Since A Symphony in the Brain was first published, the scientific understanding of our bodies, brains, and minds has taken remarkable leaps. From neurofeedback with functional magnetic resonance imaging equipment, to the use of radio waves, to biofeedback of the heart and breath and coverage of biofeedback by health insurance plans, this expanded and updated edition of the groundbreaking book traces the fascinating untold story of the development of biofeedback.
Discovered by a small corps of research scientists, this alternative treatment allows a patient to see real-time measurements of their bodily processes. Its advocates claim biofeedback can treat epilepsy, autism, attention deficit disorder, addictions, and depression with no drugs or side effects; bring patients out of vegetative states; and even improve golf scores or an opera singer’s voice. But biofeedback has faced battles for acceptance in the conservative medical world despite positive signs that it could revolutionize the way a diverse range of medical and psychological problems are treated. Offering case studies, accessible scientific explanations, and dramatic personal accounts, this book explores the possibilities for the future of our health.
“Robbins details the fascinating medical history of the therapy, tracing it back to French physician Paul Broca’s discovery of the region in the brain where speech originates. At the heart of this riveting story are the people whose lives have been transformed by neurofeedback, from the doctors and psychologists who employ it to the patients who have undergone treatment.” —Publishers Weekly
Our relationship to birds is different from our relationship to any other wild creatures. They are found virtually everywhere and we love to watch them, listen to them, keep them as pets, wear their feathers, even converse with them. Birds, Jim Robbins posits, are our most vital connection to nature. They compel us to look to the skies, both literally and metaphorically; draw us out into nature to seek their beauty; and let us experience vicariously what it is like to be weightless. Birds have helped us in so many of our human endeavors: learning to fly, providing clothing and food, and helping us better understand the human brain and body. And they even have much to teach us about being human in the natural world.
This book illuminates qualities unique to birds that demonstrate just how invaluable they are to humankind—both ecologically and spiritually. The wings of turkey buzzards influenced the Wright brothers’ flight design; the chickadee’s song is considered by scientists to be the most sophisticated language in the animal world and a “window into the evolution of our own language and our society”; and the quietly powerful presence of eagles in the disadvantaged neighborhood of Anacostia, in Washington, D.C., proved to be an effective method for rehabilitating the troubled young people placed in charge of their care.
Exploring both cutting-edge scientific research and our oldest cultural beliefs, Robbins moves these astonishing creatures from the background of our lives to the foreground, from the quotidian to the miraculous, showing us that we must fight to save imperiled bird populations and the places they live, for the sake of both the planet and humankind.
Praise for The Wonder of Birds
“A must-read, conveying much necessary information in easily accessible form and awakening one’s consciousness to what might otherwise be taken for granted . . . The Wonder of Birds reads like the story of a kid let loose in a candy store and given free rein to sample. That is one of its strengths: the convert’s view gives wide appeal to those who might never have known birds well.”—Bernd Heinrich, The Wall Street Journal
“Engaging, thoughtful . . . worthy of a place alongside David Attenborough’s documentary The Life of Birds or Graeme Gibson’s The Bedside Book of Birds . . . This offering will appeal to naturalists, anthropologists, linguists, and even philosophers as well as to lay readers.”—Library Journal
“In this deeply felt and well-supported argument for avians’ value to humankind, science writer Robbins hits the full trifecta for engrossing and satisfying nature writing.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Using enchanting stories and rich historical references, Jim Robbins explores the role of birds on the evolution of human self-awareness.”—Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
“It’s one for the birds—what a wonderful book! It will give you wings.”—Rita Mae Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Rubyfruit Jungle
“The Wonder of Birds provides a great and well-timed gift: a portrait of the quiet miracles around us on each day of our ordinary lives.”—Michael Punke, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Revenant
“Jim Robbins writes masterfully, with lucid prose and deep insight into the human psyche and natural world.”—Peter Stark, author of Astoria
A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes
Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
On the afternoon of August 20, 1910, a battering ram of wind moved through the drought-stricken national forests of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, whipping the hundreds of small blazes burning across the forest floor into a roaring inferno that jumped from treetop to ridge as it raged, destroying towns and timber in the blink of an eye. Forest rangers had assembled nearly ten thousand men to fight the fires, but no living person had seen anything like those flames, and neither the rangers nor anyone else knew how to subdue them. Egan recreates the struggles of the overmatched rangers against the implacable fire with unstoppable dramatic force, and the larger story of outsized president Teddy Roosevelt and his chief forester, Gifford Pinchot, that follows is equally resonant. Pioneering the notion of conservation, Roosevelt and Pinchot did nothing less than create the idea of public land as our national treasure, owned by every citizen. Even as TR's national forests were smoldering they were saved: The heroism shown by his rangers turned public opinion permanently in favor of the forests, though it changed the mission of the forest service in ways we can still witness today.
This e-book includes a sample chapter of SHORT NIGHTS OF THE SHADOW CATCHER.
Are trees social beings? In this international bestseller, forester and author Peter Wohlleben convincingly makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben also shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in his woodland.
After learning about the complex life of trees, a walk in the woods will never be the same again.
Includes a Note From a Forest Scientist, by Dr.Suzanne Simard
Published in partnership with the David Suzuki Institute.
Sachs offers readers, students, activists, environmentalists, and policy makers the tools, metrics, and practical pathways they need to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. Far more than a rhetorical exercise, this book is designed to inform, inspire, and spur action. Based on Sachs's twelve years as director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, his thirteen years advising the United Nations secretary-general on the Millennium Development Goals, and his recent presentation of these ideas in a popular online course, The Age of Sustainable Development is a landmark publication and clarion call for all who care about our planet and global justice.
Visit http://cup.columbia.edu/extras/supplement/sachs-9780231173148 for additional teaching materials for students and instructors, including chapter summaries, key concepts, problem sets, and slides.
"Roy Scranton's Learning to Die in the Anthropocene presents, without extraneous bullshit, what we must do to survive on Earth. It's a powerful, useful, and ultimately hopeful book that more than any other I've read has the ability to change people's minds and create change. For me, it crystallizes and expresses what I've been thinking about and trying to get a grasp on. The economical way it does so, with such clarity, sets the book apart from most others on the subject."--Jeff VanderMeer, author of the Southern Reach trilogy
"Roy Scranton lucidly articulates the depth of the climate crisis with an honesty that is all too rare, then calls for a reimagined humanism that will help us meet our stormy future with as much decency as we can muster. While I don't share his conclusions about the potential for social movements to drive ambitious mitigation, this is a wise and important challenge from an elegant writer and original thinker. A critical intervention."--Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate
"Concise, elegant, erudite, heartfelt & wise."--Amitav Ghosh, author of Flood of Fire
"War veteran and journalist Roy Scranton combines memoir, philosophy, and science writing to craft one of the definitive documents of the modern era."--The Believer Best Books of 2015
Coming home from the war in Iraq, US Army private Roy Scranton thought he'd left the world of strife behind. Then he watched as new calamities struck America, heralding a threat far more dangerous than ISIS or Al Qaeda: Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, megadrought--the shock and awe of global warming.
Our world is changing. Rising seas, spiking temperatures, and extreme weather imperil global infrastructure, crops, and water supplies. Conflict, famine, plagues, and riots menace from every quarter. From war-stricken Baghdad to the melting Arctic, human-caused climate change poses a danger not only to political and economic stability, but to civilization itself . . . and to what it means to be human. Our greatest enemy, it turns out, is ourselves. The warmer, wetter, more chaotic world we now live in--the Anthropocene--demands a radical new vision of human life.
In this bracing response to climate change, Roy Scranton combines memoir, reportage, philosophy, and Zen wisdom to explore what it means to be human in a rapidly evolving world, taking readers on a journey through street protests, the latest findings of earth scientists, a historic UN summit, millennia of geological history, and the persistent vitality of ancient literature. Expanding on his influential New York Times essay (the #1 most-emailed article the day it appeared, and selected for Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014), Scranton responds to the existential problem of global warming by arguing that in order to survive, we must come to terms with our mortality.
Plato argued that to philosophize is to learn to die. If that’s true, says Scranton, then we have entered humanity’s most philosophical age--for this is precisely the problem of the Anthropocene. The trouble now is that we must learn to die not as individuals, but as a civilization.
Roy Scranton has published in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, Boston Review, and Theory and Event, and has been interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air, among other media.
For thousands of years, healers have used plants to cure illness. Aspirin, the world's most widely used drug, is based on compounds originally extracted from the bark of a willow tree, and more than a quarter of medicines found on pharmacy shelves contain plant compounds. Now Western medicine, faced with health crises such as AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer, has begun to look to the healing plants used by indigenous peoples to develop powerful new medicines. Nowhere is the search more promising than in the Amazon, the world's largest tropical forest, home to a quarter of all botanical species on this planet—as well as hundreds of Indian tribes whose medicinal plants have never been studied by Western scientists. In Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice, ethnobotanist Mark J. Plotkin recounts his travels and studies with some of the most powerful Amazonian shamans, who taught him the plant lore their tribes have spent thousands of years gleaning from the rain forest.
For more than a decade, Dr. Plotkin raced against time to harvest and record new plants before the rain forests' fragile ecosystems succumb to overdevelopment—and before the Indians abandon their own culture and learning for the seductive appeal of Western material culture. Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice relates nine of the author's quests, taking the reader along on a wild odyssey as he participates in healing rituals; discovers the secret of curare, the lethal arrow poison that kills in minutes; tries the hallucinogenic snuff epena that enables the Indians to speak with their spirit world; and earns the respect and fellowship of the mysterious shamans as he proves that he shares both their endurance and their reverence for the rain forest. Mark Plotkin combines the Darwinian spirit of the great writer-explorers of the nineteenth century—curious, discursive, and rigorously scientific—with a very modern concern for the erosion of our environment and the vanishing culture of native peoples.
According to Stewart Brand, a lifelong environmentalist who sees everything in terms of solvable design problems, three profound transformations are under way on Earth right now. Climate change is real and is pushing us toward managing the planet as a whole. Urbanization?half the world?s population now lives in cities, and eighty percent will by midcentury?is altering humanity?s land impact and wealth. And biotechnology is becoming the world?s dominant engineering tool. In light of these changes, Brand suggests that environmentalists are going to have to reverse some longheld opinions and embrace tools that they have traditionally distrusted. Only a radical rethinking of traditional green pieties will allow us to forestall the cataclysmic deterioration of the earth?s resources.
Whole Earth Discipline shatters a number of myths and presents counterintuitive observations on why cities are actually greener than countryside, how nuclear power is the future of energy, and why genetic engineering is the key to crop and land management. With a combination of scientific rigor and passionate advocacy, Brand shows us exactly where the sources of our dilemmas lie and offers a bold and inventive set of policies and solutions for creating a more sustainable society.
In the end, says Brand, the environmental movement must become newly responsive to fast-moving science and take up the tools and discipline of engineering. We have to learn how to manage the planet?s global-scale natural infrastructure with as light a touch as possible and as much intervention as necessary.
We are finally starting to acknowledge the threat carbon emissions pose to our ozone layer, but few people have focused on the extent to which our consumption of meat contributes to global warming. Think about it this way: In terms of energy consumption, serving a typical family-of-four steak dinner is the rough equivalent of driving around in an SUV for three hours while leaving all the lights on at home.
Bittman offers a no-nonsense rundown on how government policy, big business marketing, and global economics influence what we choose to put on the table each evening. He demystifies buzzwords like "organic," "sustainable," and "local" and offers straightforward, budget-conscious advice that will help you make small changes that will shrink your carbon footprint -- and your waistline.
Flexible, simple, and non-doctrinaire, the plan is based on hard science but gives you plenty of leeway to tailor your food choices to your lifestyle, schedule, and level of commitment. Bittman, a food writer who loves to eat and eats out frequently, lost thirty-five pounds and saw marked improvement in his blood levels by simply cutting meat and processed foods out of two of his three daily meals. But the simple truth, as he points out, is that as long as you eat more vegetables and whole grains, the result will be better health for you and for the world in which we live.
Unlike most things that are virtuous and healthful, Bittman's plan doesn't involve sacrifice. From Spinach and Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing to Breakfast Bread Pudding, the recipes in Food Matters are flavorful and sophisticated. A month's worth of meal plans shows you how Bittman chooses to eat and offers proof of how satisfying a mindful and responsible diet can be. Cheaper, healthier, and socially sound, Food Matters represents the future of American eating.
Contributors from throughout the world (including North America, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Europe) bring forth a rich variety of heritages and perspectives. Their contributions take many forms, illustrating the rich variety of ways we express our moral beliefs in letters, poems, economic analyses, proclamations, essays, and stories. In the end, their voices affirm why we must move beyond a scientific study and response to embrace an ongoing model of repair and sustainability. These writings demonstrate that scientific analysis and moral conviction can work successfully side-by-side.
This is a book that can speak to anyone, regardless of his or her worldview, and that also includes a section devoted to “what next” thinking that helps the reader put the words and ideas into action in their personal lives. Thanks to generous support from numerous landmark organizations, such as the Kendeda Fund and Germeshausen Foundation, the book is just the starting point for a national, and international, discussion that will be carried out in a variety of ways, from online debate to “town hall” meetings, from essay competitions for youth to sermons from pulpits in all denominations. The “Moral Ground movement” will result in a newly discovered, or rediscovered, commitment on a personal and community level to consensus about our ethical obligation to the future.
The Hockey Stick achieved prominence in a 2001 UN report on climate change and quickly became a central icon in the "climate wars." The real issue has never been the graph's data but rather its implied threat to those who oppose governmental regulation and other restraints to protect the environment and planet. Mann, lead author of the original paper in which the Hockey Stick first appeared, shares the story of the science and politics behind this controversy. He reveals key figures in the oil and energy industries and the media frontgroups who do their bidding in sometimes slick, sometimes bare-knuckled ways. Mann concludes with the real story of the 2009 "Climategate" scandal, in which climate scientists' emails were hacked. This is essential reading for all who care about our planet's health and our own well-being.
“Please read this book, and think about it.” --Bill Nye
Most of us recognize that climate change is real, and yet we do nothing to stop it. What is this psychological mechanism that allows us to know something is true but act as if it is not? George Marshall's search for the answers brings him face to face with Nobel Prize-winning psychologists and the activists of the Texas Tea Party; the world's leading climate scientists and the people who denounce them; liberal environmentalists and conservative evangelicals. What he discovered is that our values, assumptions, and prejudices can take on lives of their own, gaining authority as they are shared, dividing people in their wake.
With engaging stories and drawing on years of his own research, Marshall argues that the answers do not lie in the things that make us different and drive us apart, but rather in what we all share: how our human brains are wired-our evolutionary origins, our perceptions of threats, our cognitive blindspots, our love of storytelling, our fear of death, and our deepest instincts to defend our family and tribe. Once we understand what excites, threatens, and motivates us, we can rethink and reimagine climate change, for it is not an impossible problem. Rather, it is one we can halt if we can make it our common purpose and common ground. Silence and inaction are the most persuasive of narratives, so we need to change the story.
In the end, Don't Even Think About It is both about climate change and about the qualities that make us human and how we can grow as we deal with the greatest challenge we have ever faced.
When we use chemical fertilizers, we injure the microbial life that sustains plants, and then become increasingly dependent on an arsenal of toxic substances. Teaming with Microbes offers an alternative to this vicious circle, and details how to garden in a way that strengthens, rather than destroys, the soil food web. You’ll discover that healthy soil is teeming with life—not just earthworms and insects, but a staggering multitude of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. This must-have guide is for everyone, from those devoted to organic gardening techniques to weekend gardeners who simply want to grow healthy plants without resorting to chemicals.
As the granddaughter of farmers and the daughter of avid gardeners, Ohlson has long had an appreciation for the soil. A chance conversation with a local chef led her to the crossroads of science, farming, food, and environmentalism and the discovery of the only significant way to remove carbon dioxide from the air—an ecological approach that tends not only to plants and animals but also to the vast population of underground microorganisms that fix carbon in the soil. Ohlson introduces the visionaries—scientists, farmers, ranchers, and landscapers—who are figuring out in the lab and on the ground how to build healthy soil, which solves myriad problems: drought, erosion, air and water pollution, and food quality, as well as climate change. Her discoveries and vivid storytelling will revolutionize the way we think about our food, our landscapes, our plants, and our relationship to Earth.
In UNSTOPPABLE, Bill Nye crystallizes and expands the message for which he is best known and beloved. That message is that with a combination of optimism and scientific curiosity, all obstacles become opportunities, and the possibilities of our world become limitless. With a scientist's thirst for knowledge and an engineer's vision of what can be, Bill Nye sees today's environmental issues not as insurmountable, depressing problems but as chances for our society to rise to the challenge and create a cleaner, healthier, smarter world. We need not accept that transportation consumes half our energy, and that two-thirds of the energy you put into your car is immediately thrown away out the tailpipe. We need not accept that dangerous emissions are the price we must pay for a vibrant economy and a comfortable life. Above all, we need not accept that we will leave our children a planet that is dirty, overheated, and depleted of resources. As Bill shares his vision, he debunks some of the most persistent myths and misunderstandings about global warming. When you are done reading, you'll be enlightened and empowered. Chances are, you'll be smiling, too, ready to join Bill and change the world.
In Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World, the New York Times bestselling author of Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation and former host of "Bill Nye the Science Guy" issues a new challenge to today's generation: to make a cleaner, more efficient, and happier world.
Praise for UNDENIABLE:
"With his charming, breezy, narrative style, Bill empowers the reader to see the natural world as it is, not as some would wish it to be. He does it right. And, as I expected, he does it best." -Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ph.D, host of COSMOS
"Bill Nye, 'the Science Guy,' has become a veritable cultural icon....[T]he title of his new book on evolution...[is] 'Undeniable,' because, yes, there are many Americans who still deny what Darwin and other scientists long ago proved." -Frank Bruni, The New York Times
"With a jaunty bow tie and boyish enthusiasm, Bill Nye the Science Guy has spent decades decoding scientific topics, from germs to volcanoes, for television audiences....In his new book, Nye delights in how [evolution] helps to unlock the mysteries of everything from bumblebees to human origins to our place in the universe." -National Geographic
"When it comes to Bill Nye, 'Science Guy' doesn't even begin to cover it. When he's not being summoned to act as a voice of reason for news outlets or leading meetings as CEO of the Planetary Society, he is living the life of a best-selling author....His recently published book, 'Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation,' enlightens readers while using a conversational, educational tone. After all, it's his ability to break down even the most complicated topics into bite-size pieces that made him such a hit on his '90s children's show 'Bill Nye, the Science Guy.'" -The Boston Globe
"Mr. Nye writes briskly and accessibly...[and] makes an eloquent case for evolution."-The Wall Street Journal
"Because [Bill Nye is] a scientist, he has no doubts that the 'deniers' of evolution are flat wrong. And because he's a performer, his book is fun to read and easy to absorb." -The Washington Post
"Ignite your inner scientist when Nye, known for delivering geeky intel with clarity and charm, takes on one of society's most hotly debated topics (yes, still)." -Time Out New York
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.
The world's population is exploding, wild species are vanishing, our environment is degrading, and the costs of resources from oil to water are going nowhere but up. So what kind of world are we leaving for our children and grandchildren? Geoscientist and Guggenheim fellow Laurence Smith draws on the latest global modeling research to construct a sweeping thought experiment on what our world will be like in 2050. The result is both good news and bad: Eight nations of the Arctic Rim (including the United States) will become increasingly prosperous, powerful, and politically stable, while those closer to the equator will face water shortages, aging populations, and crowded megacities sapped by the rising costs of energy and coastal flooding.
The World in 2050 combines the lessons of geography and history with state-of-the-art model projections and analytical data-everything from climate dynamics and resource stocks to age distributions and economic growth projections. But Smith offers more than a compendium of statistics and studies- he spent fifteen months traveling the Arctic Rim, collecting stories and insights that resonate throughout the book. It is an approach much like Jared Diamond took in Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse, a work of geoscientific investigation rich in the appreciation of human diversity.
Packed with stunning photographs, original maps, and informative tables, this is the most authoritative, balanced, and compelling account available of the world of challenges and opportunities that we will leave for our children.
California now has more trees than at any time since the late Pleistocene. This green landscape, however, is not the work of nature. It’s the work of history. In the years after the Gold Rush, American settlers remade the California landscape, harnessing nature to their vision of the good life. Horticulturists, boosters, and civic reformers began to "improve" the bare, brown countryside, planting millions of trees to create groves, wooded suburbs, and landscaped cities. They imported the blue-green eucalypts whose tangy fragrance was thought to cure malaria. They built the lucrative "Orange Empire" on the sweet juice and thick skin of the Washington navel, an industrial fruit. They lined their streets with graceful palms to announce that they were not in the Midwest anymore.
To the north the majestic coastal redwoods inspired awe and invited exploitation. A resource in the state, the durable heartwood of these timeless giants became infrastructure, transformed by the saw teeth of American enterprise. By 1900 timber firms owned the entire redwood forest; by 1950 they had clear-cut almost all of the old-growth trees.
In time California’s new landscape proved to be no paradise: the eucalypts in the Berkeley hills exploded in fire; the orange groves near Riverside froze on cold nights; Los Angeles’s palms harbored rats and dropped heavy fronds on the streets below. Disease, infestation, and development all spelled decline for these nonnative evergreens. In the north, however, a new forest of second-growth redwood took root, nurtured by protective laws and sustainable harvesting. Today there are more California redwoods than there were a century ago.
Rich in character and story, Trees in Paradise is a dazzling narrative that offers an insightful, new perspective on the history of the Golden State and the American West.
The invaluable introductory chapters discuss tree diversity in Central America and the basics of tree identification. Family and species accounts are treated alphabetically and describe family size, number of genera and species, floral characteristics, and relative abundance. Color distribution maps supplement the useful species descriptions, and facing-page photographic plates detail bark, leaf, flower, or fruit of the species featured. Helpful appendices contain a full glossary, a comprehensive guide to leaf forms, and a list of families not covered.
The only tree guide to cover both Panama and Costa Rica together
Covers almost 500 species
438 high-resolution color photos
480 color distribution maps and two general maps
Concise and jargon-free descriptions of key characteristics for every species
Full glossary and guide to leaf forms included
The sky was lit by a full moon on October 29, 2012, but nobody on the eastern seaboard of the United States could see it. Everything had been consumed by cloud. The storm’s immensity caught the attention of scientists on the International Space Station. Even from there, it seemed almost limitless: 1.8 million square feet of tightly coiled bands so huge they filled the windows of the Station. It was the largest storm anyone had ever seen.
Initially a tropical storm, Sandy had grown into a hybrid monster. It charged across open ocean, picking up strength with every step, baffling meteorologists and scientists, officials and emergency managers, even the traditional maritime wisdom of sailors and seamen: What exactly was this thing? By the time anyone decided, it was too late.
And then the storm made landfall.
Sandy was not just enormous, it was also unprecedented. As a result, the entire nation was left flat-footed. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration couldn’t issue reliable warnings; the Coast Guard didn’t know what to do. In Superstorm, journalist Kathryn Miles takes readers inside the maelstrom, detailing the stories of dedicated professionals at the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service. The characters include a forecaster who risked his job to sound the alarm in New Jersey, the crew of the ill-fated tall ship Bounty, Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Christie, and countless coastal residents whose homes—and lives—were torn apart and then left to wonder . . . When is the next superstorm coming?
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.
If chaos theory transformed our view of the universe, biomimicry is transforming our life on Earth. Biomimicry is innovation inspired by nature – taking advantage of evolution’s 3.8 billion years of R&D since the first bacteria. Biomimics study nature’s best ideas: photosynthesis, brain power, and shells – and adapt them for human use. They are revolutionising how we invent, compute, heal ourselves, harness energy, repair the environment, and feed the world.
Science writer and lecturer Janine Benyus names and explains this phenomenon. She takes us into the lab and out in the field with cutting-edge researchers as they stir vats of proteins to unleash their computing power; analyse how electrons zipping around a leaf cell convert sunlight into fuel in trillionths of a second; discover miracle drugs by watching what chimps eat when they’re sick; study the hardy prairie as a model for low-maintenance agriculture; and more.
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.
The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Mushrooms, Fruits, and Nuts provides everything one needs to know about the most commonly found wild foods—going beyond a field guide's basic description to provide folklore and mouth-watering recipes for each entry, such as wild asparagus pizza, fiddlehead soup, blackberry mousse, and elderberry pie. This fully illustrated guide is the perfect companion for hikers, campers, and anyone who enjoys eating the good food of the earth. With it in hand, nature lovers will never take another hike without casting their eyes about with dinner in mind.
Each state in this region maintains a Big Tree program that honors the largest individual tree of each species. Champion trees are determined by adding together measurements of trunk circumference, height, and canopy spread. Rosburg identifies the trees with the largest diameter and the tallest trees among the champion trees in the Upper Midwest by their county and state. Together his superb photographs and key information make this guide the perfect companion for enjoying the diversity of trees in all kinds of environments.
Published in 2002, Deforesting the Earth was a landmark study of the history and geography of deforestation. Now available as an abridgment, this edition retains the breadth of the original while rendering its arguments accessible to a general readership.
Deforestation—the thinning, changing, and wholesale clearing of forests for fuel, shelter, and agriculture—is among the most important ways humans have transformed the environment. Surveying ten thousand years to trace human-induced deforestation’s effect on economies, societies, and landscapes around the world, Deforesting the Earth is the preeminent history of this process and its consequences.
Beginning with the return of the forests after the ice age to Europe, North America, and the tropics, Michael Williams traces the impact of human-set fires for gathering and hunting, land clearing for agriculture, and other activities from the Paleolithic age through the classical world and the medieval period. He then focuses on forest clearing both within Europe and by European imperialists and industrialists abroad, from the 1500s to the early 1900s, in such places as the New World, India, and Latin America, and considers indigenous clearing in India, China, and Japan. Finally, he covers the current alarming escalation of deforestation, with our ever-increasing human population placing a potentially unsupportable burden on the world’s forests.
Most gardeners realize that plants need to be fed, but many of us know little about the nature of the science involved. In Teaming with Nutrients, Jeff Lowenfels explains the basics of plant nutrition from an organic gardener’s perspective. Most gardeners realize that plants need to be fed but know little or nothing about the nature of the nutrients and the mechanisms involved. In his trademark down-to-earth, style, Lowenfels explains the role of both macronutrients and micronutrients and shows gardeners how to provide these essentials through organic, easy-to-follow techniques. Along the way, Lowenfels gives the reader easy-to-grasp lessons in the biology, chemistry, and botany needed to understand how nutrients get into the plant and what they do once they’re inside.
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
McKenzie Funk has spent the last six years reporting around the world on how we are preparing for a warmer planet. Funk shows us that the best way to understand the catastrophe of global warming is to see it through the eyes of those who see it most clearly—as a market opportunity.
Global warming’s physical impacts can be separated into three broad categories: melt, drought, and deluge. Funk travels to two dozen countries to profile entrepreneurial people who see in each of these forces a potential windfall.
The melt is a boon for newly arable, mineral-rich regions of the Arctic, such as Greenland—and for the surprising kings of the manmade snow trade, the Israelis. The process of desalination, vital to Israel’s survival, can produce a snowlike by-product that alpine countries use to prolong their ski season.
Drought creates opportunities for private firefighters working for insurance companies in California as well as for fund managers backing south Sudanese warlords who control local farmland. As droughts raise food prices globally, there is no more precious asset.
The deluge—the rising seas, surging rivers, and superstorms that will threaten island nations and coastal cities—has been our most distant concern, but after Hurricane Sandy and failure after failure to cut global carbon emissions, it is not so distant. For Dutch architects designing floating cities and American scientists patenting hurricane defenses, the race is on. For low-lying countries like Bangladesh, the coming deluge presents an existential threat.
Funk visits the front lines of the melt, the drought, and the deluge to make a human accounting of the booming business of global warming. By letting climate change continue unchecked, we are choosing to adapt to a warming world. Containing the resulting surge will be big business; some will benefit, but much of the planet will suffer. McKenzie Funk has investigated both sides, and what he has found will shock us all.
To understand how the world is preparing to warm, Windfall follows the money.
The book's comprehensive coverage of the major role forests have played in human life--told with grace, fluency, imagination, and humor—gained it recognition as a Harvard Classic in Science and World History and as one of Harvard's "One-Hundred Great Books." Others receiving the honor include such luminaries as Stephen Jay Gould and E. O. Wilson. This new paperback edition will add a prologue and an epilogue to reflect the current situation in which forests have become imperative for humanity's survival.
Learn about the bamboo plant types, growing bamboo plants, bamboo care, indoor bamboo, growing bamboo indoors, clumping bamboo, transplanting bamboo, bamboo seeds, and even popular bamboo crafts such as flooring, fencing, blinds and much more.
If you have ever wanted to grow this beautiful and useful plant yourself, you really need to purchase this Book which tells you everything you need to know about its uses and benefits, as well as how to grow and care for it. It has been described by many as the Bible of Bamboo Plant Care.
Some additional topics covered in the book are as follows:How to choose the right Bamboo type The difference between running and clumping bamboo and their benefit How and when to plant the different species of bamboo! Best propagation method for different types of bamboo plants!How to grow bamboo indoors! What the various parts of the bamboo plant can be used for!How to care for bamboo plants! How bamboo can benefit you! How to use bamboo for decorative purposes like landscape gardening How to easily create a windbreaker or privacy hedge using bamboo!The benefits of bamboo to the environment!The best types of indoor bamboo to grow in offices and homesWhen to prune your bamboo plant!What heights the various varieties of bamboo grow to!
The Bamboo Plant Care Book gently guides you through the process of where to buy the plant, the advantages of the different ways of growing it; from growing to seeds to splitting the culms, and even the advantages and disadvantages of using running versus clumping bamboo.
Then you learn exactly how to plant the bamboo. Many people feel worried about how much water to give it, but The Bamboo Plant Care Book reassures you and guides you through the entire process so that all your worries and questions are addressed!
Many people ask how on earth they can choose the perfect bamboo for them, given how many varieties there are. The Bamboo Plant Care Book has all the information you need, regardless of what you want to do with your bamboo!
A common misconception is that bamboo will only grow in wet areas but this myth is exploded by this book which shows you that Bamboo will, in fact, grow anywhere - even in a bucket inside your house!
People have long feared that Bamboo is simply too difficult to grow in areas where it is not found naturally, but The Bamboo Plant Care Book will show you how you can grow Bamboo in most areas, whether naturally dry or wet.
The book won't leave a single stone unturned!
Casey’s research into the Sun’s activity, which began almost a decade ago, resulted in discovery of a solar cycle that is now reversing from its global warming phase to that of dangerous global cooling for the next thirty years or more. This new cold climate will dramatically impact the world’s citizens. In Dark Winter, he provides evidence of the following:
• The end of global warming
• The beginning of a “solar hibernation,” a historic reduction in the energy output of the Sun
• A long-term drop in Earth’s temperatures
• The start of the next climate change to decades of dangerously cold weather
• The high probability of record earthquakes and volcanic eruptions
A sobering look at Earth’s future, Dark Winter predicts worldwide, crop- destroying cold; food shortages and riots in the United States and abroad; significant global loss of life; and social, political, and economic upheaval.
THE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO WILD EDIBLE PLANTS describes the physical characteristics, habitat and distribution, and edible parts of wild plants. With color photography throughout, this guide facilitates the identification of these plants.
Originally intended for Army use, this book serves as a survival aid for civilians as well. Anyone interested in the outdoors, botany, or even in unusual sources of nutrition will find this an indispensable resource.
At the same time, many of us are removed from the world where wood is shaped and celebrated every day. That world is inhabited by a unique assortment of eccentric craftsmen and passionate enthusiasts who have created some of the world's most beloved musical instruments, feared weapons, dazzling architecture, sacred relics, and bizarre forms of transportation. In A Splintered History of Wood, Spike Carlsen has uncovered the most outlandish characters and examples, from world-champion chainsaw carvers to blind woodworkers, the Miraculous Staircase to the Lindbergh kidnapping case, and many more, in a passionate and personal exploration of nature's greatest gift.
What's the buzz about the growing popularity of backyard beekeeping? Providing habitat for bees, pollinating your garden, and producing honey for your family are some of the compelling reasons for taking up this exciting hobby. But conventional beekeeping requires a significant investment and has a steep learning curve. The alternative? Consider beekeeping outside the box.
The Thinking Beekeeper is the definitive do-it-yourself guide to natural beekeeping in top bar hives. Based on the concept of understanding and working with bees' natural systems as opposed to trying to subvert them, the advantages of this approach include:Simplicity, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness Increased safety due to less heavy lifting and hive manipulation Chemical-free colonies and healthy hives
Top bar hives can be located anywhere bees have access to forage, and they make ideal urban hives due to their small footprint.
Emphasizing the intimate connection between our food systems, bees, and the well-being of the planet, The Thinking Beekeeper will appeal to the new breed of beekeeper who is less focused on maximizing honey yield, and more on ensuring the viability of the bee population now and in the coming years.
Christy Hemenway is the owner and founder of Gold Star Honeybees, a complete resource for all things related to beekeeping in top-bar hives. A passionate bee-vangelist and advocate for natural, chemical-free beekeeping, Christy is a highly sought-after speaker, helping audiences to understand the integral connection between bees, food, human health, and the future of the planet.
Animal tracks, word magic, the speech of stones, the power of letters, and the taste of the wind all figure prominently in this intellectual tour de force that returns us to our senses and to the sensuous terrain that sustains us. This major work of ecological philosophy startles the senses out of habitual ways of perception.
For a thousand generations, human beings viewed themselves as part of the wider community of nature, and they carried on active relationships not only with other people with other animals, plants, and natural objects (including mountains, rivers, winds, and weather patters) that we have only lately come to think of as "inanimate." How, then, did humans come to sever their ancient reciprocity with the natural world? What will it take for us to recover a sustaining relation with the breathing earth?
In The Spell of the Sensuous David Abram draws on sources as diverse as the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, Balinese shamanism, Apache storytelling, and his own experience as an accomplished sleight-of-hand of magician to reveal the subtle dependence of human cognition on the natural environment. He explores the character of perception and excavates the sensual foundations of language, which--even at its most abstract--echoes the calls and cries of the earth. On every page of this lyrical work, Abram weaves his arguments with a passion, a precision, and an intellectual daring that recall such writers as Loren Eisleley, Annie Dillard, and Barry Lopez.
In his widely praised book Ecoscam, Ronald Bailey strongly countered environmentalist alarmism, using facts to demonstrate just how wildly overstated many claims of impending ecological doom really were. Now, twenty years later, the Reason Magazine science correspondent is back to assess the future of humanity and the global biosphere. Bailey finds, contrary to popular belief, that many present ecological trends are quite positive. Including:
Falling cancer incidence rates in the United States.
The likelihood of a declining world population by mid-century.
The abundant return of agricultural land to nature as the world reaches peak farmland.
A proven link between increases in national wealth and reductions in air and water pollution
Global warming is a problem, but the cost of clean energy could soon fall below that of fossil fuels.
In The End of Doom, Bailey avoids polemics and offers a balanced, fact-based and ultimately hopeful perspective on our current environmental situation. Now isn't that a breath of fresh air?
Picture boxwoods trimmed into whimsical Russian nesting dolls, hedges inscribed with words, and a tree snipped to resemble the toppling tiers of a wedding cake. These are just a few of the unusual ideas featured in the beautifully photographed pages. All the practical considerations are here as well, including pruning to improve a view, remedial pruning to fix problems, and pruning fruit trees to increase yield.
In Polynesia we set sail with navigators whose ancestors settled the Pacific ten centuries before Christ. In the Amazon we meet the descendants of a true lost civilization, the Peoples of the Anaconda. In the Andes we discover that the earth really is alive, while in Australia we experience Dreamtime, the all-embracing philosophy of the first humans to walk out of Africa. We then travel to Nepal, where we encounter a wisdom hero, a Bodhisattva, who emerges from forty-five years of Buddhist retreat and solitude. And finally we settle in Borneo, where the last rainforest nomads struggle to survive.
Understanding the lessons of this journey will be our mission for the next century. For at risk is the human legacy -- a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination. Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit, as expressed by culture, is among the central challenges of our time.
In Our Renewable Future, energy expert Richard Heinberg and scientist David Fridley explore the challenges and opportunities presented by the shift to renewable energy. Beginning with a comprehensive overview of our currenergy system, the authors survey issues of energy supply and demand in key sectors of the economy, including electricity generation, transportation, buildings, and manufacturing. In their detailed review of each sector, the authors examine the mcrucial challenges we face, from intermittency in fuel sources to energy storage and grid redesign. The book concludes with a discussion of energy and equity and a summary of key lessons and steps forward at the individual, community, and national level.
The transition to clean energy will not be a simple matter of replacing coal with wind power or oil with solar; it will require us to adapt our energy usage as dramatically as we adapt our energy sources. Our Renewable Future is a clear-eyed and urgguide to this transformation that will be a crucial resource for policymakers and energy activists.
As the climate veers toward catastrophe, the innumerable losses cascading through the biosphere make vividly evident the need for a metamorphosis in our relation to the living land. For too long we’ve ignored the wild intelligence of our bodies, taking our primary truths from technologies that hold the living world at a distance. Abram’s writing subverts this distance, drawing readers ever closer to their animal senses in order to explore, from within, the elemental kinship between the human body and the breathing Earth. The shape-shifting of ravens, the erotic nature of gravity, the eloquence of thunder, the pleasures of being edible: all have their place in this book.
The quick answers are: Build topsoil. Fix creeks. Eat meat from pasture-raised animals.
Scientists maintain that a mere 2 percent increase in the carbon content of the planet’s soils could offset 100 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere. But how could this be accomplished? What would it cost? Is it even possible?
Yes, says author Courtney White, it is not only possible, but essential for the long-term health and sustainability of our environment and our economy.
Right now, the only possibility of large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is through plant photosynthesis and related land-based carbon sequestration activities. These include a range of already existing, low-tech, and proven practices: composting, no-till farming, climate-friendly livestock practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands, increasing biodiversity, and producing local food.
In Grass, Soil, Hope, the author shows how all these practical strategies can be bundled together into an economic and ecological whole, with the aim of reducing atmospheric CO2 while producing substantial co-benefits for all living things. Soil is a huge natural sink for carbon dioxide. If we can draw increasing amounts carbon out of the atmosphere and store it safely in the soil then we can significantly address all the multiple challenges that now appear so intractable.