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1 Beaverton Nature Studies- Natural History

Sacred Sea: A Journey to Lake Baikal

by

Sacred Sea: A Journey to Lake Baikal Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Absoliutno blagopoluchnoe ozero Baikal!" the Russian scientist looking out over the great lake says. "Lake Baikal is Perfect!" And humans can never harm it.

For a man cut loose from his life in the U.S., Lake Baikal-Siberia's sacred inland sea-becomes a place of pilgrimage, the focal point of a 25,000-mile journey by land and sea in search of connection, permanence, restoration and hope.

Following a difficult divorce, veteran environmental journalist Peter Thomson sets off from Boston with his younger brother for one of nature's most remarkable creations, in one of the farthest corners of the planet. Lake Baikal, a gargantuan crack in the Siberian plateau, is the world's largest body of fresh water, its deepest and oldest lake, and a cauldron of evolution, home to hundreds of unique creatures, including the world's only freshwater seal. It's also among the most pristine lakes on earth, with a mythical ability to protect itself from the growing human impact — a "perfect," self-cleansing ecosystem.

A trip halfway around the world by train, cargo ship and rubber raft brings the brothers to a place of sublime beauty, deep history and immense natural power. But at Baikal they also find ominous signs that this perfect piece of nature could yet succumb to the even more powerful forces of human hubris, carelessness and ignorance. They find that despite its isolation, Baikal is connected to everything else on Earth, and that it will need the love and devotion of people around the world to protect it.

On their trek to and from Siberia the author and his brother also encounter a stream of people who are also lonely, displaced and yearning for something beyond the limits of their own lives, but many of whom are also big-hearted and deeply connected to their own communities and the world around them. What begins as a search for restoration in nature becomes as well a discovery of the restorative power of trust, faith and human connection.

Features:

  • Blends personal narrative, natural history, environmental science, and cultural studies to show Lake Baikal's impact on Russian people, and vice versa.
  • Contains vivid descriptions of current environmental issues in Russia and by extension Eastern Europe, Japan, and Alaska.
  • Though Lake Baikal is the largest and deepest body of fresh water in the world and one of natures most magnificent and singular creations — it holds one-fifth of the worlds liquid fresh water in a basin more than a mile deep — it is nearly unknown outside of Russia. Sacred Sea ,the first in-depth journalistic examination of Baikal from a major English-language publisher, introduces Baikal to a new audience.

Review:

"'Environmental journalist Thomson, founding producer and senior editor of National Public Radio's 'Living on Earth,' combines introspection with objective reporting in this engaging account of his six-month pilgrimage to Siberia's Lake Baikal, the deepest, oldest and supposedly purest body of fresh water on earth. Thomson includes everything from thoughts about his failed marriage and his relationship with his brother and fellow traveler James to colorful impressions of the people he meets as he documents his quest, shattering the myth of the lake's reputed capacity to cleanse itself. Researchers tell him that the air and water are full of thousands of tons of pollutants and contaminants from Baikal's paper mill and nearby farms, industry and power plants. Tiny filter-feeding shrimp do cleanse the water, but in the process they move the contaminants into the food chain and concentrate them, so the fish eaten by the people living around Lake Baikal now pose a serious health threat. Nevertheless, many Russians continue to believe that the waters of the Sacred Sea are pristine. Thomson's book is a lucid and sobering reminder of the destructive effects human activity has on the planet. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Traveling through woods, streams, hills, mountains, and pristine lakes, they had quite a voyage, and this in-depth recapitulation is absorbing in its detail." Booklist

Review:

"Sacred Sea tells the story of an unforgettable journey to an extraordinary place. More then a travelogue, the book is a meditation on faith and home and purity in a world marked by contamination and impermanence. For anyone who has ever though of ditching it all and heading for the middle of nowhere, Peter Thomson offers a lesson both unsettling and surprisingly hopeful: there is no escape from humanity." David Baron, Public Radio's The World

Review:

"The book is beautifully written and his descriptions make the landscape come alive: I couldn't help shivering when he jumps into the lake. As you travel with him you'll be transported far, far away — the perfect antidote to a dull day at the office." BBC Focus Magazine

Review:

"Exhaustively researched and lyrically written — a welcome addition to any library." Kirkus Review

Synopsis:

Absoliutno blagopoluchnoe ozero Baikal the Russian scientist looking out over the great lake says. Lake Baikal is Perfect And humans can never harm it.

For a man cut loose from his life in the U.S., Lake Baikal-Siberia's sacred inland sea-becomes a place of pilgrimage, the focal point of a 25,000-mile journey by land and sea in search of connection, permanence, restoration and hope.

Following a difficult divorce, veteran environmental journalist Peter Thomson sets off from Boston with his younger brother for one of nature's most remarkable creations, in one of the farthest corners of the planet. Lake Baikal, a gargantuan crack in the Siberian plateau, is the world's largest

body of fresh water, its deepest and oldest lake, and a cauldron of evolution, home to hundreds of unique creatures, including the world's only freshwater seal. It's also among the most pristine lakes on earth, with a mythical ability to protect itself from the growing human impact-a perfect,

self-cleansing ecosystem.

A trip halfway around the world by train, cargo ship and rubber raft brings the brothers to a place of sublime beauty, deep history and immense natural power. But at Baikal they also find ominous signs that this perfect piece of nature could yet succumb to the even more powerful forces of human

hubris, carelessness and ignorance. They find that despite its isolation, Baikal is connected to everything else on Earth, and that it will need the love and devotion of people around the world to protect it.

On their trek to and from Siberia the author and his brother also encounter a stream of people who are also lonely, displaced and yearning for something beyond the limits oftheir own lives, but many of whom are also big-hearted and deeply connected to their own communities and the world around

them. What begins as a search for restoration in nature becomes as well a discovery of the restorative power of trust, faith and human connection.

About the Author

Peter Thomson is Founding Producer and Senior Editor of NPR's "Living on Earth" and recipient of 19 awards for excellence in broadcast journalism; currently freelance environmental journalist and member of Executive Committee of Society of Environmental Journalists.

Table of Contents

Author's Note

Prologue: Blagopoluchnoe

Part One: The Sacred Sea

1. A Flash of Blue Light

2. Songs and Whispers

3. The Earth Splits, Water Rushes In

4. Into the Lake-Shallow

5. Into the Lake-Deep

6. Buryatia, in Black and White and Color

7. On the Trail with Pod Boy and Monkey Mind

8. Bad Roads are Good for Baikal

9. Traveling and Staying Home

Part Two: 180@

10. The Long Way Home

11. The Great Circle

12. Zigzag to Russia

13. Power in the East

14. Across the Sleeping Land

15. Angels and Ghosts in Irkutsk

Part Three: Baikal, Too, Must Work

16. One of the Best Enterprises in Russia

17. Righteousness, Uncertainty and the Point of No Return

18. Connecting the Dots

19. Dr. Hope and Dr. Despair

20. Blind Love is a Dangerous Thing

21. 360°

Epilogue: The Great Baikal Chain

Acknowledgments

Illustration Credits

Source Notes and Further Reading

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195170511
Author:
Thomson, Peter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
null, Peter
Subject:
Description and travel
Subject:
Lakes & Ponds
Subject:
Environmental Science
Subject:
Natural history
Subject:
Earth Sciences | Ecology
Subject:
Ecology
Subject:
Travel
Subject:
Natural history -- Russia (Federation)
Subject:
Thomson, Peter - Travel -
Subject:
Ecosystems & Habitats - Lakes, Ponds & Swamps
Subject:
Nature Studies-Biology
Subject:
Earth Sci
Subject:
ences | Ecology
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20070831
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
60 halftones
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
6.4 x 9.3 x 1 in 1.294 lb

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Related Subjects

Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Environment
Science and Mathematics » Geology » Earth Sciences
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Biology
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Europe and Russia
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Natural History » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics

Sacred Sea: A Journey to Lake Baikal Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195170511 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'Environmental journalist Thomson, founding producer and senior editor of National Public Radio's 'Living on Earth,' combines introspection with objective reporting in this engaging account of his six-month pilgrimage to Siberia's Lake Baikal, the deepest, oldest and supposedly purest body of fresh water on earth. Thomson includes everything from thoughts about his failed marriage and his relationship with his brother and fellow traveler James to colorful impressions of the people he meets as he documents his quest, shattering the myth of the lake's reputed capacity to cleanse itself. Researchers tell him that the air and water are full of thousands of tons of pollutants and contaminants from Baikal's paper mill and nearby farms, industry and power plants. Tiny filter-feeding shrimp do cleanse the water, but in the process they move the contaminants into the food chain and concentrate them, so the fish eaten by the people living around Lake Baikal now pose a serious health threat. Nevertheless, many Russians continue to believe that the waters of the Sacred Sea are pristine. Thomson's book is a lucid and sobering reminder of the destructive effects human activity has on the planet. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Traveling through woods, streams, hills, mountains, and pristine lakes, they had quite a voyage, and this in-depth recapitulation is absorbing in its detail."
"Review" by , "Sacred Sea tells the story of an unforgettable journey to an extraordinary place. More then a travelogue, the book is a meditation on faith and home and purity in a world marked by contamination and impermanence. For anyone who has ever though of ditching it all and heading for the middle of nowhere, Peter Thomson offers a lesson both unsettling and surprisingly hopeful: there is no escape from humanity."
"Review" by , "The book is beautifully written and his descriptions make the landscape come alive: I couldn't help shivering when he jumps into the lake. As you travel with him you'll be transported far, far away — the perfect antidote to a dull day at the office."
"Review" by , "Exhaustively researched and lyrically written — a welcome addition to any library."
"Synopsis" by , Absoliutno blagopoluchnoe ozero Baikal the Russian scientist looking out over the great lake says. Lake Baikal is Perfect And humans can never harm it.

For a man cut loose from his life in the U.S., Lake Baikal-Siberia's sacred inland sea-becomes a place of pilgrimage, the focal point of a 25,000-mile journey by land and sea in search of connection, permanence, restoration and hope.

Following a difficult divorce, veteran environmental journalist Peter Thomson sets off from Boston with his younger brother for one of nature's most remarkable creations, in one of the farthest corners of the planet. Lake Baikal, a gargantuan crack in the Siberian plateau, is the world's largest

body of fresh water, its deepest and oldest lake, and a cauldron of evolution, home to hundreds of unique creatures, including the world's only freshwater seal. It's also among the most pristine lakes on earth, with a mythical ability to protect itself from the growing human impact-a perfect,

self-cleansing ecosystem.

A trip halfway around the world by train, cargo ship and rubber raft brings the brothers to a place of sublime beauty, deep history and immense natural power. But at Baikal they also find ominous signs that this perfect piece of nature could yet succumb to the even more powerful forces of human

hubris, carelessness and ignorance. They find that despite its isolation, Baikal is connected to everything else on Earth, and that it will need the love and devotion of people around the world to protect it.

On their trek to and from Siberia the author and his brother also encounter a stream of people who are also lonely, displaced and yearning for something beyond the limits oftheir own lives, but many of whom are also big-hearted and deeply connected to their own communities and the world around

them. What begins as a search for restoration in nature becomes as well a discovery of the restorative power of trust, faith and human connection.

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