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.
"This is an amazing book"
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!"
"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"
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.
"Eloquent and inspirational"
From Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former head of the Sierra Club Carl Pope comes a manifesto on how the benefits of taking action on climate change are concrete, immediate, and immense. They explore climate change solutions that will make the world healthier and more prosperous, aiming to begin a new type of conversation on the issue that will spur bolder action by cities, businesses, and citizens—and even, someday, by Washington.
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.
Traditionally, Americans learned in school that the ancestors of the people who inhabited the Western Hemisphere at the time of Columbus' landing had crossed the Bering Strait 12,000 years ago; existed mainly in small nomadic bands; and lived so lightly on the land that the Americas were, for all practical purposes, still a vast wilderness. But as Charles C. Mann now makes clear, archaeologists and anthropologists have spent the last 30 years proving these and many other long-held assumptions wrong.
"Awesome Historic Accounting Well Told"
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"
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."
For centuries, poets and philosophers extolled the benefits of a walk in the woods: Beethoven drew inspiration from rocks and trees; Wordsworth composed while tromping over the heath; Nikola Tesla conceived the electric motor while visiting a park. Intrigued by our storied renewal in the natural world, Florence Williams sets out to uncover the science behind nature's positive effects on the brain.
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.
"Needed more... and less"
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"
Pandora's Lab takes us from opium's heyday as the pain reliever of choice to recognition of opioids as a major cause of death in the United States; from the rise of trans fats as the golden ingredient for tastier, cheaper food to the heart disease epidemic that followed; and from the cries to ban DDT for the sake of the environment to an epidemic-level rise in world malaria.
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"
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.
>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"
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"
Not since Thoreau took us to Walden Pond has there been such an important work on the natural world. A Sand County Almanac is Aldo Leopold's simple expression of feeling for the environment at his weekend farm along the Wisconsin River. It is an inviting, gentle world - one that is rapidly disappearing.
"Good book, but..."
What if we can make ourselves, our communities, and our planet healthier all at the same time by moving our bodies more? Movement Matters is a collection of essays in which biomechanist Katy Bowman continues her groundbreaking investigation of the mechanics of our sedentary culture and the profound potential of human movement. Here she widens her message and invites us to consider our personal relationship with sedentarism, privilege, and nature.
The Colorado River is a crucial resource for a surprisingly large part of the United States, and every gallon that flows down it is owned or claimed by someone. David Owen traces all that water from the Colorado's headwaters to its parched terminus, once a verdant wetland but now a million-acre desert. He takes listeners on an adventure downriver, along a labyrinth of waterways, reservoirs, power plants, farms, fracking sites, ghost towns, and RV parks, to the spot near the US-Mexico border where the river runs dry.
"Of two or three really good books about water this might be the best"
From the Yangtze to the Yellow River, China is traversed by great waterways, which have defined its politics and ways of life for centuries. Water has been so integral to China's culture, economy, and growth and development that it provides a window on the whole sweep of Chinese history. In The Water Kingdom, renowned writer Philip Ball opens that window to offer an epic and powerful new way of thinking about Chinese civilization. Water, Ball shows, is a key that unlocks much of Chinese culture.
Ocean Country is an adventure story, a call to action, and a poetic meditation on the state of the seas. But most importantly it is the story of finding true hope in the midst of one of the greatest crises to face humankind: the rapidly degrading state of our environment. After a near-drowning accident in which she was temporarily paralyzed, Liz Cunningham crisscrosses the globe in an effort to understand the threats to our dazzling but endangered oceans.
David Haskell's award-winning The Forest Unseen won acclaim for eloquent writing and deep engagement with the natural world. Now Haskell brings his powers of observation to the biological networks that surround all species, including humans. Haskell repeatedly visits a dozen trees around the world, exploring the trees' connections with webs of fungi, bacterial communities, cooperative and destructive animals and other plants.
In his groundbreaking book The Biology of Belief, Dr. Bruce Lipton outlined the evidence that our thoughts are just as important as our genes in controlling our health and evolution. As the emerging science of epigenetics shows, our beliefs and choices can control our biology down to a cellular level. According to Dr. Lipton, this startling scientific insight suggests a major evolutionary shift for the human species is on the horizon.
Our current environmental crises - most notably, climate change - call on us to upgrade to a new way of life that will sustain us and our world far into the future. With determination and action, we can implement solutions rather than sit on the sidelines suffering harmful impacts. We deserve, and can have, better health and a cleaner environment, a stable climate, healthy ecosystems, sustainable use of resources, and less need for damage control.
For decades it has been nearly universal dogma among environmentalists and health advocates that cattle and beef are public enemy number one. But is the matter really so clear cut? Hardly, argues environmental lawyer turned rancher Nicolette Hahn Niman in her new book, Defending Beef.
In this thought-provoking recording, internationally recognized Jungian teacher and theorist James Hillman, Ph.D., author of The Soul's Code and Re-Visioning Psychology, proposes the 21st Century's "new urbanism", one that integrates city and nature into a harmonious whole.
Beavers, those icons of industriousness, have been gnawing down trees, building dams, shaping the land, and creating critical habitat in North America for at least a million years. Once one of the continent's most ubiquitous mammals, they ranged from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Rio Grande to the edge of the northern tundra. Wherever there was wood and water, there were beavers - 60 million (or more) - and wherever there were beavers, there were intricate natural communities that depended on their activities.
David Haskell's award-winning The Forest Unseen won acclaim for eloquent writing and deep engagement with the natural world. Now, Haskell brings his powers of observation to the biological networks that surround all species, including humans. Haskell repeatedly visits a dozen trees around the world, exploring the trees' connections with webs of fungi, bacterial communities, cooperative and destructive animals, and other plants.
"Poetry and science collide"
After years of prosecuting hard-core criminals, rising legal star Alan Bell took a private sector job in South Florida's newest skyscraper. Suddenly, he suffered such bizarre medical symptoms, doctors suspected he'd been poisoned by the Mafia. Bell's rapidly declining health forced him to flee his glamorous Miami life to a sterile "bubble" in the remote Arizona desert.
"Thank You Mr. Bell"
The challenges we face can be difficult even to think about. Climate change, the depletion of oil, economic upheaval, and mass extinction together create a planetary emergency of overwhelming proportions. Active Hope shows us how to strengthen our capacity to face this crisis so that we can respond with unexpected resilience and creative power.
By looking at disease from the perspective of a microorganism, scientists have found that the main goal of any virus or other type of bug is to reproduce. Illness is just a side effect of the microorganism's efforts to multiply as much as it possibly can. Whether a virus is carried by water, air, or by other creatures, the way it spreads is a numbers game; the more hosts that are infected, the more it can reproduce, and the more it reproduces, the stronger it can become.
In 1993, a strange disease began to kill people in the Four Corners area of the Southwest near the Navajo Reservation. Before it was all over, 26 people were dead. The disease was traced to a group of viruses called Hanta viruses. Western interest in this group of viruses dates to the 1950s and the Korean War, where it infected UN troops. However some researchers believe it is endemic to the U.S. Producer Ann Finkbeiner travels to the region and talk with scientists, doctors and Navajo medicine men.
In August 2003, Europe suffered the worst heat wave in at least 500 years. Forest fires raged in much of southern Europe, themselves causing deaths. Crops withered and trees died. One of the cities hit hardest was Paris. Although the high heat started in early August, it was nearly mid-month, after hundreds of people had been killed, before the French government recognized that the heat wave had turned deadly in Paris.
A frozen lake in the Arctic Circle is telling us how sensitive the poles are to climate change. Producer Moira Rankin takes us to Lake El'gygytgyn and reports on the 3.6 million year record of climate change that scientists have unearthed from the lake's bottom. Chief scientist Julie Brigham-Grette from the University of Massachusetts details her findings that the slightest change in climate produces significant changes in the environment.
The front line in the battle against mosquito-borne viruses is a bustling Peruvian metropolis on the Amazon River. Iquitos, Peru, home to nearly 400,000 people, is a living laboratory. Researchers there are tracing the spread of lethal dengue fever by going door to door in neighborhoods throughout the city. They're mapping the spread of the virus, as well as the mosquitoes that carry it. Producer Dan Charles follows researchers as they try to figure out what people can do to stop it.
The world of biology is a messy business. But the study of reproduction and evolution is crucial to understanding the nature of all things animal, vegetable, and even digital. The code that is used to build computer programs is much like our own DNA. And as it turns out, not only can computer programs have sex and reproduce, but they can also lie, cheat, steal, copy, infect and gang up on each other. In short, they can act a lot like humans, which is good news for evolutionary biologists.
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"
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.
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.
"I learned so much."
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"
In an effort to make sense of the deaths in quick succession of several loved ones, Kathleen Dean Moore turned to the comfort of the wild, making a series of solitary excursions into ancient forests, wild rivers, remote deserts, and windswept islands to learn what the environment could teach her in her time of pain. This audiobook is the record of her experiences.
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.
"Not really about Neanderthal man"
In Nature’s Fortune, Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy and former investment banker, and science writer Jonathan Adams argue that nature is not only the foundation of human well-being, but also the smartest commercial investment any business or government can make. The forests, floodplains, and oyster reefs often seen simply as raw materials or as obstacles to be cleared in the name of progress are, in fact as important to our future prosperity as technology or law or business innovation.
"Great real life examples and stories of sustainable business!"
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.
"excellent story, narrated beautifully"
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"
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.
Like many people, Beth Terry didn't think an individual could have much impact on the environment. But while laid up after surgery, she read an article about the staggering amount of plastic polluting the oceans and decided then and there to kick her plastic habit. Now she wants to teach you how you can too.
"Wow oh Wow!"
Bottled water is on the verge of becoming the most popular beverage in the country. But what's the cost of all this water for us and for the environment? In this eye-opening book, Elizabeth Royte does for water what Michael Pollan did for food: She examines the people, machines, economies, and cultural trends that surround it on its journey from distant aquifers to our supermarkets and homes.
"Decent introduction to Tap vs Bottle"
A paradigm shift is roiling the environmental world. For decades people have unquestioningly accepted the idea that our goal is to preserve nature in its pristine, pre-human state. But many scientists have come to see this as an outdated dream that thwarts bold new plans to save the environment and prevents us from having a fuller relationship with nature. Humans have changed the landscapes they inhabit since prehistory, and climate change means even the remotest places now bear the fingerprints of humanity.
"Very bad book"
For fans of The Lost City of Z, Walking the Amazon, and Turn Right at Machu Picchu comes naturalist and explorer Paul Rosolie’s extraordinary adventure in the uncharted tributaries of the Western Amazon - a tale of discovery that vividly captures the awe, beauty, and isolation of this endangered land and presents an impassioned call to save it.
In Earth in Mind, David W. Orr argues that much of what has gone wrong with the world, is the result of inadequate and misdirected education that: Alienates us from life in the name of human domination; causes students to worry about how to make a living before they know who they are; overemphasizes success and careers; separates feeling from intellect and the practical from the theoretical; deadens the sense of wonder for the created world.
"good insight. more ppl need this education"
Perhaps more than any other scientist of our century, Edward O. Wilson has scrutinized animals in their natural settings, tweezing out the dynamics of their social organization, their relationship with their environments, and their behavior, not only for what it tells us about the animals themselves, but for what it can tell us about human nature and our own behavior. He has brought the fascinating and sometimes surprising results of these studies to general readers through a remarkable collection of books.
"narration speed way too fast"