The Unnatural World : The Race to Remake Civilization in Earth's Newest Age
Overview - A Science Friday and Smithsonian Magazine Best Science Book of the Year A brilliant young environmental journalist argues that we must innovate and adapt to save planet Earth in this enlightening "trip around the world to meet people working out new ways for humanity to live as well as survive" ( The New York Times Book Review ). Read more...
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More About The Unnatural World by David Biello
A Science Friday and Smithsonian Magazine Best Science Book of the Year
A brilliant young environmental journalist argues that we must innovate and adapt to save planet Earth in this enlightening "trip around the world to meet people working out new ways for humanity to live as well as survive" (The New York Times Book Review
With the historical perspective of The Song of the Dodo
and the urgency of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth
, The Unnatural World
chronicles a disparate band of unlikely heroes: an effervescent mad scientist who would fertilize the seas; a pigeon obsessive bent on bringing back the extinct; a low-level government functionary in China doing his best to clean up his city, and more. These scientists, billionaires, and ordinary people are all working toward saving the best home humanity is ever likely to have.
What is the threat? It is us. In a time when a species dies out every ten minutes, when summers are getting hotter, winters colder, and oceans higher, some people still deny mankind's effect on the Earth. But all of our impacts on the planet have ushered in what qualifies as a new geologic epoch, thanks to global warming, mass extinction, and such technologies as nuclear weapons or plastics.
"A futurist ray of hope amid the usual denial and despair" (Esquire
), The Unnatural World
examines the world we have created and analyzes the glimmers of light emerging from the efforts of incredible individuals seeking to change our future. Instead of a world without us, this history of the future shows how to become good gardeners, helping people thrive along with an abundance of plants, animals, all the exuberant profusion of life on Earth--a better world with us. The current era of humans need not be the end of the world--and "Biello describes both what we have done to alter our planet and what we should do in the future to ensure its habitability" (Scientific American
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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Like many before him, science journalist Biello explores the roots of the Anthropocene epoch, its global consequences, and possible solutions. He articulates the common-sense position that if planetary degradation is to be stopped, humans must be a part of that action: The threat is us, the solution is in us. It takes a grown-up, rational species to recognize we are not alone and to provide for the protection of others, who have less control. Biello focuses on a number of individuals with big, largely technological, ideas to save humankind, including a scientist who wants to fertilize the ocean to increase the growth of phytoplankton and thus soak up massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. He also examines efforts in China to build circular economies where waste is transformed into assets and society moves toward carbon neutrality. Perhaps most importantly, Biello points out that its not necessary to wait for a grand technological fix: If there is a simple solution to our present problems, it might be summed up as: Empower women with clean power. Biello presents some interesting anecdotes and introduces some creative individuals, but his conclusion that only relentless work will make the world better is underwhelming. Agent: Ethan Bassoff, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Nov.)