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Half-Earth : our planet's fight for life /

by Wilson, Edward O [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, [2016]Edition: First edition.Description: 259 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.ISBN: 9781631490828.Subject(s): Nature conservation | Biodiversity conservation
List(s) this item appears in: Earth Day
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Item type Home library Collection Shelving location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Books Books Altadena Main Library
Adult Collection Adult NonFiction 333.95 WIL (Browse shelf) Checked out 05/09/2019 39270004500033

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

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.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 213-226) and index.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Prologue (p. 1)
  • Part I The Problem
  • 1 The World Ends, Twice (p. 7)
  • 2 Humanity Needs a Biosphere (p. 11)
  • 3 How Much Biodiversity Survives Today? (p. 19)
  • 4 An Elegy for the Rhinos (p. 29)
  • 5 Apocalypses Now (p. 35)
  • 6 Are We As Gods? (p. 47)
  • 7 Why Extinction is Accelerating (p. 53)
  • 5 The Impact of Climate Change: Land, Sea, and Air (p. 65)
  • 9 The Most Dangerous Worldview (p. 71)
  • Part II The Real Living World
  • 10 Conservation Science (p. 83)
  • 11 The Lord God Species (p. 95)
  • 12 The Unknown Webs of Life (p. 101)
  • 13 The Wholly Different Aqueous World (p. 113)
  • 14 The Invisible Empire (p. 121)
  • 15 The Best Places in the Biosphere (p. 133)
  • 16 History Redefined (p. 155)
  • Part III The Solution
  • 17 The Awakening (p. 169)
  • 18 Restoration (p. 175)
  • 19 Half-Earth: How to Save the Biosphere
  • 20 Threading the Bottleneck (p. 189)
  • 21 What Must Be Done (p. 209)
  • Sources and Further Reading (p. 213)
  • Glossary (p. 227)
  • Appendix (p. 229)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 237)
  • Index (p. 239)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Wilson (Letters to a Young Scientist) sets forth a possible solution to save the earth-putting aside half of the earth's surface for nature-and sets out his arguments for what actions are necessary and why. Wilson appeals to listeners' emotions with wonderful stories of various species and to our analytical side with detailed statistics and trends. There is a lot of information here, and listeners will hear the urgency of Wilson's call for reform to help our planet. Because of the vast amount of supporting data, the audiobook might not be the ideal format for those who prefer to refer back to facts and figures. It is a very good work, read extremely well by Jonathan Hogan; recommended for those with an interest in humans' role in preserving the earth. -VERDICT This would be a good place to start for anyone interested in gaining an understanding of biodiversity and the intricate web of interdependence of species.-Eric D. Albright, Tufts Health Sciences Lib., Boston © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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