"What should we have for dinner?" To one degree or another, this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore's dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn't. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore's dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance.
"Great presentation of a moral dilemma"
To better put into perspective the various issues surrounding energy in the 21st century, you need to understand the essential science behind how energy works. And you need a reliable source whose focus is on giving you the facts you need to form your own educated opinions.
Just as World War II called an earlier generation to greatness, so the climate crisis is calling today's rising youth to action: to create a better future. 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.
"Bill Nye is the Man, Man!"
>When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of "rogue" wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn't take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom.
"Beautiful story, beautifully written"
Terence McKenna hypothesizes that as the North African jungles receded, giving way to savannas and grasslands near the end of the most recent ice age, a branch of our arboreal primate ancestors left the forest canopy and began living in the open areas beyond. There they experimented with new varieties of foods as they adapted, physically and mentally, to the environment. Among the new foods found in this environment were psilocybin-containing mushrooms.
"A paradigm shifting experience"
In 1900, Isaac Monroe Cline was in charge of the Galveston station of the US Weather Bureau. He was a knowledgeable, seasoned weatherman who considered himself a scientist. When he heard the deep thudding of waves on Galveston's beach in the early morning of September 8, however, Cline refused to be alarmed. The city had been hit by bad weather before.
"A highly detailed account of a catastrophic storm"
Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? These are the sorts of questions that Mark Miodownik is constantly asking himself. A globally renowned materials scientist, Miodownik has spent his life exploring objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world.
As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers.
Joel Salatin is perhaps the nation's best known farmer, whose environmentally friendly, sustainable Polyface Farms has been featured in Food, Inc. and Time magazine. Now, in his first audiobook written for a faith audience, Salatin offers a deeply personal argument for earth stewardship and calls for fellow Christians to join him in looking to the Bible for a foodscape in line with spiritual truth.
Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina's landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals.
"Great book by a scientist with a heart"
In his articles and in best-selling books such as The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan has established himself as one of our most important and beloved writers on modern man's place in the natural world. A new literary classic, Second Nature has become a manifesto not just for gardeners but for environmentalists everywhere.
"Lush no-nonsensical brilliance"
Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Landmarks, a fascinating exploration of the relationship between language and landscapes by Robert Macfarlane, read by Roy McMillan. Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about the power of language to shape our sense of place.
First published in 1962, Silent Spring can single-handedly be credited with sounding the alarm and raising awareness of humankind's collective impact on its own future through chemical pollution. No other book has so strongly influenced the environmental conscience of Americans and the world at large.
"A Threnody of Death and a Hymn to Life"
Steven Rinella won a lottery to hunt for a wild buffalo in the Alaskan wilderness. One of only four hunters that year who succeeded in killing a buffalo, he carried the carcass down a snow-covered mountainside and floated it four miles down a white-water canyon while being trailed by grizzly bears and suffering from hypothermia. Rinella found himself contemplating his own place among the 14,000 years' worth of buffalo hunters in North America and the place of the buffalo in the American consciousness.
"Intriguing, fun, full of information."
Here, the man who started the "food revolution" with the million-plus-selling Diet for a New America, boldly posits that, collectively, our personal diet can save ourselves and the world. If, according to chaos theory, the beating of a butterfly's wing can cause a hurricane in another part of the world, try this out for chaotic cause and effect: monarch butterflies are dying in droves due to genetically-engineered corn growing in the Midwest. There is also a direct correlation between the Big Mac in your hand and the mile-wide river now running across the North Pole.
"One of the most important books you'll ever read!"
In The Soil Will Save Us, journalist and bestselling author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for "our great green hope"—a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon—and potentially reverse global warming. Her discoveries and vivid storytelling will revolutionize the way we think about our food, our landscapes, our plants, and our relationship to Earth.
"Superb science, storytelling, and narration voice"
How Real Estate Developers Think considers developers from three different perspectives. Brown profiles the careers of individual developers to illustrate the character of the entrepreneur; considers the roles played by innovation, design, marketing, and sales in the production of real estate; and examines the risks and rewards that motivate developers as people.
The Origin of Species sold out on the first day of its publication in 1859. It is the major book of the 19th century and one of the most readable and accessible of the great revolutionary works of the scientific imagination. Though, in fact, little read, most people know what it says—at least they think they do. The Origin of Species was the first mature and persuasive work to explain how species change through the process of natural selection. Upon its publication, the book began to transform attitudes about society and religion.
"Best way to read the classic!"
Boyd Varty had an unconventional upbringing. He grew up on Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa, a place where man and nature strive for balance, where perils exist alongside wonders. Founded more than 80 years ago as a hunting ground, Londolozi was transformed into a nature reserve beginning in 1973 by Varty’s father and uncle, visionaries of the restoration movement. But it wasn’t just a sanctuary for the animals; it was also a place for ravaged land to flourish again and for the human spirit to be restored. When Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years of imprisonment, he came to the reserve to recover.
"Engaging and thought provoking"
One fateful day in 1996, after discovering that five freight cars' worth of glittering corn have reaped a tiny profit of $18.16, young Forrest Pritchard vows to save his family's farm. What ensues-through hilarious encounters with all manner of livestock and colorful local characters-is a crash course in sustainable agriculture. Pritchard's biggest ally is his renegade father, who initially questions his son's career choice and rejects organic foods for sugary mainstream fare.
"Loved it! I wanted it to go on further"
Gravity plays hardball in this solar satire, forcing the system into orbital bankruptcy. As the sun and planets scramble in dark-energy chaos, they plot and plan new galactic endeavors to settle this suctioning debt collection. Who is going to pony up? Will it be you and me? How about the dark White House?
Climate change has been a perplexing problem for years. 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 30 years or more. This new cold climate will dramatically impact the world's citizens.
James E. Lovelock says the Earth (Gaia) is a superorganism, made up of all living things, interacting with the air, the oceans, and the surface rocks of the planet. He suggests Gaia takes an active role in keeping the planet safe for life, with automatic feedback mechanisms making adjustments as needed. Lovelock describes feedback mechanisms that are widely accepted. It is the implication that Gaia is somehow self-aware that is controversial.
First published in 1996, Our Ecological Footprint sets out a powerful model for visualizing and measuring humanity's impact on the Earth - the ecological footprint - with the aim of reducing the harm we are causing the planet before it is too late. Although numerous organizations, governments, and individuals worldwide have now adopted the concept of ecological footprinting, the idea has also proved to be controversial.
The Physics of Life argues that the evolution phenomenon is much broader and older than the evolutionary designs that constitute the biosphere, empowering listeners with a new view of the globe and the future, revealing that the urge to have better ideas has the same physical effect as the urge to have better laws and better government. This is evolution explained loudly but also elegantly, forging a path that flows sustainability.
There are redwoods in California that were ancient by the time Columbus first landed and pines still alive that germinated around the time humans invented writing. There are Douglas firs as tall as skyscrapers and a banyan tree in Calcutta as big as a football field. From the tallest to the smallest, trees inspire wonder in all of us, and in The Tree, Colin Tudge travels around the world - throughout the United States, the Costa Rican rain forest, Panama and Brazil, India, New Zealand, China, and most of Europe - bringing to life stories and facts about the trees around us.
Rachel Carson worked at the US Bureau of Fisheries for 15 years while developing a writing career at the same time. Her first book, 1941's Under the Sea Wind, became a best seller. But it was eclipsed by 1962's Silent Spring, one of the first books ever to highlight environmentalist issues. Carson focuses on the negative, widespread, and long-lasting effects of human activity on the environment, and illustrates this through one case study - the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture.
Our Common Future is a joint work produced in 1987 by a United Nations commission headed by former Norwegian Prime Minister, Gro Brundtland. Intended to respond to a growing number of environmental concerns faced by the global community, it recognized the need for long-term strategies to manage natural resources. It says we must act collaboratively to protect the environment, while at the same time stimulating economic and social development.
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.
"Grief Counseling for Civilization"
How can we ever be sure that we really know the other? To test the limits of our ability to inhabit lives that are not our own, Charles Foster set out to know the ultimate other: the nonhumans, the beasts. And to do that, he tried to be like them, choosing a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer, and a swift.
The average American produces 102 tons of garbage across a lifetime, and $50 billion in squandered riches are rolled to the curb each year. But our bins are just the starting point for a strange, impressive, mysterious, and costly journey that may also represent the greatest untapped opportunity of the century. In Garbology, Edward Humes investigates trash - what's in it; how much we pay for it; how we manage to create so much of it; and how some families, communities, and even nations are finding a way back from waste to discover a new kind of prosperity.
The Water Battery is a technology which bridges the gap between clean energy technology, and the fossil-fuel world. The Water Battery is an industrial-strength battery technology allowing variable clean energy sources like solar and wind to be stored safely, then tapped on-demand to power electrical loads 24/7. The Water Battery is the missing link for industrially storing and retrieving electrical energy first produced from variable clean energy sources such as solar, PV, and wind.
Scientists' understanding of life is progressing more rapidly than at any point in human history, from the extraordinary decoding of DNA to the controversial emergence of biotechnology. Featuring pioneering biologists, geneticists, physicists, and science writers, Life explains just how far we've come - and takes a brilliantly educated guess at where we're heading.
When 25-year-old Harry Walker was killed by a bear in Yellowstone Park in 1972, the civil trial prompted by his death became a proxy for bigger questions about American wilderness management that had been boiling for a century. At immediate issue was whether the Park Service should have done more to keep bears away from humans, but what was revealed as the trial unfolded was just how fruitless our efforts to regulate nature in the parks had always been.
The fifth volume of memoirs from the author who inspired the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small. During his decades spent as a country vet in Yorkshire, James Herriot has seen huge advances in medical science, technological leaps, and a world irrevocably changed by war. Yet some things have always stayed the same - gruff farmers, hypochondriac pet owners, and animals that never do quite what you expect them to.
The fourth volume of memoirs from the author who inspired the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small. Finally home from London after his wartime service in the RAF, James Herriot is settling back into life as a country vet. While the world has changed after the war, the blunt Yorkshire clients and menagerie of beasts with weird and wonderful ailments remain the same.
Deep is a voyage from the ocean's surface to its darkest trenches, the most mysterious places on Earth. Fascinated by the sport of freediving - in which competitors descend to great depths on a single breath - James Nestor embeds with a gang of oceangoing extreme athletes and renegade researchers. He finds whales that communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away, sharks that swim in unerringly straight lines through pitch-black waters, and other strange phenomena.
A young man is murdered for his prized pet fish. An Asian tycoon buys a single specimen for $150,000. Meanwhile, a pet detective chases smugglers through the streets of New York. Delving into an outlandish realm of obsession, paranoia, and criminality, The Dragon Behind the Glass tells the story of a fish like none other: a powerful predator dating to the age of the dinosaurs.
"A "must read" for all fish professionals."
In our "wireless" world it is easy to take the importance of the undersea cable systems for granted, but the stakes of their successful operation are huge, as they are responsible for carrying almost all transoceanic Internet traffic. In The Undersea Network, Nicole Starosielski follows these cables from the ocean depths to their landing zones on the sandy beaches of the South Pacific, bringing them to the surface of media scholarship and making visible the materiality of the wired network.
"A Series of Tubes, Indeed"
A preeminent geneticist hunts the Neanderthal genome to answer the biggest question of them all: what does it mean to be human? What can we learn from the genes of our closest evolutionary relatives? Neanderthal Man tells the story of geneticist Svante Pbo’s mission to answer that question, beginning with the study of DNA in Egyptian mummies in the early 1980s and culminating in his sequencing of the Neanderthal genome in 2009.
"Fascinating, well-balanced read"
The grid is an accident of history and of culture, in no way intrinsic to how we produce, deliver and consume electrical power. Yet this is the system the United States ended up with, a jerry-built structure now so rickety and near collapse that a strong wind or a hot day can bring it to a grinding halt. The grid is now under threat from a new source: renewable and variable energy, which puts stress on its logics as much as its components.
We live in a world of seeds. From our morning toast to the cotton in our clothes, they are quite literally the stuff and staff of life, supporting diets, economies, and civilizations around the globe. Just as the search for nutmeg and the humble peppercorn drove the Age of Discovery, so did coffee beans help fuel the Enlightenment and cottonseed help spark the Industrial Revolution. And from the fall of Rome to the Arab Spring, the fate of nations continues to hinge on the seeds of a Middle Eastern grass known as wheat.
When a shattered kayak and camping gear are found on an uninhabited island, they reignite a mystery surrounding a shocking act of protest. Five months earlier, logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin had plunged naked into a river in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, towing a chainsaw. When his night's work was done, a unique Sitka spruce, 165 feet tall and covered with luminous golden needles, teetered on its stump. Two days later it fell.
"Interesting story but ??"
In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter - veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner - travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, multibillion-dollar industry that's transforming our economy and environment. Minter takes us from back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to high-tech facilities capable of processing a jumbo jet's worth of recyclable trash every day. Along the way, we meet an unforgettable cast of characters.
As historian Mark Essig reveals in Lesser Beasts, swine have such a bad reputation for precisely the same reasons they are so valuable as a source of food: they are intelligent, self-sufficient, and omnivorous. What's more, he argues, we ignore our historic partnership with these astonishing animals at our peril.
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.
"Extremely creative and thought-provoking"
Part odyssey, part pilgrimage, this epic personal narrative follows the author’s exploration of coasts, islands, reefs, and the sea’s abyssal depths. Scientist and fisherman Carl Safina takes readers on a global journey of discovery, probing for truth about the world’s changing seas, deftly weaving adventure, science, and political analysis.
An entertaining and enlightening exploration of why waste matters, this cultural history explores an often ignored subject matter and makes a compelling argument for a deeper understanding of human and animal waste. Approaching the subject from a variety of perspectives - evolutionary, ecological, and cultural - this examination shows how integral excrement is to biodiversity, agriculture, public health, food production and distribution, and global ecosystems.
"too much poop humor"
Sealab is the underwater Right Stuff: the compelling story of how a U.S. Navy program sought to develop the marine equivalent of the space station - and forever changed man's relationship to the sea. While NASA was trying to put a man on the moon, the U.S. Navy launched a series of daring experiments to prove that divers could live and work from a sea-floor base.
"An excellent story of adventure and discovery."
"There are no unsacred places," the poet Wendell Berry has written. "There are only sacred places and desecrated places." What might it mean to behold the world with such depth and feeling that it is no longer possible to imagine it as something separate from ourselves, or to live without regard for its well-being? To understand the work of seeing things as an utterly involving moral and spiritual act? Such questions have long occupied the center of contemplative spiritual traditions.
The earth has died many times, and it always comes back looking different. In an exhilarating, surprising exploration of our planet, Craig Childs takes listeners on a firsthand journey through apocalypse, touching the truth behind the speculation. Apocalyptic Planet is a combination of science and adventure that reveals the ways in which our world is constantly moving toward its end and how we can change our place within the cycles and episodes that rule it.
"Travel-log of the maybe apocalypses"
When Indonesia's Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, it unleashed the most destructive wave of extreme weather the world has witnessed in thousands of years. The volcano's massive sulfate dust cloud enveloped the Earth, cooling temperatures and disrupting major weather systems for more than three years. Amid devastating storms, drought, and floods, communities worldwide endured famine, disease, and civil unrest on a catastrophic scale.
"Tour de force"
As fossil fuel prices rise, oil insecurity deepens, and concerns about climate change cast a shadow over the future of coal, a new energy economy is emerging. Wind, solar, and geothermal energy are replacing oil, coal, and natural gas, at a pace and on a scale we could not have imagined even a year ago. For the first time since the Industrial Revolution, we have begun investing in energy sources that can last forever. Plan B 4.0 explores both the nature of this transition to a new energy economy and how it will affect our daily lives.
"Not as good as plan B 2.0"
A Natural History of North American Trees gives us a picture of life in America from its earliest days to the middle of the last century. The information is always interesting, though often heartbreaking. While Peattie looks for the better side of man's nature, he reports sorrowfully on the greed and waste that have doomed so much of America's virgin forest.
"Writing from Another Time"