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Fate of the Wild: The Endangered Species Act and the Future of Biodiversityby Bonnie B Burgess
Synopses & Reviews
Given widespread concern over the worldwide loss of biodiversity and popular crusades to "save" endangered species and habitats, why has the Endangered Species Act remained unauthorized since October 1992? In Fate of the Wild Bonnie B. Burgess offers an illuminating assembly of facts about biodiversity and straightforward analysis of the legislative stalemate surrounding the Endangered Species Act. Fate of the Wild surveys the history of and analyzes the conflict over the legislation itself, the heated issues regarding its enforcement, and the land-use and habitat battles waged between conservationists, environmental activists, and private property proponents.
Burgess's meticulous and exhaustive research makes Fate of the Wild a valuable resource for professionals in conservation biology, public policy, environmental law, and environmental organizations, while the narrative clarity of the book will appeal to anyone interested in the fate of nonhuman species.
Burgess explains how wilderness has been consumed by concrete and asphalt, the effects of toxins on plants and animals, strip mine tailings, oil slicks, and smog. She exposes, as well, the "invisible" damage that manifests itself in the subtle degradation of natural systems and in the increased incidence and number of diseases, the rise in human infertility, and the drastic alteration of weather patterns and landscapes.
Fate of the Wild presents a factual and balanced discussion of the various sides of the contemporary debate over the Endangered Species Act, alongside the author's clearly stated position: We are overpopulating, polluting, and overdeveloping our environment, and as a species we have embarked on a crash course toward a sixth great extinction event on this Earth.
Book News Annotation:
Arguing that one of the most prominent legislative acts for protecting the environment, the Endangered Species Act, is itself endangered, Burgess (biodiversity and wildlife conservation, Johns Hopkins U.) presents a defense of the act and discusses some of the social and political reasons why the act is no longer as effective as it should be. After discussing the importance of biodiversity, she separately examines the impediments to the preservation of endangered species as the have emerged from the White House, the Congress, and U.S. government bureaucracies. Finally she argues for a complete reevaluation of the way we view the environment societally, saying that through public education and cooperation, Americans will realize that the protection of species will benefit us all.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index.
About the Author
"Endangered species protection is a central issue in the scientific, political, and public debates about the future of biodiversity on the planet. In Fate of the Wild, Bonnie Burgess covers enormous territory and does a commendable job of boiling down the issues. She steers a balanced course between political extremes and makes a unique contribution to this debate."--Stanwyn G. Shetler, Curator of Botany Emeritus and former Deputy Director, National Museum of Natural History
"In Fate of the Wild, Bonnie Burgess does what has not yet been done, namely to review the whole subject of endangered species in the United States, from the Endangered Species Act to the present day. Fate of the Wild is an important resource for anyone trying to understand the history and the intricacies of this issuea totally accessible book for the layperson and specialist alike. This is a real contribution."--Thomas Lovejoy, Counselor to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and Chief Biodiversity Advisor, The World Bank
"With a level of detail that would impress the wonkiest expert, Burgess recaps the debate that surrounded the initial legislation, as well as Congress' periodic updates of it. . . . The book is rigorously balanced, but Burgess isn't afraid to show her own sympathies."--Washington City Paper
"Maintains a judicious balance between the arguments posed by environmental activists and by those who believe that too much environmental activism stands in the way of economic advancement. . . . Experts will appreciate Burgess's sophisticated understanding of biodiversity, while concerned lay readers will enjoy her informed and uncluttered analysis."--Publishers Weekly
"A short but important 'read' . . . Not a scientific book, but rather one of history, policy, and hope. Overall, Burgess has done an excellent job of bringing to the forefront of the ESA debate a 'real-life drama with fascinating characters, breathtaking actions, and heartbreaking inaction.'"--Journal of Mammalogy
"[A] highly readable and useful volume."--John Sheail, Natural Environment Research Council, UK
"Provides a factual and balanced perspective of the views of the 'Enviros' on one side of this issue, and private property rights advocates on the other . . . Meticulously researched and referenced, this is a valuable resource for students, conservation biologists, public policy makers, environmental lawyers, or anyone interested in the inner workings of environmental legislation."--Southeastern Naturalist
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