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.
"Over the last half billion years, there have been five major mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around the cataclysm is us. In this book the author tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. She provides a moving account of the disappearances of various species occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up to Lyell and Darwin, and through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human". -- Back cover.
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.
Elaborate pop-ups feature some wonderfully creepy creatures that just might dominate the ecosystem and be essential to our planet's survival in an eerily realistic future world. Whether or not we know it, the sixth global extinction is already under way, propelled not by a meteor but by human activity on Earth. Take a long step forward into the year 4847 with the help of stunning pop-ups portraying eight fantastical creatures, along with spreads and flaps presenting details about each one. Paper engineer Shawn Sheehy envisions the aftermath of extinction as a flourishing ecosystem centered around fictional creatures that could evolve from existing organisms. Promising high appeal for science-fiction fans of all ages -- and plenty of food for discussion -- this evolutionary extravaganza offers a time line of the six extinction events in Earth's history, a "field guide" to each creature, a diagram of species relationships, a habitat map of the (imagined) ruins of Chicago, and an illuminating author's note.
A remote military research station in Utah sends out a frantic distress call, ending with a chilling final command: Kill us all! Personnel from the neighbouring base rush in to discover everyone already dead - and not just the scientists, but every living thing for fifty square miles has been annihilated. The land is entirely sterile-and the blight is spreading. To halt the inevitable, Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma must unravel a threat that rises out of the distant past, to a time when Antarctica was green and all life on Earth balanced upon the blade of a knife. Following clues from an ancient map rescued from the lost Library of Alexandria, Sigma will discover the truth about an ancient continent, about a new form of death buried under miles of ice.
A new edition of the book that launched Elizabeth Kolbert's career as an environmental writer-updated with three new chapters, making it, yet again, "irreplaceable" (Boston Globe). Elizabeth Kolbert's environmental classic Field Notes from a Catastrophe first developed out of a groundbreaking, National Magazine Award-winning three-part series in The New Yorker. She expanded it into a still-concise yet richly researched and damning book about climate change: a primer on the greatest challenge facing the world today. But in the years since, the story has continued to develop; the situation has become more dire, even as our understanding grows. Now, Kolbert returns to the defining book of her career. She has added a chapter bringing things up-to-date on the existing text, plus three new chapters--on ocean acidification, the tar sands, and a Danish town that's gone carbon neutral--making it, again, a must-read for our moment.
Chronicling five times in the history of the earth in which more than half of all living species disappeared in a geological instant, a geological study states that we are on the brink of a sixth mass extinction and presents supporting evidence. Reprint.
Jason Conrad, a man with the wealth of Bill Gates, decides to preserve for posterity the seeds of as many animal and plant species as possible in a vast and remote underground facility, taking the world’s legitimate seed banks and "frozen zoos" to a whole new level. Conrad’s secret doomsday complex, though, is staffed by a combination of environmental experts and mercenaries who will stop at nothing to achieve their once-noble ambitions. After a fellow police officer is murdered and his award-winning German shepherd disappears, Montreal Sergeant-Detective Irina Drach and her young partner, Sergeant-Detective Hudson, connect the crime with a seed bank raid in Ardingly, England, and the kidnapping of a Triple Crown Thoroughbred named Zarathustra. Soon it becomes apparent that highly organized, ruthless abduction teams are raiding seed banks around the world, as well as scooping up the finest animal specimens from zoos, nature preserves, and the wild. Despite the global implications and ballooning media interest, however, Irina never forgets that her foremost aim is to solve the murder of a friend and fellow officer.
Fiction and the Sixth Mass Extinction is one of the first works to focus specifically on fiction's engagements with human driven extinction. Drawing together a diverse group of scholars and approaches, this volume pairs established voices in the field with emerging scholars and traditionally recognized climate fiction ('cli-fi') with texts and media typically not associated with Anthropocene fictions. The result is a volume that both engages with and furthers existing work on Anthropocene fiction as well as laying groundwork for the budding subfield of extinction fiction. This volume takes up the collective insistence on the centrality of story to extinction studies. In various and disparate ways, each chapter engages with the stories we tell about extinction, about the extinction of animal and plant life, and about the extinction of human life itself. Answering the call to action of extinction studies, these chapters explore what kinds of humanity caused this event and what kinds may live through it; what cultural assumptions and values led to this event and which ones could lead out of it; what relationships between human life and this planet allowed the sixth mass extinction and what alternative relationships could be possible.
One of Vox’s Most Important Books of the Decade New York Times Editors' Choice 2017 Forbes Top 10 Best Environment, Climate, and Conservation Book of 2017 As new groundbreaking research suggests that climate change played a major role in the most extreme catastrophes in the planet's history, award-winning science journalist Peter Brannen takes us on a wild ride through the planet's five mass extinctions and, in the process, offers us a glimpse of our increasingly dangerous future Our world has ended five times: it has been broiled, frozen, poison-gassed, smothered, and pelted by asteroids. In The Ends of the World, Peter Brannen dives into deep time, exploring Earth’s past dead ends, and in the process, offers us a glimpse of our possible future. Many scientists now believe that the climate shifts of the twenty-first century have analogs in these five extinctions. Using the visible clues these devastations have left behind in the fossil record, The Ends of the World takes us inside “scenes of the crime,” from South Africa to the New York Palisades, to tell the story of each extinction. Brannen examines the fossil record—which is rife with creatures like dragonflies the size of sea gulls and guillotine-mouthed fish—and introduces us to the researchers on the front lines who, using the forensic tools of modern science, are piecing together what really happened at the crime scenes of the Earth’s biggest whodunits. Part road trip, part history, and part cautionary tale, The Ends of the World takes us on a tour of the ways that our planet has clawed itself back from the grave, and casts our future in a completely new light.
Questions why species are becoming extinct, and how we can protect the natural world on which we all depend.
The current extinction crisis is of human making, and any favorable resolution of that biodiversity crisis--among the most dire in the 4-billion-year history of Earth--will have to be initiated by mankind. Little time remains for the public, corporations, and governments to awaken to the magnitude of what is at stake. This book aims to assist that critical educational mission, synthesizing recent scientific information and ideas about threats to biodiversity in the past, present, and projected future. This is the second volume from the In the Light of Evolution series, based on a series of Arthur M. Sackler colloquia, and designed to promote the evolutionary sciences. Each installment explores evolutionary perspectives on a particular biological topic that is scientifically intriguing but also has special relevance to contemporary societal issues or challenges. Individually and collectively, the ILE series aims to interpret phenomena in various areas of biology through the lens of evolution, address some of the most intellectually engaging as well as pragmatically important societal issues of our times, and foster a greater appreciation of evolutionary biology as a consolidating foundation for the life sciences.