"A history of the human brain from the big bang, fifteen billion years ago, to the day before yesterday...It's a delight."
THE NEW YORK TIMES
From the Paperback edition.
That August, a strange, prolonged heat wave gripped the nation and killed scores of people in New York and Chicago. Odd things seemed to happen everywhere: A plague of crickets engulfed Waco. The Bering Glacier began to shrink. Rain fell on Galveston with greater intensity than anyone could remember. Far away, in Africa, immense thunderstorms blossomed over the city of Dakar, and great currents of wind converged. A wave of atmospheric turbulence slipped from the coast of western Africa. Most such waves faded quickly. This one did not.
In Cuba, America's overconfidence was made all too obvious by the Weather Bureau's obsession with controlling hurricane forecasts, even though Cuba's indigenous weathermen had pioneered hurricane science. As the bureau's forecasters assured the nation that all was calm in the Caribbean, Cuba's own weathermen fretted about ominous signs in the sky. A curious stillness gripped Antigua. Only a few unlucky sea captains discovered that the storm had achieved an intensity no man alive had ever experienced.
In Galveston, reassured by Cline's belief that no hurricane could seriously damage the city, there was celebration. Children played in the rising water. Hundreds of people gathered at the beach to marvel at the fantastically tall waves and gorgeous pink sky, until the surf began ripping the city's beloved beachfront apart. Within the next few hours Galveston would endure a hurricane that to this day remains the nation's deadliest natural disaster. In Galveston alone at least 6,000 people, possibly as many as 10,000, would lose their lives, a number far greater than the combined death toll of the Johnstown Flood and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.
And Isaac Cline would experience his own unbearable loss.
Meticulously researched and vividly written, Isaac's Storm is based on Cline's own letters, telegrams, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the hows and whys of great storms. Ultimately, however, it is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets nature's last great uncontrollable force. As such, Isaac's Storm carries a warning for our time.
From the Hardcover edition.
A New York Times 2016 Notable Book
National Best Seller
Named one of TIME magazine’s "100 Most Influential People"
An Amazon Top 20 Best Book of 2016
A Washington Post Best Memoir of 2016
A TIME and Entertainment Weekly Best Book of 2016
An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world
Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more.
Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.
Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home.
Jahren’s probing look at plants, her astonishing tenacity of spirit, and her acute insights on nature enliven every page of this extraordinary book. Lab Girl opens your eyes to the beautiful, sophisticated mechanisms within every leaf, blade of grass, and flower petal. Here is an eloquent demonstration of what can happen when you find the stamina, passion, and sense of sacrifice needed to make a life out of what you truly love, as you discover along the way the person you were meant to be.
This provocative book introduces a brand-new view of technology. It suggests that technology as a whole is not a jumble of wires and metal but a living, evolving organism that has its own unconscious needs and tendencies. Kevin Kelly looks out through the eyes of this global technological system to discover "what it wants." He uses vivid examples from the past to trace technology's long course and then follows a dozen trajectories of technology into the near future to project where technology is headed. This new theory of technology offers three practical lessons: By listening to what technology wants we can better prepare ourselves and our children for the inevitable technologies to come. By adopting the principles of pro-action and engagement, we can steer technologies into their best roles. And by aligning ourselves with the long-term imperatives of this near-living system, we can capture its full gifts. Written in intelligent and accessible language, this is a fascinating, innovative, and optimistic look at how humanity and technology join to produce increasing opportunities in the world and how technology can give our lives greater meaning.
From the Hardcover edition.
The updated science in this exciting new edition strengthens the case for banning poisons now pervasive in our air, our food, and our bodies. Because synthetic chemicals linked to cancer come mostly from petroleum and coal, Steingraber shows that investing in green energy also helps prevent cancer. Saving the planet becomes a matter of saving ourselves and an issue of human rights. A documentary film based on the book will coincide with publication.
Bringing readers on a lively and fascinating journey— from the wet moons of Saturn to the water-obsessed hotels of Las Vegas, where dolphins swim in the desert, and from a rice farm in the parched Australian outback to a high-tech IBM plant that makes an exotic breed of pure water found nowhere in nature—Fishman vividly shows that we’ve already left behind a century-long golden age when water was thoughtlessly abundant, free, and safe and entered a new era of high-stakes water. In 2008, Atlanta came within ninety days of running entirely out of clean water. California is in a desperate battle to hold off a water catastrophe. And in the last five years Australia nearly ran out of water—and had to scramble to reinvent the country’s entire water system. But as dramatic as the challenges are, the deeper truth Fishman reveals is that there is no good reason for us to be overtaken by a global water crisis. We have more than enough water. We just don’t think about it, or use it, smartly.
The Big Thirst brilliantly explores our strange and complex relationship to water. We delight in watching waves roll in from the ocean; we take great comfort from sliding into a hot bath; and we will pay a thousand times the price of tap water to drink our preferred brand of the bottled version. We love water—but at the moment, we don’t appreciate it or respect it. Just as we’ve begun to reimagine our relationship to food, a change that is driving the growth of the organic and local food movements, we must also rethink how we approach and use water. The good news is that we can. As Fishman shows, a host of advances are under way, from the simplicity of harvesting rainwater to the brilliant innovations devised by companies such as IBM, GE, and Royal Caribbean that are making impressive breakthroughs in water productivity. Knowing what to do is not the problem. Ultimately, the hardest part is changing our water consciousness.
As Charles Fishman writes, “Many civilizations have been crippled or destroyed by an inability to understand water or manage it. We have a huge advantage over the generations of people who have come before us, because we can understand water and we can use it smartly.” The Big Thirst will forever change the way we think about water, about our essential relationship to it, and about the creativity we can bring to ensuring that we’ll always have plenty of it.
The basic science goes like this: Microscopic cells called “mycelium”--the fruit of which are mushrooms--recycle carbon, nitrogen, and other essential elements as they break down plant and animal debris in the creation of rich new soil. What Stamets has discovered is that we can capitalize on mycelium’s digestive power and target it to decompose toxic wastes and pollutants (mycoremediation), catch and reduce silt from streambeds and pathogens from agricultural watersheds (mycofiltration), control insect populations (mycopesticides), and generally enhance the health of our forests and gardens (mycoforestry and myco-gardening).
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find chapters detailing each of these four exciting branches of what Stamets has coined “mycorestoration,” as well as chapters on the medicinal and nutritional properties of mushrooms, inoculation methods, log and stump culture, and species selection for various environmental purposes. Heavily referenced and beautifully illustrated, this book is destined to be a classic reference for bemushroomed generations to come.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Drawn from the ranks of the Navy SEALs, Delta Force, former Blackwater and other private security contractors, the CIA's Special Activities Division and the Joint Special Operations Command ( JSOC), these elite soldiers operate worldwide, with thousands of secret commandos working in more than one hundred countries. Funded through “black budgets,” Special Operations Forces conduct missions in denied areas, engage in targeted killings, snatch and grab individuals and direct drone, AC-130 and cruise missile strikes. While the Bush administration deployed these ghost militias, President Barack Obama has expanded their operations and given them new scope and legitimacy.
Dirty Wars follows the consequences of the declaration that “the world is a battlefield,” as Scahill uncovers the most important foreign policy story of our time. From Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia and beyond, Scahill reports from the frontlines in this high-stakes investigation and explores the depths of America's global killing machine. He goes beneath the surface of these covert wars, conducted in the shadows, outside the range of the press, without effective congressional oversight or public debate. And, based on unprecedented access, Scahill tells the chilling story of an American citizen marked for assassination by his own government.
As US leaders draw the country deeper into conflicts across the globe, setting the world stage for enormous destabilization and blowback, Americans are not only at greater risk—we are changing as a nation. Scahill unmasks the shadow warriors who prosecute these secret wars and puts a human face on the casualties of unaccountable violence that is now official policy: victims of night raids, secret prisons, cruise missile attacks and drone strikes, and whole classes of people branded as “suspected militants.” Through his brave reporting, Scahill exposes the true nature of the dirty wars the United States government struggles to keep hidden.
The vast majority of scientists agree that human activity has significantly increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—most dramatically since the 1970s. Yet global warming skeptics and ill-informed elected officials continue to dismiss this broad scientific consensus.
In this new edition of his authoritative book, MIT atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel—a political conservative—outlines the basic science of global warming and how the current consensus has emerged. He also covers two major developments that have occurred since the first edition: the most recent round of updated projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate simulations, and the so-called “climategate” incident that heralded the subsequent collapse of popular and political support in the United States for dealing with climate change.
NATIONAL BEST SELLER
One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, The James Wright Award for Nature Writing, the Costa Biography Award, the Royal Geographic Society's Ness Award, the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award
Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the Kirkus Prize Prize for Nonfiction, the Independent Bookshop Week Book Award
A Best Book of the Year: The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Economist, Nature, Jezebel, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, New Scientist, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Evening Standard, The Spectator
Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. In North America, his name still graces four counties, thirteen towns, a river, parks, bays, lakes, and mountains. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether he was climbing the highest volcanoes in the world or racing through anthrax-infected Siberia or translating his research into bestselling publications that changed science and thinking. Among Humboldt’s most revolutionary ideas was a radical vision of nature, that it is a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the use of humankind alone.
Now Andrea Wulf brings the man and his achievements back into focus: his daring expeditions and investigation of wild environments around the world and his discoveries of similarities between climate and vegetation zones on different continents. She also discusses his prediction of human-induced climate change, his remarkable ability to fashion poetic narrative out of scientific observation, and his relationships with iconic figures such as Simón Bolívar and Thomas Jefferson. Wulf examines how Humboldt’s writings inspired other naturalists and poets such as Darwin, Wordsworth, and Goethe, and she makes the compelling case that it was Humboldt’s influence that led John Muir to his ideas of natural preservation and that shaped Thoreau’s Walden.
With this brilliantly researched and compellingly written book, Andrea Wulf shows the myriad fundamental ways in which Humboldt created our understanding of the natural world, and she champions a renewed interest in this vital and lost player in environmental history and science.
From the Hardcover edition.
From the earliest times, respecting our interdependent relationship with nature has been the first step toward spirituality. Earth, air, fire and water are the four elements worshiped in many indigenous cultures and celebrated in earth–based spiritualities such as Wicca. In The Earth Path, America's best–known witch offers readers a primer on how to open our eyes to the world around us, respect nature's delicate balance, and draw upon its tremendous powers.
Filled with inspiring meditations, chants, and blessings, it offers healing for the spirit in a stressed world and helps readers find their own sources of strength and renewal.
Will appeal to Starhawk's traditional Pagan, New Age, and feminist readership.
Young women newly interested in magic and witchcraft.
A new and growing generation of those involved in ecology
First invented in 1947, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has not only become a major source of energy, it is changing the way we use energy, and the energy we use. It is both a threat and a godsend for the environment, and it is leading the revival of manufacturing in the United States.
A definitive narrative history, The Boom follows the twists and turns in the development and adoption of this radical technology. It is a thrilling journey filled with colorful characters: the green-minded Texas oilman who created the first modern frack; a bare-knuckled Oklahoman natural gas empire-builder who gave the world an enormous new supply of energy and was brought down by his own success and excesses; an environmental leader whose embrace of fracking brought an end to his public career; and an aging fracking pioneer who is now trying to save the industry from itself.
A fascinating and exciting exploration of one of the most controversial and promising sources of energy, The Boom “brings new clarity to a subject awash in hype from all sides…a thoughtful, well-written, and carefully researched book that provides the best overview yet of the pros and cons of fracking. Gold quietly leads both supporters and critics of drilling to consider other views” (Associated Press).
· Honestly and thoroughly tackles a subject vital to ongoing environmental, health, and safety concerns
· Shows how to avoid bogus safety tests, scams, and unnecessary expenditures
· Explains the toxins in our water, how to test for them, and how to get rid of them
· Details which toxins aren't regulated by federal and state water standards
Meadows, Randers, and Meadows are international environmental leaders recognized for their groundbreaking research into early signs of wear on the planet. Citing climate change as the most tangible example of our current overshoot, the scientists now provide us with an updated scenario and a plan to reduce our needs to meet the carrying capacity of the planet.
Over the past three decades, population growth and global warming have forged on with a striking semblance to the scenarios laid out by the World3 computer model in the original Limits to Growth. While Meadows, Randers, and Meadows do not make a practice of predicting future environmental degradation, they offer an analysis of present and future trends in resource use, and assess a variety of possible outcomes.
In many ways, the message contained in Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update is a warning. Overshoot cannot be sustained without collapse. But, as the authors are careful to point out, there is reason to believe that humanity can still reverse some of its damage to Earth if it takes appropriate measures to reduce inefficiency and waste.
Written in refreshingly accessible prose, Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update is a long anticipated revival of some of the original voices in the growing chorus of sustainability. Limits to Growth: The 30 Year Update is a work of stunning intelligence that will expose for humanity the hazy but critical line between human growth and human development.
In The World Without Us, Alan Weisman offers an utterly original approach to questions of humanity's impact on the planet: he asks us to envision our Earth, without us.In this far-reaching narrative, Weisman explains how our massive infrastructure would collapse and finally vanish without human presence; which everyday items may become immortalized as fossils; how copper pipes and wiring would be crushed into mere seams of reddish rock; why some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left; and how plastic, bronze sculpture, radio waves, and some man-made molecules may be our most lasting gifts to the universe.
The World Without Us reveals how, just days after humans disappear, floods in New York's subways would start eroding the city's foundations, and how, as the world's cities crumble, asphalt jungles would give way to real ones. It describes the distinct ways that organic and chemically treated farms would revert to wild, how billions more birds would flourish, and how cockroaches in unheated cities would perish without us. Drawing on the expertise of engineers, atmospheric scientists, art conservators, zoologists, oil refiners, marine biologists, astrophysicists, religious leaders from rabbis to the Dali Lama, and paleontologists---who describe a prehuman world inhabited by megafauna like giant sloths that stood taller than mammoths---Weisman illustrates what the planet might be like today, if not for us.
From places already devoid of humans (a last fragment of primeval European forest; the Korean DMZ; Chernobyl), Weisman reveals Earth's tremendous capacity for self-healing. As he shows which human devastations are indelible, and which examples of our highest art and culture would endure longest, Weisman's narrative ultimately drives toward a radical but persuasive solution that needn't depend on our demise. It is narrative nonfiction at its finest, and in posing an irresistible concept with both gravity and a highly readable touch, it looks deeply at our effects on the planet in a way that no other book has.
Although the threat of human-caused climate change is now widely recognized, politicians have failed to connect policy with the science, responding instead with ineffectual remedies dictated by special interests. Hansen shows why President Obama's solution, cap-and-trade, which Al Gore has signed on to, won't work; why we must phase out all coal, and why 350 ppm of carbon dioxide is a goal we must achieve if our children and grandchildren are to avoid global meltdown and the storms of the book's title. This urgent manifesto bucks conventional wisdom(including the Kyoto Protocol) and is sure to stir controversy, but Hansen-whose climate predictions have come to pass again and again, beginning in the 1980s when he first warned Congress about global warming-is the single most credible voice on the subject worldwide. Hansen paints a devastating but all-too-realistic picture of what will happen in the near future, mere years and decades from now, if we follow the course we're on. But he is also an optimist, showing that there is still time to do what we need to save the planet.
Urgent, strong action is needed, and this book will be key in setting the agenda going forward to create a groundswell, a tipping point, to save humanity-and our grandchildren-from a dire fate more imminent than we had supposed.
Sixty easy-to-read entries tackle such questions as: Is climate ever “normal”? Why and how do fossil-fuel burning and other human practices produce greenhouse gases? What natural forces have caused climate change in the past? What risks does climate change pose for human health? What accounts for the diminishment of mountain glaciers and small ice caps around the world since 1850? What are the economic costs and benefits of reducing carbon emissions?
Global Weirdness enlarges our understanding of how climate change affects our daily lives, and arms us with the incontrovertible facts we need to make informed decisions about the future of the planet and of humankind.
With black-and-white images interspersed throughout.
From the Hardcover edition.
From Ventura to Laguna, more than one million Southern Californians have been directly touched by disaster-related death, injury, or damage to their homes and businesses. Middle-class apprehensions about angry underclasses are exceeded only by anxieties about blind thrust faults underlying downtown L.A. or about the firestorms that periodically incinerate Malibu. And the force of real catastrophe has been redoubled by the obsessive fictional destruction of Los Angeles--by aliens, comets, and twisters--in scores of novels and films. The former "Land of Sunshine" is now seen by much of the world, including many of L.A.'s increasingly nervous residents, as a veritable Book of the Apocalypse theme park.
In this extraordinary book, Mike Davis, the author of City of Quartz and our most fascinating interpreter of the American metropolis, unravels the secret political history of disaster, real and imaginary, in Southern California. As he surveys the earthquakes of Santa Monica, the burning of Koreatown, the invasion of "man-eating" mountain lions, the movie Volcano, and even Los Angeles's underrated tornado problem, he exposes the deep complicity between social injustice and perceptions of natural disorder. Arguing that paranoia about nature obscures the fact that Los Angeles has deliberately put itself in harm's way, Davis reveals how market-driven urbanization has for generations transgressed against environmental common sense. And he shows that the floods, fires, and earthquakes reaped by the city were tragedies as avoidable--and unnatural--as the beating of Rodney King and the ensuing explosion in the streets.
Rich with detail, bold and original, Ecology of Fear is a gripping reconnaissance into the urban future, an essential portrait of America at the millennium.
In 1997, environmentalist Charles Moore discovered the world's largest collection of floating trash—the Great Pacific Garbage Patch ("GPGP")—while sailing from Hawaii to California. Moore was shocked by the level of pollution that he saw. And in the last 20 years, it's only gotten worse—a 2018 study has found that the vast dump of plastic waste swirling in the Pacific Ocean is now bigger than France, Germany, and Spain combined—far larger than previously feared.
In Plastic Ocean, Moore recounts his ominous findings and unveils the secret life of plastics. From milk jugs and abandoned fishing gear to polymer molecules small enough to penetrate human skin and be unknowingly inhaled, plastic is now suspected of contributing to a host of ailments, including infertility, autism, thyroid dysfunction, and certain cancers. An urgent call to action, Plastic Ocean's sobering revalations have been embraced by activists, concerned parents, and anyone alarmed by the deadly impact and implications of this man-made environmental catastrophe.
The Everglades was America's last frontier, a wild country long after the West was won. Grunwald chronicles how a series of visionaries tried to drain and "reclaim" it, and how Mother Nature refused to bend to their will; in the most harrowing tale, a 1928 hurricane drowned 2,500 people in the Everglades. But the Army Corps of Engineers finally tamed the beast with levees and canals, converting half the Everglades into sprawling suburbs and sugar plantations. And though the southern Everglades was preserved as a national park, it soon deteriorated into an ecological mess. The River of Grass stopped flowing, and 90 percent of its wading birds vanished.
Now America wants its swamp back. Grunwald shows how a new breed of visionaries transformed Everglades politics, producing the $8 billion rescue plan. That plan is already the blueprint for a new worldwide era of ecosystem restoration. And this book is a cautionary tale for that era. Through gripping narrative and dogged reporting, Grunwald shows how the Everglades is still threatened by the same hubris, greed and well-intentioned folly that led to its decline.
Michael Shnayerson first traveled to the coal fields four years ago, on assignment for Vanity Fair. There he met an inspiring young lawyer named Joe Lovett, who was fighting mountaintop removal in court with a series of brilliant and daring lawsuits. He also met Judy Bonds, whose grassroots group, the Coal River Mountain Watch, was speaking out in a region where talking truth to power was both brave and dangerous. The two had joined forces to take on Massey Energy, the largest and most aggressive of the coal companies, and its swaggering, notorious chairman, Don Blankenship.
Coal River is Shnayerson's account of this dramatic struggle. From courtroom to boardroom, forest clearing to factory floor, Shnayerson gives us a novelistic and compelling portrait of the people who risked their reputations and livelihoods in the fight against King Coal.
This handy reference also explores the use of these techniques in actual environmental oil spills. Famous incidents discussed include the Exxon Valdez incident in 1989 and the Guanabara Bay, Brazil 2000. The authors chronicle both the successes and failures of the techniques used for each of these events.
Dr. Zhendi Wang is a senior research scientist and Head of Oil Spill Research of Environment Canada, working in the oil and toxic chemical spill research field. He has authored over 270 academic publications and won a number of national and international scientific honors and awards. Dr. Wang is a member of American Chemical Society (ACS), the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC), and the International Society of Environmental Forensics (ISEF).International experts show readers the forensic techniques used in oil spill investigationsProvides the theoretical basis and practical applications for investigative techniquesContains numerous case studies demonstrating proven technique
From pacemakers to disposable bags, plastic built the modern world. But a century into our love affair, we’re starting to realize it’s not such a healthy relationship. As journalist Susan Freinkel points out in this eye-opening book, we’re at a crisis point. Plastics draw on dwindling fossil fuels, leach harmful chemicals, litter landscapes, and destroy marine life. We’re drowning in the stuff, and we need to start making some hard choices.
Freinkel tells her story through eight familiar plastic objects: a comb, a chair, a Frisbee, an IV bag, a disposable lighter, a grocery bag, a soda bottle, and a credit card. With a blend of lively anecdotes and analysis, she sifts through scientific studies and economic data, reporting from China and across the United States to assess the real impact of plastic on our lives.
Her conclusion is severe, but not without hope. Plastic points the way toward a new creative partnership with the material we love, hate, and can’t seem to live without.
“When you write about something so ubiquitous as plastic, you must be prepared to write in several modes, and Freinkel rises to this task. . . . She manages to render the most dull chemical reaction into vigorous, breathless sentences.” —SF Gate
“Freinkel’s smart, well-written analysis of this love-hate relationship is likely to make plastic lovers take pause, plastic haters reluctantly realize its value, and all of us understand the importance of individual action, political will, and technological innovation in weaning us off our addiction to synthetics.” —Publishers Weekly
“A compulsively interesting story. Buy it (with cash).” —Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature
“What a great read—rigorous, smart, inspiring, and as seductive as plastic itself.” —Karim Rashid, designer
The question is no longer simply how can we stop climate change, but how can we as a civilization survive it.
The guiding values of modern culture have become dangerously obsolete in this new era. Yet as renowned environmental journalist Dianne Dumanoski shows, little has been done to avert the crisis or to prepare human societies for a time of growing instability. In a work of astonishing scope, Dumanoski deftly weaves history, science, and culture to show how the fundamental doctrines of modern society have impeded our ability to respond to this crisis and have fostered an economic globalization that is only increasing our vulnerability at this critical time. She exposes the fallacy of banking on a last-minute technological fix as well as the perilous trap of believing that humans can succeed in the quest to control nature. Only by restructuring our global civilization based on the principles that have allowed Earth’s life and our ancestors to survive catastrophe——diversity, redundancy, a degree of self-sufficiency, social solidarity, and an aversion to excessive integration——can we restore the flexibility needed to weather the trials ahead.
In this powerful and prescient book, Dumanoski moves beyond now-ubiquitous environmental buzzwords about green industries and clean energy to provide a new cultural map through this dangerous passage. Though the message is grave, it is not without hope. Lucid, eloquent, and urgent, The End of the Long Summer deserves a place alongside transformative works such as Silent Spring and The Fate of the Earth.
From the Hardcover edition.
The biosphere—the Earth's thin layer of life—dates from nearly four billion years ago, when the first simple organisms appeared. Many species have exerted enormous influence on the biosphere's character and productivity, but none has transformed the Earth in so many ways and on such a scale as Homo sapiens. In Harvesting the Biosphere, Vaclav Smil offers an interdisciplinary and quantitative account of human claims on the biosphere's stores of living matter, from prehistory to the present day. Smil examines all harvests—from prehistoric man's hunting of megafauna to modern crop production—and all uses of harvested biomass, including energy, food, and raw materials. Without harvesting of the biomass, Smil points out, there would be no story of human evolution and advancing civilization; but at the same time, the increasing extent and intensity of present-day biomass harvests are changing the very foundations of civilization's well-being.
In his detailed and comprehensive account, Smil presents the best possible quantifications of past and current global losses in order to assess the evolution and extent of biomass harvests. Drawing on the latest work in disciplines ranging from anthropology to environmental science, Smil offers a valuable long-term, planet-wide perspective on human-caused environmental change.
International water expert Brian Richter argues that sustainable water sharing in the twenty-first century can only happen through open, democratic dialogue and local collective action. In Chasing Water, Richter tells a cohesive and complete story of water scarcity: where it is happening, what is causing it, and how it can be addressed. Through his engaging and nontechnical style, he strips away the complexities of water management to its bare essentials, providing information and practical examples that will empower community leaders, activists, and students to develop successful and long-lasting water programs.
Chasing Water will provide local stakeholders with the tools and knowledge they need to take an active role in the watershed-based planning and implementation that are essential for water supplies to remain sustainable in perpetuity.
What, exactly, are the ghostly streaks of light astronauts see-but can't photograph-when they're in space? And why is it impossible for two people to see the exact same rainbow? Why are scientists beginning to think that the sun is safer than sunscreen? And how does the fluctuation of sunspots-and its heartbeat-affect everything from satellite communications to wheat production across the globe?
Peppered with mind-blowing facts and memorable anecdotes about spectral curiosities-the recently-discovered "second sun" that lurks beneath the solar surface, the eerie majesty of a total solar eclipse-THE SUN'S HEARTBEAT offers a robust and entertaining narrative of how the Sun has shaped humanity and our understanding of the universe around us.
Conventional agriculture destroys our soils, pollutes our water, and is a major contributor to climate change. What if our agricultural practices could stabilize, or even reverse these trends?
The Biochar Solution explores the dual function of biochar as a carbon-negative energy source and a potent soil-builder. Created by burning biomass in the absence of oxygen, this material has the unique ability to hold carbon back from the atmosphere while simultaneously enhancing soil fertility. Albert Bates traces the evolution of this extraordinary substance, from the ancient black soils of the Amazon to its reappearance as a modern carbon sequestration strategy.
Combining practical techniques for the production and use of biochar with an overview of the development and future of carbon farming, The Biochar Solution describes how a new agricultural revolution can reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to below zero while increasing world food reserves and creating energy from biomass wastes. Biochar and carbon farming can:
*Reduce fossil fuels inputs into our food system
*Bring new life to desert landscapes
*Filter and purify drinking water
*Help build carbon-negative homes, communities, and nations
Biochar is not without dangers if unregulated, and it is not a panacea, but if it fulfills its promise of taking us back from the brink of irreversible climate change, it may well be the most important discovery in human history.
More than 200 million years ago, a cataclysmic event known as the Permian extinction destroyed more than 90 percent of all species and nearly 97 percent of all living things. Its origins have long been a puzzle for paleontologists. During the 1990s and the early part of this century, a great battle was fought between those who thought that death had come from above and those who thought something more complicated was at work.
Paleontologist Peter. D. Ward, fresh from helping prove that an asteroid had killed the dinosaurs, turned to the Permian problem, and he has come to a stunning conclusion. In his investigations of the fates of several groups of mollusks during that extinction and others, he discovered that the near-total devastation at the end of the Permian period was caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide leading to climate change. But it's not the heat (nor the humidity) that's directly responsible for the extinctions, and the story of the discovery of what is responsible makes for a fascinating, globe-spanning adventure.
In Under a Green Sky, Ward explains how the Permian extinction as well as four others happened, and describes the freakish oceans—belching poisonous gas—and sky—slightly green and always hazy—that would have attended them. Those ancient upheavals demonstrate that the threat of climate change cannot be ignored, lest the world's life today—ourselves included—face the same dire fate that has overwhelmed our planet several times before.
This is the story of her journey and the lessons she has learned along the way. Rhonda relates why she wanted to change her lifestyle, what simple living means to her, and offers guidance to those thinking about taking the same path.
For more than twenty years, mycology expert Tradd Cotter has been pondering these questions and conducting trials in search of the answers. In Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, Cotter not only offers readers an in-depth exploration of best organic mushroom cultivation practices; he shares the results of his groundbreaking research and offers myriad ways to apply your cultivation skills and further incorporate mushrooms into your life—whether your goal is to help your community clean up industrial pollution or simply to settle down at the end of the day with a cold Reishi-infused homebrew ale.
The book first guides readers through an in-depth exploration of indoor and outdoor cultivation. Covered skills range from integrating wood-chip beds spawned with king stropharia into your garden and building a “trenched raft” of hardwood logs plugged with shiitake spawn to producing oysters indoors on spent coffee grounds in a 4×4 space or on pasteurized sawdust in vertical plastic columns. For those who aspire to the self-sufficiency gained by generating and expanding spawn rather than purchasing it, Cotter offers in-depth coverage of lab techniques, including low-cost alternatives that make use of existing infrastructure and materials.
Cotter also reports his groundbreaking research cultivating morels both indoors and out, “training” mycelium to respond to specific contaminants, and perpetuating spawn on cardboard without the use of electricity. Readers will discover information on making tinctures, powders, and mushroom-infused honey; making an antibacterial mushroom cutting board; and growing mushrooms on your old denim jeans.
Geared toward readers who want to grow mushrooms without the use of pesticides, Cotter takes “organic” one step further by introducing an entirely new way of thinking—one that looks at the potential to grow mushrooms on just about anything, just about anywhere, and by anyone.
Trophic Cascades is the first comprehensive presentation of the science on this subject. It brings together some of the world’s leading scientists and researchers to explain the importance of large animals in regulating ecosystems, and to relate that scientific knowledge to practical conservation.
Chapters examine trophic cascades across the world’s major biomes, including intertidal habitats, coastal oceans, lakes, nearshore ecosystems, open oceans, tropical forests, boreal and temperate ecosystems, low arctic scrubland, savannas, and islands. Additional chapters consider aboveground/belowground linkages, predation and ecosystem processes, consumer control by megafauna and fire, and alternative states in ecosystems. An introductory chapter offers a concise overview of trophic cascades, while concluding chapters consider theoretical perspectives and comparative issues.
Trophic Cascades provides a scientific basis and justification for the idea that large predators and top-down forcing must be considered in conservation strategies, alongside factors such as habitat preservation and invasive species. It is a groundbreaking work for scientists and managers involved with biodiversity conservation and protection.
Detect harmful gases, dust particles such as smoke and smog, and upper atmospheric haze—substances and conditions that are often invisible to your senses. You’ll also discover how to use the scientific method to help you learn even more from your atmospheric tests.Get up to speed on Arduino with a quick electronics primer Build a tropospheric gas sensor to detect carbon monoxide, LPG, butane, methane, benzene, and many other gases Create an LED Photometer to measure how much of the sun’s blue, green, and red light waves are penetrating the atmosphere Build an LED sensitivity detector—and discover which light wavelengths each LED in your Photometer is receptive to Learn how measuring light wavelengths lets you determine the amount of water vapor, ozone, and other substances in the atmosphere Upload your data to Cosm and share it with others via the Internet
"The future will rely on citizen scientists collecting and analyzing their own data. The easy and fun gadgets in this book show everyone from Arduino beginners to experienced Makers how best to do that."
--Chris Anderson, Editor in Chief of Wired magazine, author of Makers: The New Industrial Revolution (Crown Business)
This inspiring guide shows you how to use Arduino to create gadgets for measuring noise, weather, electromagnetic interference (EMI), water purity, and more. You’ll also learn how to collect and share your own data, and you can experiment by creating your own variations of the gadgets covered in the book. If you’re new to DIY electronics, the first chapter offers a primer on electronic circuits and Arduino programming.Use a special microphone and amplifier to build a reliable noise monitor Create a gadget to detect energy vampires: devices that use electricity when they’re “off” Examine water purity with a water conductivity device Measure weather basics such as temperature, humidity, and dew point Build your own Geiger counter to gauge background radiation Extend Arduino with an Ethernet shield—and put your data on the Internet Share your weather and radiation data online through Pachube
Salvage Logging and Its Ecological Consequences brings together three leading experts on forest ecology to explore a wide range of issues surrounding the practice of salvage logging. They gather and synthesize the latest research and information about its economic and ecological costs and benefits, and consider the impacts of salvage logging on ecosystem processes and biodiversity. The book examines
• what salvage logging is and why it is controversial
• natural and human disturbance regimes in forested ecosystems
• differences between salvage harvesting and traditional timber harvesting
• scientifically documented ecological impacts of salvage operations
• the importance of land management objectives in determining appropriate post-disturbance interventions
Brief case studies from around the world highlight a variety of projects, including operations that have followed wildfires, storms, volcanic eruptions, and insect infestations. In the final chapter, the authors discuss policy management implications and offer prescriptions for mitigating the impacts of future salvage harvesting efforts.
Salvage Logging and Its Ecological Consequences is a “must-read” volume for policymakers, students, academics, practitioners, and professionals involved in all aspects of forest management, natural resource planning, and forest conservation.
This study companion will be a great help to readers of every level, vastly enriching their reading of one of Steiner's most important written works.
The Pacific region had yet to be overrun by drug traffickers, guerrillas, and paramilitary forces in the early 1990s. It was better known as the largest area of black culture in the country (90 percent of the region’s population is Afro-Colombian) and as a supplier of natural resources, including timber, gold, platinum, and silver. Colombia’s Law 70, passed in 1993, promised ethnic and cultural rights, collective land ownership, and socioeconomic development to Afro-Colombian communities. At the same time that various constituencies sought to interpret and implement Law 70, the state was moving ahead with large-scale development initiatives intended to modernize the economically backward coastal lowlands. Meanwhile national and international conservation organizations were attempting to protect the region’s rich biodiversity. Asher explores this juxtaposition of black rights, economic development, and conservation—and the tensions it catalyzed. She analyzes the meanings attached to “culture,” “nature,” and “development” by the Colombian state and Afro-Colombian social movements, including women’s groups. In so doing, she shows that the appropriation of development and conservation discourses by the social movements had a paradoxical effect. It legitimized the presence of state, development, and conservation agencies in the Pacific region even as it influenced those agencies’ visions and plans.
High Tech Trash is a wake-up call to the importance of the e-waste issue and the health hazards involved. Americans alone own more than two billion pieces of high tech electronics and discard five to seven million tons each year. As a result, electronic waste already makes up more than two-thirds of the heavy metals and 40 percent of the lead found in our landfills. But the problem goes far beyond American shores, most tragically to the cities in China and India where shiploads of discarded electronics arrive daily. There, they are "recycled"-picked apart by hand, exposing thousands of workers and community residents to toxics.
As Grossman notes, "This is a story in which we all play a part, whether we know it or not. If you sit at a desk in an office, talk to friends on your cell phone, watch television, listen to music on headphones, are a child in Guangdong, or a native of the Arctic, you are part of this story."
The answers lie in changing how we design, manufacture, and dispose of high tech electronics. Europe has led the way in regulating materials used in electronic devices and in e-waste recycling. But in the United States many have yet to recognize the persistent human health and environmental effects of the toxics in high tech devices. If Silent Spring brought national attention to the dangers of DDT and other pesticides, High Tech Trash could do the same for a new generation of technology's products.
A few years ago, journalism professor McKay Jenkins went in for a routine medical exam. What doctors found was not routine at all: a tumor, the size of a navel orange, was lurking in his abdomen. When Jenkins returned to the hospital to have the tumor removed, he was visited by a couple of researchers with clipboards. They had some questions for him. Odd questions. How much exposure had he had to toxic chemicals and other contaminants? Asbestos dust? Vinyl chlorine? Pesticides? A million questions, all about seemingly obscure chemicals. Jenkins, an exercise nut and an enviro-conscious, organic-garden kind of guy, suddenly realized he’d spent his life marinating in toxic stuff, from his wall-to-wall carpeting, to his dryer sheets, to his drinking water. And from the moment he left the hospital, he resolved to discover the truth about chemicals and the “healthy” levels of exposure we encounter each day as Americans.
Jenkins spent the next two years digging, exploring five frontiers of toxic exposure—the body, the home, the drinking water, the lawn, and the local box store—and asking how we allowed ourselves to get to this point. He soon learned that the giants of the chemical industry operate virtually unchecked, and a parent has almost no way of finding out what the toy her child is putting in his or her mouth is made of. Most important, though, Jenkins wanted to know what we can do to turn things around. Though toxins may be present in products we all use every day—from ant spray, perfume, and grass seed to shower curtains and, yes, baby shampoo—there are ways to lessen our exposure. ContamiNation is an eye-opening report from the front lines of consumer advocacy.
You will see this society through the eyes of Scott and Hella, a couple of the next century. Their living quarters are equipped with a cybernator, a seemingly magical computer device, but one that is based on scientific principles now known. It regulates sleeping hours, communications throughout the world, an incredible underwater living complex, and even the daily caloric intake of the “young” couple. (They are in their forties but can expect to live 200 years.)
The world that Scott and Hella live in is a world that has achieved full weather control, has developed a finger-sized computer that is implanted in the brain of every baby at birth (and the babies are scientifically incubated—the women of the twenty-first century need not go through the pains of childbirth), and that has perfected genetic manipulation that allows the human race to be improved by means of science.
Economically, the world is Utopian by our standards. Jobs, wages, and money have long since been phased out. Nothing has a price tag, and personal possessions are not needed. Nationalism has been surpassed, and total disarmament has been achieved; educational technology has made schools and teachers obsolete. The children learn by doing, and are independent in this friendly world by the time they are five.
The chief source of this greater society is the Correlation Center, “Corcen,” a gigantic complex of computers that serves but never enslaves mankind. Corcen regulates production, communication, transportation and all other burdensome and monotonous tasks of the past. This frees men and women to achieve creative challenging experiences rather than empty lives of meaningless leisure.
Obviously this book is speculative, but it is soundly based upon scientific developments that are now known. And as the authors state:
“You will understand this book best if you are one who sees today only as a stepping stone between yesterday and tomorrow. You will need a sensitivity to the injustices, lost opportunities for happiness, and searing conflicts that characterize our twentieth-century civilization. If your mind can weigh new ideas and evaluate them with insight, this book is for you.
“We have no crystal ball. ... We want you to feed our ideas into your own computer, so that you can find even better ideas that may play a part in molding the future of our civilization.”
In this volume, the most important contemporary questions on lightning are addressed and analyzed under many experimental and theoretical aspects. Lightning detection techniques using ground-based and space-borne methods are described, along with network engineering and statistical analysis.
Contributions detail research on atmospheric electricity, cloud physics, lightning physics, modeling of electrical storms and middle atmospheric events. Special phenomena such as triggered lightning and sprite observations are examined. Lightning-induced nitrogen oxides and their effects on atmospheric chemistry and climate are discussed.
Each topic is presented by international experts in the field. Topics include:
* air chemistry
* convective storms
* infrasound from lightning
* lightning and climate change
* lightning and precipitation
* lightning and radiation
* lightning and supercells
* lightning and thunderstorms
* lightning detection
* lightning from space
* lighting protection
* lightning return strokes
* observations and interpretations
* spatial distribution and frequency
* triggered lightning
* weather extremes
Climate change is no laughing matter—but maybe it should be. The topic is so critical that everyone, from students to policy-makers to voters, needs a quick and easy guide to the basics. The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change entertains as it educates, delivering a unique and enjoyable presentation of mind-blowing facts and critical concepts."Stand-up economist" Yoram Bauman and award-winning illustrator Grady Klein have created the funniest overview of climate science, predictions, and policy that you’ll ever read. You’ll giggle, but you’ll also learn—about everything from Milankovitch cycles to carbon taxes.If those subjects sound daunting, consider that Bauman and Klein have already written two enormously successful cartoon guides to economics, making this notoriously dismal science accessible to countless readers. Bauman has a PhD in economics and has taught at both the high school and college level, but he now makes a living performing at comedy clubs, universities, and conferences, sharing the stage with personalities as diverse as Robin Williams and Paul Krugman.The authors know how to get a laugh—and they know their facts. This cartoon introduction is based on the latest report from the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and integrates Bauman’s expertise on economics and policy.If economics can be funny, then climate science can be a riot. Sociologists have argued that we don’t address global warming because it’s too big and frightening to get our heads around. The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change takes the intimidation and gloom out of one of the most complex and hotly debated challenges of our time.
A riveting expose, Fateful Harvest tells the story of Patty Martin -- the mayor of a small Washington town called Quincy -- who discovers American industries are dumping toxic waste into farmers' fields and home gardens by labeling it "fertilizer." She becomes outraged at the failed crops, sick horses, and rare diseases in her town, as well as the threats to her children's health. Yet, when she blows the whistle on a nationwide problem, Patty Martin is nearly run out of town.
Duff Wilson, whose Seattle Times series on this story was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, provides the definitive account of a new and alarming environmental scandal. Fateful Harvest is a gripping study of corruption and courage, of recklessness and reckoning. It is a story that speaks to the greatest fears -- and ultimate hope -- in us all.
Much has been written about global warming, but the crucial relationship between people and ice has received little focus—until now. As one of the world’s leading experts on climate change, Henry Pollack provides an accessible, comprehensive survey of ice as a force of nature, and the potential consequences as we face the possibility of a world without ice.
A World Without Ice traces the effect of mountain glaciers on supplies of drinking water and agricultural irrigation, as well as the current results of melting permafrost and shrinking Arctic sea ice—a situation that has degraded the habitat of numerous animals and sparked an international race for seabed oil and minerals. Catastrophic possibilities loom, including rising sea levels and subsequent flooding of lowlying regions worldwide, and the ultimate displacement of millions of coastal residents. A World Without Ice answers our most urgent questions about this pending crisis, laying out the necessary steps for managing the unavoidable and avoiding the unmanageable.