democracy. These inspiring essays are thought-provoking reminders of the responsibility each of us has to protect and defend both precious gifts.
~ President Jimmy Carter
The fierce questioning of our American status quo, a hunger for life's essences, a fearless confrontation with doubt and self-doubt--all the exhilirating hallmarks of Terry Tempest Williams' work come sharply to bear here on a central question of our time: Can American-style democracy survive in its birthplace?
~ Barry Lopez
Beloved of the Sky is a collection of essays and photographs on clearcutting edited by John Ellison with contributions by Edward Abbey, Gary Snyder, Jeff DeBonis and many other luminaries of conservation and nature writing. The essays are poignant, touching, fact-filled and thought-provoking. The book is entertaining and easy to read. It is "required reading" for everyone interested in the value and future of Ancient Forests.
This compact book uses everyday, nontechnical language to explain 60 basic ecological concepts. It will transform how you see life--your own and that of the planet. It equips you to take informed, effective personal and political action with the ecological wisdom needed for the 21st century.
The classic! Voluntary simplicity and recognition of man's relationship to nature.
Specifically, read the 1862 essay, "Walking".
This fascinating book describes wave action, the features of beaches and their formation, and the adverse effects of man's attempts to control beach erosion. I consider it one of the most fascinating books that I have ever read. It's worth the price! (comment by Gritfish).
Written in 1913 by Lawrence J. Henderson.Ph.D., professor of biochemistry, this book is an inquiry into the biological significance of matter and a classic of biology.
"The Sense of Wonder is Rachel Carson's gift to the remembered child in all of us. This essay reminds us that the child intuitively apprehends the truth that most most adults have forgotten--that we are all part of the natural world." ~ Linda Lear
Imagination and desire in a Northern landscape.
Published in 1951, The Sea Around Us is one of the most remarkably successful books ever written about the natural world. This classic work remains as fresh today as when it first appeared.
"For us the wilderness and human emptiness of this land is not a source of fear but the greatest of its attractions. We would guard and defend and save it, as a place for allwho wish to rediscover the nearly lost pleasures of adventure, adventure not only in the physical sense, but also mental, spiritual, moral, asethetic and intellectual adventure. It is a place to be free." E.A.
Confessions, druidic rants, reflections, bird-watchings, fish-stalkings, visions, songs and prayers refracting light, from living rivers, in the dark age of the industrial dark.
An Unnatural History of Family and Place
For the Coyote Clan and America's Red Rock Wilderness!
Personal Encounters with Nature as experienced by noted nature writers (edited by David Suzuki).
This book started the environmental movement and is as pertinent now as in 1962!
A biography of the fish that changed the world and how mankind abused it.
An extraordinary account of southeast Alaska as John Muir experienced it: an extraordinary testimony to man's relationship to Nature.
Berry offers a way to live in America without abusing our environment, resources and our future.
An exploration of the incredible variability of life forms, their interdependent interactions and man's dependence on the complex web of life.
Wilson explores mankind's deep, innate love for other living things and the need we have for contact with them.
A description of the biota and man's place in it.
Rather than the doom, gloom and hopelessness that characterizes much writing about the environment, this book by Suzuki and Dressel tells us about positive and hopeful things, actions that if carried forward, could result in a beautiful, balanced and livable environment.
This collections of essays by Gary Snyder is a primer, an etiquette, a book of instruction, a sense of place and connection; it is a delight to read.
First published in 1949, Aldo Leopold's A Sand Count Almanac is now an established environmental classic. We can place this book on the shelf that holds the writings of Thoreau and John Muir (San Francisco Chronicle).
Thomas Berry is one of the most eminent cultural historians of our time. Here he presents the culmination of his ideas and urges us to move from being a disrupting force on the Earth to a benign presence. This transition is the Great Work -- the most necessary and most ennobling work we will ever undertake. Berry's message is not one of doom but of hope. He reminds society of its function, particularly the universities and other educational institutions whose role is to guide students into an appreciation rather than an exploitation of the world around them. Berry is the leading spokesperson for the Earth, and his profound ecological insight illuminates the path we need to take in the realms of ethics, politics, economics, and education if both we and the planet are to survive. -( Amazon.com editorial review)
The inaugural volume of the Sierra Club Nature and Natural Philosophy Library considers our ecological fate from a species perspective. Berry's seminal thesis proposes a universal "biocratic" criterion to evaluate human history, development, and activity. He contends that the validity of any human enterprise is the degree to which it enhances the universal life force.
(Annotation copyright Book News. Inc. Portland. Or.)
A passionately felt, deeply poetic book. It has philosophy. It has humor. It has its share of nerve-tingling adventures...set down in a lean, racing prose, in a close-knit style of power and beauty.
Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril is a profound collection of over 80 essays addressing issues of environmentalism and social justice authored by concerned and deep-thinking activists. Included in this volume are essays by Desmond Tutu, Thich Nhat Hahn, Barack Obama, Wendell Berry, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, Gus Speth, Paul Hawken, Terry Tempest Williams, David James Duncan, E. O. Wilson, Bill McKibben and many others. Professors Kathleen Dean Moore and Michael P. Nelson have compiled a a resource that should be read by everyone concerned about the planet which is oiur home. This book belongs on your bookshelf alongside the Holy Bible, the Quran, the Diamond and Lotus Sutras, the Sand County Almanac and the Bagavad Gita!
The economy, the internet, democracy, laws, acquired human skills and knowledge, science, communities, culture, literature, art, music, air, water, natural resources—these are examples of things which all humans (i.e., commoners) have a natural right to share and use. Indeed, all members of the biota have a right to share the part of the commons needed for their survival. Corporations do not have a right to claim parts of the commons, commercialize them and sell them for profit. Corporations do not have a right to degrade or destroy the commons for their private benefit. We all own the commons. All That We Share: a field guide to the commons, by Jay Walljasper and essayists such a Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Bill McKibben, Robert B. Reich, Winona Laduke, Maude Barlow, and Peter Barnes explain how we can reshape our worldview to be compatible with a graceful and abundant future.