If human beings disappeared instantaneously from the Earth, what would happen? How would the planet reclaim its surface? What creatures would emerge from the dark and swarm? How would our treasured structures—our tunnels, our bridges, our homes, our monuments—survive the unmitigated impact of a planet without our intervention? In his revelatory, bestselling account, Alan Weisman draws on every field of science to present an environmental assessment like no other, the most affecting portrait yet of humankind’s place on this planet.
Finalist for the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award
Amazon Top 100 Editors’ Picks of 2007 (#4)
Barnes and Noble 10 Best of 2007: Politics and Current Affairs
Asian environmental correspondent for the Guardian, Watts travels to the four corners of China, from the southwest Himalayan region, rebranded as “Shangri-la” to attract tourists, to Xanadu (Shangdu) in Inner Mongolia, exploring how Beijing is balancing economic growth with sustainability and whether China will “emerge as the world’s first green superpower” or tip our species “over the environmental precipice.” What he finds is both hopeful and disturbing. Wildlife refuges, rather than focusing on biodiversity, breed animals for meat and traditional remedies like black bear bile. The city of Ordos plans to build a huge wind farm and solar plant, but these benefits are offset by its coal-liquification mine, “an environmentalist's worst nightmare” of greenhouse gases and water exploitation. The Chinese dictatorship, envied by other nations for its ability to enact environmental changes without the slow democratic process, turns out to be ineffective, with power lying with developers and local bureaucracies. Readers interested in global warming will appreciate the firsthand information about China, and Watts’s travels are so extensive and China is changing so fast, some material is likely to be fresh and new even for Sinologists.
First published by Houghton Mifflin in 1962, Silent Spring alerted a large audience to the environmental and human dangers of indiscriminate use of pesticides, spurring revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water.
This fortieth anniversary edition celebrates Rachel Carson’s watershed book with a new introduction by the author and activist Terry Tempest Williams and a new afterword by the acclaimed Rachel Carson biographer Linda Lear, who tells the story of Carson’s courageous defense of her truths in the face of ruthless assault from the chemical industry in the year following the publication of Silent Spring and before her untimely death in 1964.
Rachel Carson’s National Book Award–winning classic effortlessly mingles detailed fieldwork and inspiring prose to reveal a deep understanding of the earth’s most precious, mysterious resource—the ocean.
With more than one million copies sold, Rachel Carson’s became a cultural phenomenon when first published in 1951 and cemented Carson’s status as the preeminent natural history writer of her time. Her inspiring, intimate writing plumbs the depths of an enigmatic world—a place of hidden lands, islands newly risen from the earth’s crust, fish that pour through the water, and the unyielding, epic battle for survival.
Firmly based in the scientific discoveries of the time, masterfully presents Carson’s commitment to a healthy planet and a fully realized sense of wonder.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Rachel Carson including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.
“The edge of the sea is a strange and beautiful place.”
A book to be read for pleasure as well as a practical identification guide, introduces a world of teeming life where the sea meets the land. A new generation of readers is discovering why Rachel Carson’s books have become cornerstones of the environmental and conservation movements. New introduction by Sue Hubbell.
"There are two problems for our species' survival—nuclear war and environmental catastrophe," says Noam Chomsky in this new book on the two existential threats of our time and their points of intersection since World War II.
While a nuclear strike would require action, environmental catastrophe is partially defined by willful inaction in response to human-induced climate change. Denial of the facts is only half the equation. Other contributing factors include extreme techniques for the extraction of remaining carbon deposits, the elimination of agricultural land for bio-fuel, the construction of dams, and the destruction of forests that are crucial for carbon sequestration.
On the subject of current nuclear tensions, Chomsky revisits the long-established option of a nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East, a proposal set in motion through a joint Egyptian Iranian General Assembly resolution in 1974.
Intended as a warning, is also a reminder that talking about the unspeakable can still be done with humor, with wit and indomitable spirit.
On the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, an international panel of leading medical and biological scientists, nuclear engineers, and policy experts assembled at the prestigious New York Academy of Medicine. A project of the Helen Caldicott Foundation and co-sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility, this gathering was a response to widespread concerns that the media and policy makers had been far too eager to move past what are clearly deep and lasting impacts for the Japanese people and for the world. This was the first comprehensive attempt to address the health and environmental damage done by one of the worst nuclear accidents of our times.
The only document of its kind, represents an unprecedented look into the profound aftereffects of Fukushima. In accessible terms, leading experts from Japan, the United States, Russia, and other nations weigh in on the current state of knowledge of radiation-related health risks in Japan, impacts on the world’s oceans, the question of low-dosage radiation risks, crucial comparisons with Chernobyl, health and environmental impacts on the United States (including on food and newborns), and the unavoidable implications for the U.S. nuclear energy industry.
As Diane Ackerman writes in her brilliant new book, , “our relationship with nature has changed… radically, irreversibly, but by no means all for the bad. Our new epoch is laced with invention. Our mistakes are legion, but our talent is immeasurable.”
Ackerman is justly celebrated for her unique insight into the natural world and our place in it. In this landmark book, she confronts the unprecedented reality that one prodigiously intelligent and meddlesome creature, , is now the dominant force shaping the future of planet Earth.
Humans have “subdued 75 percent of the land surface, concocted a wizardry of industrial and medical marvels, strung lights all across the darkness.” We tinker with nature at every opportunity; we garden the planet with our preferred species of plants and animals, many of them invasive; and we have even altered the climate, threatening our own extinction. Yet we reckon with our own destructive capabilities in extraordinary acts of hope-filled creativity: we collect the DNA of vanishing species in a “frozen ark,” equip orangutans with iPads, and create wearable technologies and synthetic species that might one day outsmart us. With her distinctive gift for making scientific discovery intelligible to the layperson, Ackerman takes us on an exhilarating journey through our new reality, introducing us to many of the people and ideas now creating—perhaps saving—our future and that of our fellow creatures.
A beguiling, optimistic engagement with the changes affecting every part of our lives, is a wise and beautiful book that will astound, delight, and inform intelligent life for a long time to come.
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