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 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."
>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"
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.
"I always wondered..."
"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.
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"
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.
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!"
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"
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.
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."
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..."
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.
In this intimate portrait of an island lobstering community and an eccentric band of renegade biologists, journalist Trevor Corson escorts the listener onto the slippery decks of fishing boats, through danger-filled scuba dives, and deep into the churning currents of the Gulf of Maine to learn about the secret undersea lives of lobsters.
"Finding out information"
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"
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.
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"
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.
Here is the epic story of the centuries-long search to understand the tide: from Aristotle, said to have drowned himself when he failed to figure out the Greek tides, to the pioneering investigations into the role of the moon by Galileo and Newton to supercomputing in our own time.
A forester's fascinating stories backed by the latest scientific research illustrate how trees nurture and talk to each other. Are trees social beings? In this international best seller - which has sold more than 320,000 copies in Germany alone - 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.
Strategically situated at the gateway to the Mississippi River yet standing atop a former swamp, New Orleans was from the first what geographer Peirce Lewis called an "impossible but inevitable city". How New Orleans came to be, taking shape between the mutual and often contradictory forces of nature and urban development, is the subject of An Unnatural Metropolis.
From a brilliant new literary voice comes a groundbreaking exploration of how trails help us understand the world, from tiny ant trails to hiking paths that span continents, from interstate highways to the Internet. In 2009, while hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths that lie beneath our feet: How do they form? Why do some improve over time while others fade? What makes us follow or strike off on our own?
Saving the world won't happen on the silver screen. In our fragile ecosystem, climate change is swiftly becoming the defining issue of how to prepare - and protect - the earth for the future. The climate change debate raged on in America in 2015, but the facts and the science now show irrefutably that our world is rapidly changing, and that irreparable damage has already begun.
In Venomous, molecular biologist Christie Wilcox investigates venoms and the animals that use them, revealing how they work, what they do to the human body, and how they can revolutionize biochemistry and medicine today. Wilcox takes us from the coast of Indonesia to the rainforests of Peru in search of the secrets of these mysterious animals.
"Primordial chemical warfare"
Author Deb Hunt sets out to discover what makes our Australian farming families tick. Travelling to properties across the country - from a vast, dusty cattle run in outback Queensland to the wheat belt of Western Australia and dairy farms in Tasmania - and introducing us to eight different families who survive and thrive on the land, these stories provide a window into a way of life that defines the Australian spirit at its best.
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?
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.
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.
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.
"One of the best audible books i listened to"
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"
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"
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 original audiobook considers one of the most extraordinary scientific and political stories of our time: how in the 1980s a handful of scientists came to believe that mankind faced catastrophe from runaway global warming, and how today this has persuaded politicians to land us with what promises to be the biggest bill in history. Christopher Booker interweaves the science of global warming with that of its growing political consequences, showing how just when the politicians are threatening to change our Western way of life beyond recognition, the scientific evidence behind the global warming theory is being challenged like never before.
"The message made my blood boil"
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"
In this classic work that continues to inspire its many fans, James Lovelock deftly explains his idea that life on Earth functions as a single organism. Written for the non-scientist, Gaia is a journey through time and space in search of evidence with which to support a new and radically different model of our planet. In contrast to conventional belief that living matter is passive in the face of threats to its existence, the book explores the hypothesis that the Earth's living matter - air, ocean, and land surfaces - forms a complex system that has the capacity to keep the Earth a fit place for life.
We are in a race between political and natural tipping points. Can we close coal-fired power plants fast enough to save the Greenland ice sheet and avoid catastrophic sea level rise? Can we raise water productivity fast enough to halt the depletion of aquifers and avoid water-driven food shortages? Can we cope with peak water and peak oil at the same time? These are some of the issues Lester R. Brown skillfully distills in World on the Edge.
"Good overall info"
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 ??"
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"
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.
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.
"Conservation at the Cusp of Change"
Cooler Smarter is based on an in-depth, two-year study by the experts at The Union of Concerned Scientists. While other green guides suggest an array of tips, Cooler Smarter offers proven strategies to cut carbon, with chapters on transportation, home energy use, diet, and personal consumption, as well as how best to influence your workplace, your community, and elected officials. The book explains how to make the biggest impact and when not to sweat the small stuff.
An icon of the environmental movement outlines a provocative approach for reclaiming our planet. 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 80 percent will by midcentury - is altering humanity's land impact and wealth.
"non stop fascinating material"
Beyond what we already know about "food miles" and eating locally, the global food system is a major contributor to climate change, producing as much as one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. How we farm, what we eat, and how our food gets to the table all have an impact. And our government and the food industry are willfully ignoring the issue rather than addressing it. In Anna Lapp's controversial new book, she predicts that unless we radically shift the trends of what food we're eating and how we're producing it, food-system-related greenhouse gas emissions will go up and up and up.
"Amazing content, but machine-like narrator voice"
The promise of green jobs and a clean energy future has roused the masses. But as Robert Bryce makes clear in this provocative book, that vision needs a major re-vision. We cannotand will notquit using carbon-based fuels at any time in the near future for a simple reason: they provide the horsepower that we crave. The hard reality is that oil, coal, and natural gas are here to stay.
"Important but Imperfect"