Book picks similar to
Historical Ecology: Cultural Knowledge and Changing Landscapes by Carole L. Crumley
Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature
William Cronon - 1995
Among the ironies and entanglements resulting from this goal are the sale of nature in our malls through the Nature Company, and the disputes between working people and environmentalists over spotted owls and other objects of species preservation.The problem is that we haven't learned to live responsibly in nature. The environmentalist aim of legislating humans out of the wilderness is no solution. People, Cronon argues, are inextricably tied to nature, whether they live in cities or countryside. Rather than attempt to exclude humans, environmental advocates should help us learn to live in some sustainable relationship with nature. It is our home.
Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World
Marcia Bjornerud - 2018
The passage of nine days, which is how long a drop of water typically stays in Earth's atmosphere, is something we can easily grasp. But spans of hundreds of years--the time a molecule of carbon dioxide resides in the atmosphere--approach the limits of our comprehension. Our everyday lives are shaped by processes that vastly predate us, and our habits will in turn have consequences that will outlast us by generations. Timefulness reveals how knowing the rhythms of Earth's deep past and conceiving of time as a geologist does can give us the perspective we need for a more sustainable future.Marcia Bjornerud shows how geologists chart the planet's past, explaining how we can determine the pace of solid Earth processes such as mountain building and erosion and comparing them with the more unstable rhythms of the oceans and atmosphere. These overlapping rates of change in the Earth system--some fast, some slow--demand a poly-temporal worldview, one that Bjornerud calls "timefulness." She explains why timefulness is vital in the Anthropocene, this human epoch of accelerating planetary change, and proposes sensible solutions for building a more time-literate society.This compelling book presents a new way of thinking about our place in time, enabling us to make decisions on multigenerational timescales. The lifespan of Earth may seem unfathomable compared to the brevity of human existence, but this view of time denies our deep roots in Earth's history--and the magnitude of our effects on the planet.
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Jared Diamond - 1997
one of the most important and readable works on the human past published in recent years."Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a national bestseller: the global account of the rise of civilization that is also a stunning refutation of ideas of human development based on race.In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed writing, technology, government, and organized religion—as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war—and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history.Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth Club of California's Gold Medal
Europe: A Natural History
Tim Flannery - 2018
In Europe: A Natural History, world-renowned scientist, explorer, and conservationist Tim Flannery applies the eloquent interdisciplinary approach he used in his ecological histories of Australia and North America to the story of Europe. He begins 100 million years ago, when the continents of Asia, North America, and Africa interacted to create an island archipelago that would later become the Europe we know today. It was on these ancient tropical lands that the first distinctly European organisms evolved. Flannery teaches us about Europe's midwife toad, which has endured since the continent's beginning, while elephants, crocodiles, and giant sharks have come and gone. He explores the monumental changes wrought by the devastating comet strike and shows how rapid atmospheric shifts transformed the European archipelago into a single landmass during the Eocene.As the story moves through millions of years of evolutionary history, Flannery eventually turns to our own species, describing the immense impact humans had on the continent's flora and fauna--within 30,000 years of our arrival in Europe, the woolly rhino, the cave bear, and the giant elk, among others, would disappear completely. The story continues right up to the present, as Flannery describes Europe's leading role in wildlife restoration, and then looks ahead to ponder the continent's future: with advancements in gene editing technology, European scientists are working to recreate some of the continent's lost creatures, such as the great ox of Europe's primeval forests and even the woolly mammoth.Written with Flannery's characteristic combination of elegant prose and scientific expertise, Europe: A Natural History narrates the dramatic natural history and dynamic evolution of one of the most influential places on Earth.
Saving Arcadia: A Story of Conservation and Community in the Great Lakes
Heather Shumaker - 2017
The story spans more than forty years, following the fate of a magnificent sand dune on Lake Michigan and the people who care about it. Author and narrator Heather Shumaker shares the remarkable untold stories behind protecting land and creating new nature preserves. Written in a compelling narrative style, the book is intended in part as a case study for landscape-level conservation and documents the challenges of integrating economic livelihoods into conservation and what it really means to "preserve" land over time.This is the story of a small band of determined townspeople and how far they went to save beloved land and endangered species from the grip of a powerful corporation. Saving Arcadia is a narrative with roots as deep as the trees the community is trying to save, something set in motion before the author was even born. And yet, Shumaker gives a human face to the changing nature of land conservation in the twenty-first century. Throughout this chronicle we meet people like Elaine, a nineteen-year-old farm wife; Dori, a lakeside innkeeper; and Glen, the director of the local land trust. Together with hundreds of others they cross cultural barriers and learn to help one another in an effort to win back the six-thousand-acre landscape taken over by Consumers Power that is now facing grave devastation. The result is a triumph of community that includes working farms, local businesses, summer visitors, year-round residents, and a network of land stewards.A work of creative nonfiction, Saving Arcadia is the adventurous tale of everyday people fighting to reclaim the land that has been in their family for generations. It explores ideas about nature and community, and anyone from scholars of ecology and conservation biology to readers of naturalist writing can gain from Arcadia's story.
Human Caused Global Warming
Tim Ball - 2016
It explains how it was a premeditated, orchestrated deception, using science to impose a political agenda. It fooled a majority including most scientists. They assumed that other scientists would not produce science for a political agenda. German Physicist and meteorologist Klaus-Eckart Puls finally decided to look for himself. Here is what he discovered. Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data—first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it.…scientifically it is sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob. This book uses the same approach used in investigative journalism. It examines the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How.
Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization
Steven Solomon - 2009
Four hundred million people depend on it, and there's no backup plan. As Steven Solomon makes clear, the same is true the world over; this volume will give you the background to understand the forces that will drive much of 21st century history.” —Bill McKibbenIn Water, esteemed journalist Steven Solomon describes a terrifying—and all too real—world in which access to fresh water has replaced oil as the primary cause of global conflicts that increasingly emanate from drought-ridden, overpopulated areas of the world. Meticulously researched and undeniably prescient, Water is a stunningly clear-eyed action statement on what Robert F Kennedy, Jr. calls “the biggest environmental and political challenge of our time.”
Kathleen Jamie - 2019
From the thawing tundra linking a Yup'ik village in Alaska to its hunter-gatherer past to the shifting sand dunes revealing the impressively preserved homes of neolithic farmers in Scotland, Jamie explores how the changing natural world can alter our sense of time. Most movingly, she considers, as her father dies and her children leave home, the surfacing of an older, less tethered sense of herself. In precise, luminous prose, Surfacing offers a profound sense of time passing and an antidote to all that is instant, ephemeral, unrooted.
The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization
Brian M. Fagan - 2003
Starting about 15,000 years ago, temperatures began to rise, the glaciers receded, and sea levels rose. The rise of human civilization and all of recorded history occurred in this warm period, known as the Holocene. Until very recently we had no detailed record of climate changes during the Holocene. Now we do. In this engrossing and captivating look at the human effects of climate variability, Brian Fagan shows how climate functioned as what the historian Paul Kennedy described as one of the "deeper transformations" of history -- a more important historical factor than we understand.
An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It
Al Gore - 2006
Both the book and film were inspired by a series of multimedia presentations on global warming that Gore created and delivers to groups around the world. With this book, Gore, who is one of our environmental heroes—and a leading expert—brings together leading-edge research from top scientists around the world; photographs, charts, and other illustrations; and personal anecdotes and observations to document the fast pace and wide scope of global warming. He presents, with alarming clarity and conclusiveness—and with humor, too—that the fact of global warming is not in question and that its consequences for the world we live in will be disastrous if left unchecked. This riveting new book—written in an accessible, entertaining style—will open the eyes of even the most skeptical.
Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change
Elizabeth Kolbert - 2006
In what began as groundbreaking three-part series in the New Yorker, for which she won a National Magazine Award in 2006, Kolbert cuts through the competing rhetoric and political agendas to elucidate for Americans what is really going on with the global environment and asks what, if anything, can be done to save our planet. Now updated and with a new afterword, Field Notes from a Catastrophe is the book to read on the defining issue and greatest challenge of our times.
Topophilia: A Study of Environmental Perceptions, Attitudes, and Values
Yi-Fu Tuan - 1974
Topophilia examines the search for environment in the city, suburb, countryside, and wilderness from a dialectical perspective, distinguishes different types of environmental experience, and describes their character.
Barry Lopez - 1986
Only a few species of wild animals can survive its harsh climate. In this modern classic, Barry Lopez explores the many-faceted wonders of the Far North: its strangely stunted forest, its mesmerizing aurora borealis, its frozen seas. Musk oxen, polar bears, narwhal, and other exotic beasts of the region come alive through Lopez’s passionate and nuanced observations. And, as he examines the history and culture of the indigenous people, along with parallel narratives of intrepid, often underprepared and subsequently doomed polar explorers, Lopez drives to the heart of why the austere and formidable Arctic is also a constant source of breathtaking beauty, beguilement, and wonder.Written in prose as memorably pure as the land it describes, Arctic Dreams is a timeless mediation on the ability of the landscape to shape our dreams and to haunt our imaginations.
The Land of Little Rain
Mary Hunter Austin - 1903
In this classic collection of meditations on the wonders of this region, Austin generously shares “such news of the land, of its trails and what is astir in them, as one lover of it can give to another.” Her vivid writings capture the landscape—from burnt hills to sun-baked mesas—as well as the rich variety of plant and animal life, and the few human beings who inhabit the land, including cattlemen, miners, and Paiute Indians. This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the original 1903 edition.
Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash
Elizabeth Royte - 2005
A brilliant exploration into the soiled heart of the American trash can.Into our trash cans go dead batteries, dirty diapers, bygone burritos, broken toys, tattered socks, eight-track cassettes, scratched CDs, banana peels … But where do these things go next? In a country that consumes and then casts off more and more, what actually happens to the things we throw away?