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Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?

by

Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From John Muir to David Brower, from the creation of Yellowstone National Park to the Endangered Species Act, environmentalism in America has always had close to its core a preservationist ideal. Generations have been inspired by its ethosandmdash;to encircle nature with our protection, to keep it apart, pristine, walled against the march of human development. But we have to face the facts. Accelerating climate change, rapid urbanization, agricultural and industrial devastation, metastasizing fire regimes, and other quickening anthropogenic forces all attest to the same truth: the earth is now spinning through the age of humans. After Preservation takes stock of the ways we have tried to both preserve and exploit nature to ask a direct but profound question: what is the role of preservationism in an era of seemingly unstoppable human development, in what some have called the Anthropocene?

and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;

Ben A. Minteer and Stephen J. Pyne bring together a stunning consortium of voices comprised of renowned scientists, historians, philosophers, environmental writers, activists, policy makers, and land managers to negotiate the incredible challenges that environmentalism faces. Some call for a new, post-preservationist model, one that is far more pragmatic, interventionist, and human-centered. Others push forcefully back, arguing for a more chastened and restrained vision of human action on the earth. Some try to establish a middle ground, while others ruminate more deeply on the meaning and value of wilderness. Some write on species lost, others on species saved, and yet others discuss the enduring practical challenges of managing our land, water, and air.

From spirited optimism to careful prudence to critical skepticism, the resulting range of approaches offers an inspiring contribution to the landscape of modern environmentalism, one driven by serious, sustained engagements with the critical problems we must solve if weandmdash;and the wild garden we may now keepandmdash;are going to survive the era we have ushered in. and#160;

Contributors include: Chelsea K. Batavia, F. Stuart (Terry) Chapin III, Norman L. Christensen, Jamie Rappaport Clark, William Wallace Covington, Erle C. Ellis, Mark Fiege, Dave Foreman, Harry W. Greene, Emma Marris, Michelle Marvier, Bill McKibben, J. R. McNeill, Curt Meine, Ben A. Minteer, Michael Paul Nelson, Bryan Norton, Stephen J. Pyne, Andrew C. Revkin, Holmes Rolston III, Amy Seidl, Jack Ward Thomas, Diane J. Vosick, John A. Vucetich, and Hazel Wong.and#160;

Synopsis:

A powerful investigation into the chances for humanity's future from the author of the bestseller The World Without Us.

In his bestselling book The World Without Us, Alan Weisman considered how the Earth could heal and even refill empty niches if relieved of humanity's constant pressures. Behind that groundbreaking thought experiment was his hope that we would be inspired to find a way to add humans back to this vision of a restored, healthy planet-only in harmony, not mortal combat, with the rest of nature.

But with a million more of us every 4 1/2 days on a planet that's not getting any bigger, and with our exhaust overheating the atmosphere and altering the chemistry of the oceans, prospects for a sustainable human future seem ever more in doubt. For this long awaited follow-up book, Weisman traveled to more than 20 countries to ask what experts agreed were probably the most important questions on Earth--and also the hardest: How many humans can the planet hold without capsizing? How robust must the Earth's ecosystem be to assure our continued existence? Can we know which other species are essential to our survival? And, how might we actually arrive at a stable, optimum population, and design an economy to allow genuine prosperity without endless growth?

Weisman visits an extraordinary range of the world's cultures, religions, nationalities, tribes, and political systems to learn what in their beliefs, histories, liturgies, or current circumstances might suggest that sometimes it's in their own best interest to limit their growth. The result is a landmark work of reporting: devastating, urgent, and, ultimately, deeply hopeful.

By vividly detailing the burgeoning effects of our cumulative presence, Countdown reveals what may be the fastest, most acceptable, practical, and affordable way of returning our planet and our presence on it to balance. Weisman again shows that he is one of the most provocative journalists at work today, with a book whose message is so compelling that it will change how we see our lives and our destiny.

About the Author

Alan Weisman is the author of several books, including The World Without Us: an international best-seller translated in 34 languages, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and winner of the Wenjin Book Prize of the National Library of China. His work has been selected for many anthologies, including Best American Science Writing. An award-winning journalist, his reports have appeared in Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Discover, Vanity Fair, Wilson Quarterly, Mother Jones, and Orion, and on NPR. A former contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times Magazine, he is a senior radio producer for Homelands Productions. He lives in western Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Writing on Stone, Writing in the Wind

Ben A. Minteer and Stephen J. Pyne

Restoring the Nature of America

Andrew C. Revkin,

Nature Preservation and Political Power in the Anthropocene

J. R. McNeill

Too Big for Nature

Erle C. Ellis

After Preservation?and#160; Dynamic Nature in the Anthropocene

Holmes Rolston III

Humility in the Anthropocene

Emma Marris

The Anthropocene and Ozymandias

Dave Foreman

The Higher Altruism

Donald Worster

The Anthropocene: Disturbing Name, Limited Insight

John A. Vucetich, Michael Paul Nelson, and Chelsea K. Batavia

Ecology and the Human Future

Bryan Norton

A Letter to the Editors:and#160; In Defense of the Relative Wild

Curt Meine

When Extinction Is a Virtue

Ben A. Minteer

Pleistocene Rewilding and the Future of Biodiversity

Harry W. Greene

The Democratic Promise of Nature Preservation

Mark Fiege

Green Fire Meets Red Fire

Stephen J. Pyne

Restoration, Preservation, and Conservation: An Example for Dry Forests of the West

William Wallace Covington and Diane J. Vosick

Preserving Nature on US Federal Lands: Managing Change in the Context of Change

Norman L. Christensen

After Preservationandmdash;the Case of the Northern Spotted Owl

Jack Ward Thomas

Celebrating and Shaping Nature: Conservation in a Rapidly Changing World

F. Stuart Chapin III

Move Over Grizzly Adamsandmdash;Conservation for the Rest of Us

Michelle Marvier and Hazel Wong

Endangered Species Conservation: Then and Now

Jamie Rappaport Clark

Resembling the Cosmic Rhythms: The Evolution of Nature and Stewardship in the Age of Humans

Amy Seidl

Coda

Bill McKibben

Notes

Contributors

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780316097741
Subtitle:
Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?
Author:
Weisman, Alan
Author:
Pyne, Stephen J.
Author:
Minteer, Ben A.
Publisher:
Back Bay Books
Subject:
Politics - General
Subject:
Ecology
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20140506
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
18 halftones, 1 line drawing
Pages:
528
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » New Arrivals » Nonfiction
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » International Studies
History and Social Science » Sociology » Future Studies
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Environment
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General

Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? New Trade Paper
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Product details 528 pages Back Bay Books - English 9780316097741 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A powerful investigation into the chances for humanity's future from the author of the bestseller The World Without Us.

In his bestselling book The World Without Us, Alan Weisman considered how the Earth could heal and even refill empty niches if relieved of humanity's constant pressures. Behind that groundbreaking thought experiment was his hope that we would be inspired to find a way to add humans back to this vision of a restored, healthy planet-only in harmony, not mortal combat, with the rest of nature.

But with a million more of us every 4 1/2 days on a planet that's not getting any bigger, and with our exhaust overheating the atmosphere and altering the chemistry of the oceans, prospects for a sustainable human future seem ever more in doubt. For this long awaited follow-up book, Weisman traveled to more than 20 countries to ask what experts agreed were probably the most important questions on Earth--and also the hardest: How many humans can the planet hold without capsizing? How robust must the Earth's ecosystem be to assure our continued existence? Can we know which other species are essential to our survival? And, how might we actually arrive at a stable, optimum population, and design an economy to allow genuine prosperity without endless growth?

Weisman visits an extraordinary range of the world's cultures, religions, nationalities, tribes, and political systems to learn what in their beliefs, histories, liturgies, or current circumstances might suggest that sometimes it's in their own best interest to limit their growth. The result is a landmark work of reporting: devastating, urgent, and, ultimately, deeply hopeful.

By vividly detailing the burgeoning effects of our cumulative presence, Countdown reveals what may be the fastest, most acceptable, practical, and affordable way of returning our planet and our presence on it to balance. Weisman again shows that he is one of the most provocative journalists at work today, with a book whose message is so compelling that it will change how we see our lives and our destiny.

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