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Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace
Some people insist that culture is strictly a human feat. What are they afraid of? This book looks into three cultures of other-than-human beings in some of Earth’s remaining wild places. It shows how if you’re a sperm whale, a scarlet macaw, or a chimpanzee, you too experience your life with the understanding that you are an individual in a particular community. You too are who you are not by genes alone; your culture is a second form of inheritance. You receive it from thousands of individuals, from pools of knowledge passing through generations like an eternal torch. You too may raise young, know beauty, or struggle to negotiate a peace. And your culture, too, changes and evolves. The light of knowledge needs adjusting as situations change, so a capacity for learning, especially social learning, allows behaviors to adjust, to change much faster than genes alone could adapt.Becoming Wild offers a glimpse into cultures among non-human animals through looks at the lives of individuals in different present-day animal societies. By showing how others teach and learn, Safina offers a fresh understanding of what is constantly going on beyond humanity. With reporting from deep in nature, alongside individual creatures in their free-living communities, this book offers a very privileged glimpse behind the curtain of life on Earth, and helps inform the answer to that most urgent of questions: Who are we here with?
The Sixth Extinction
OVER THE LAST HALF-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 prose that is at once frank, entertaining, and deeply informed, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. Interweaving research in half a dozen disciplines, descriptions of the fascinating species that have already been lost, and the history of extinction as a concept, Kolbert provides a moving and comprehensive account of the disappearances occurring before our very eyes. She shows that the sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
The Life and Love of the Sea
Showcasing images from the world's leading marine and nature photographers, and the latest in underwater photography techniques, The Life & Love of the Sea is a breathtaking photographic tour of the ocean's incredible diversity. Lewis Blackwell explores our intimate relationship with the sea, offering thoughtful essays and dramatic images of coastlines, barrier reefs, and island chains, along with an extensive survey of the ocean's many captivating inhabitants. Blackwell presents incredible views of whales, dolphins, manta rays, sea turtles, seals, schools of fish, and the creatures that reside in the deepest recesses of the ocean floor. Together, they offer a vivid, compelling portrait of our planet's biggest and most fascinating ecosystem
American Harvest: God, Country, and Farming in the Heartland
Mockett, Marie Mutsuki
An epic story of the American wheat harvest, the politics of food, and the culture of the Great PlainsFor over one hundred years, the Mockett family has owned a seven-thousand-acre wheat farm in the panhandle of Nebraska, where Marie Mutsuki Mockett’s father was raised. Mockett, who grew up in bohemian Carmel, California, with her father and her Japanese mother, knew little about farming when she inherited this land. Her father had all but forsworn it.In American Harvest, Mockett accompanies a group of evangelical Christian wheat harvesters through the heartland at the invitation of Eric Wolgemuth, the conservative farmer who has cut her family’s fields for decades. As Mockett follows Wolgemuth’s crew on the trail of ripening wheat from Texas to Idaho, they contemplate what Wolgemuth refers to as “the divide,” inadvertently peeling back layers of the American story to expose its contradictions and unhealed wounds. She joins the crew in the fields, attends church, and struggles to adapt to the rhythms of rural life, all the while continually reminded of her own status as a person who signals “not white,” but who people she encounters can’t quite categorize.American Harvest is an extraordinary evocation of the land and a thoughtful exploration of ingrained beliefs, from evangelical skepticism of evolution to cosmopolitan assumptions about food production and farming. With exquisite lyricism and humanity, this astonishing book attempts to reconcile competing versions of our national story.
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (Updated and Expanded)
Richard Louv was the first to identify a phenomenon we all knew existed but couldn't quite articulate: nature-deficit disorder. His book Last Child in the Woods created a national conversation about the disconnection between children and nature, and his message has galvanized an international movement. Now, three years after its initial publication, we have reached a tipping point, with Leave No Child Inside initiatives adopted in at least 30 regions within 21 states, and in Canada, Holland, Australia, and Great Britain. This new edition reflects the enormous changes that have taken place since the book - and this grassroots movement - were launched. It includes: 101 Things you can do to create change in your community, school, and family. Discussion points to inspire people of all ages to talk about the importance of nature in their lives. A new afterword by the author about the growing Leave No Child Inside movement. New and updated research confirming that direct exposure to nature is essential for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. This is a book that will change the way you think about your future and the future of your children.
The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature
Haskell, David George
In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one-square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life. Each of this book's short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands - sometimes millions - of years. Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home.
Hummingbirds have always held popular appeal, with their visual brilliance, extraordinary flight dexterity, jewel-like color, and remarkably small size. This is the first book to profile all 338 known species, from the Saw-billed Hermit to the Scintillant Hummingbird. Every bird is shown life-size in glorious full-color photographs. Every species profile includes a flight map and key statistics, as well as information about behavior, plumage, and habitat. This authoritative guide has been annotated by the world's leading experts on hummingbirds and features a foreword by renowned birding author Pete Dunne.
Hummingbird Book: The Complete Guide to Attracting, Identifying, and Enjoying Hummingbirds
With seventy full-color photographs, eight range maps showing summer and winter distribution, and eight diagrams of the birds' striking aerobatics, this guide will fully enable readers to enjoy these popular birds.
Newly updated, this timely history of the struggle to discover and control water in the American West is a tale of rivers diverted and damned, political corruption and intrigue, billion-dollar battles over water rights, and economic and ecological disaster.
The Botanical Bible: Plants, Flowers, Art, Recipes & Other Home Uses
Ellis, Sonya Patel
The Botanical Bible is an elegant and comprehensive introduction to the beauty, diversity, and value of the botanical world. Author Sonya Patel Ellis covers the evolution of the plant kingdom, the history of horticulture, basic botany, and more. Readers will learn not only how to garden and forage in six major climate zones but also how to make the most of their harvest through a series of recipes for savory dishes, sweets, and drinks. Ellis demonstrates how to use botanicals for beauty and health, with instructions for making essential oils, herbal remedies, floral scents, and natural cosmetics—and even explores the world of botanical artistry and crafts. Gorgeously illustrated throughout, and packed with information and hands-on projects, The Botanical Bible is the ultimate guide for aspiring gardeners, botanists, homesteaders, and anyone seeking a more meaningful relationship with nature.
On Trails: An Exploration
From a debut talent who’s been compared to Annie Dillard, Edward Abbey, David Quammen, and Jared Diamond, On Trails is a wondrous exploration of how trails help us understand the world - from invisible ant trails to hiking paths that span continents, from interstate highways to the Internet.In 2009, while thru-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? Over the course of the next seven years, Moor traveled the globe, exploring trails of all kinds, from the miniscule to the massive. He learned the tricks of master trail-builders, hunted down long-lost Cherokee trails, and traced the origins of our road networks and the Internet. In each chapter, Moor interweaves his adventures with findings from science, history, philosophy, and nature writing - combining the nomadic joys of Peter Matthiessen with the eclectic wisdom of Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.Throughout, Moor reveals how this single topic - the oft-overlooked trail - sheds new light on a wealth of age-old questions: How does order emerge out of chaos? How did animals first crawl forth from the seas and spread across continents? How has humanity’s relationship with nature and technology shaped world around us? And, ultimately, how does each of us pick a path through life?Moor has the essayist’s gift for making new connections, the adventurer’s love for paths untaken, and the philosopher’s knack for asking big questions. With a breathtaking arc that spans from the dawn of animal life to the digital era, On Trails is a book that makes us see our world, our history, our species, and our ways of life anew.
The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature's Great Connectors
Haskell, David George
David Haskell has won acclaim for eloquent writing and deep engagement with the natural world. Now, he brings his powers of observation to the biological networks that surround all species, including humans. Haskell repeatedly visits a dozen trees, exploring connections with people, microbes, fungi, and other plants and animals. He takes us to trees in cities (from Manhattan to Jerusalem), forests (Amazonian, North American, and boreal) and areas on the front lines of environmental change (eroding coastlines, burned mountainsides, and war zones.) In each place he shows how human history, ecology, and well-being are intimately intertwined with the lives of trees.Scientific, lyrical, and contemplative, Haskell reveals the biological connections that underpin all life. In a world beset by barriers, he reminds us that life’s substance and beauty emerge from relationship and interdependence.
Into the Raging Sea: Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm, and the Sinking of El Faro
On October 1, 2015, Hurricane Joaquin barreled into the Bermuda Triangle and swallowed the container ship El Faro whole, resulting in the worst American shipping disaster in thirty-five years. No one could fathom how a vessel equipped with satellite communications, a sophisticated navigation system, and cutting-edge weather forecasting could suddenly vanish - until now.Relying on hundreds of exclusive interviews with family members and maritime experts, as well as the words of the crew members themselves - whose conversations were captured by the ship’s data recorder - journalist Rachel Slade unravels the mystery of the sinking of El Faro. As she recounts the final twenty-four hours onboard, Slade vividly depicts the officers’ anguish and fear as they struggled to carry out Captain Michael Davidson’s increasingly bizarre commands, which, they knew, would steer them straight into the eye of the storm. Taking a hard look at America's aging merchant marine fleet, Slade also reveals the truth about modern shipping - a cut-throat industry plagued by razor-thin profits and ever more violent hurricanes fueled by global warming.A richly reported account of a singular tragedy, Into the Raging Sea takes us into the heart of an age-old American industry, casting new light on the hardworking men and women who paid the ultimate price in the name of profit.
Dinosaur: A Photicular Book
Using unique Photicular® technology that’s like a 3-D movie on the page, DINOSAUR brings these legendary, long-extinct creatures to life. Each image delivers a rich, immersive visual experience - and the result is breathtaking. There’s a herd of giant sauroposeidons, with their impossibly long necks, lumbering across the sun-drenched plains, a threatened velociraptor waving its wildly feathered arms, and more.Flipping through these pages is transports readers to Earth’s distant past. With informative text by science writer Kathy Wollard, it’s like a natural history museum but better - experience it for yourself!
Gemstones of the World
Newly published in a fifth edition, this definitive guide takes the mystery out of appreciating, buying, and selling gemstones. It covers everything from the romance and history of more than 1,800 gemstones to their geographic locations; scientific, physical, and color properties; and the way they are formed, structured, and mined. The book also fully covers the optical features of gems - light and color, luminescence, refraction, and inclusions - and key information about the densities and chemical elements of each stone, with fascinating details on different cuts, polishing, gems, hardness, cleavage, classification, trade names, rarity, and more. There are also many charts and diagrams as well as magnificent color photographs of the stones with data about them on the facing page. If you want only one book on gemstones in your library, this would be the one!
Erosion: Essays of Undoing
Williams, Terry Tempest
Fierce, timely, and unsettling essays from an important and beloved writer and conservationistTerry Tempest Williams's fierce, spirited, and magnificent essays are a howl in the desert. She sizes up the continuing assaults on America's public lands and the erosion of our commitment to the open space of democracy. She asks: "How do we find the strength to not look away from all that is breaking our hearts?"We know the elements of erosion: wind, water, and time. They have shaped the spectacular physical landscape of our nation. Here, Williams bravely and brilliantly explores the many forms of erosion we face: of democracy, science, compassion, and trust. She examines the dire cultural and environmental implications of the gutting of Bear Ears National Monument?sacred lands to Native Peoples of the American Southwest; of the undermining of the Endangered Species Act; of the relentless press by the fossil fuel industry that has led to a panorama in which "oil rigs light up the horizon." And she testifies that the climate crisis is not an abstraction, offering as evidence the drought outside her door and, at times, within herself.These essays are Williams's call to action, blazing a way forward through difficult and dispiriting times. We will find new territory - emotional, geographical, communal. The erosion of desert lands exposes the truth of chnage. What has been weathered, worn, and whittled away is as powerful as what remains. Our undoing is also our becoming.Erosion is a book for this moment, political and spiritual at once, written by one of our greatest naturalists, essayists, and defenders of the environment. She reminds us that beauty is its own form of resistance, and that water can crack stone.
Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures With Wolf Birds (P.S)
Heinrich involves us in his quest to get inside the mind of the raven. But as animals can only be spied on by getting quite close, Heinrich adopts ravens, thereby becoming a "raven father," as well as observing them in their natural habitat. He studies their daily routines, and in the process, paints a vivid picture of the ravens' world. At the heart of this book are Heinrich's love and respect for these complex and engaging creatures, and through his keen observation and analysis, we become their intimates too.
Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived
Spanning seven decades and three continents, Modoc is one of the most amazing true animal stories ever told. Raised together in a small German circus town, a boy and an elephant formed a bond that would last their entire lives, and would be tested time and again: through a near-fatal shipwreck in the Indian Ocean, an apprenticeship with the legendary Mahout elephant trainers in the Indian teak forests, and their eventual rise to circus stardom in 1940s New York City. Modoc is a captivating true story of loyalty, friendship, and high adventure, to be treasured by animal lovers everywhere.
Out of the Clouds: The Unlikely Horseman and the Unwanted Colt Who Conquered the Sport of Kings
In the bestselling tradition of the The Eighty-Dollar Champion, the propulsive, inspiring Cinderella story of Stymie, an unwanted Thoroughbred, and Hirsch Jacobs, the once dirt-poor trainer who bought the colt on the cheap and molded him into the most popular horse of his time and the richest racehorse the world had ever seen. In the wake of World War II, as turmoil and chaos were giving way to a spirit of optimism, Americans were looking for inspiration and role models showing that it was possible to start from the bottom and work your way up to the top-and they found it in Stymie, the failed racehorse plucked from the discard heap by trainer Hirsch Jacobs. Like Stymie, Jacobs was a commoner in "The Sport of Kings," a dirt-poor Brooklyn city slicker who forged an unlikely career as racing's winningest trainer by buying cheap, unsound nags and magically transforming them into winners. The $1,500 pittance Jacobs paid to claim Stymie became history's biggest bargain as the ultimate iron horse went on to run a whopping 131 races and win 25 stakes, becoming the first Thoroughbred ever to earn more than $900,000. The Cinderella champion nicknamed "The People's Horse" captivated the masses with his rousing charge-from-behind stretch runs, his gritty blue-collar work ethic, and his rags-to-riches success story. In a golden age when horse racing rivaled baseball and boxing as America's most popular pastime, he was every bit as inspiring a sports hero as Joe DiMaggio and Joe Louis. Taking readers on a crowd-pleasing ride with Stymie and Jacobs, Out of the Clouds unwinds a real-life Horatio Alger tale of a dauntless team and its working-class fans who lived vicariously through the stouthearted little colt they embraced as their own.
Brendan McDonough was on the verge of becoming a hopeless, inveterate heroin addict when he, for the sake of his young daughter, decided to turn his life around. He enlisted in the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a team of elite firefighters based in Prescott, Arizona. Their leader, Eric Marsh, was in a desperate crunch after four hotshots left the unit, and perhaps seeing a glimmer of promise in the skinny would-be recruit, he took a chance on the unlikely McDonough, and the chance paid off. Despite the crew's skepticism, and thanks in large part to Marsh's firm but loving encouragement, McDonough unlocked a latent drive and dedication, going on to successfully battle a number of blazes and eventually win the confidence of the men he came to call his brothers.Then, on June 30, 2013, while McDonough--"Donut" as he'd been dubbed by his team--served as lookout, they confronted a freak, 3,000-degree inferno in nearby Yarnell, Arizona. The relentless firestorm ultimately trapped his hotshot brothers, tragically killing all 19 of them within minutes. Nationwide, it was the greatest loss of firefighter lives since the 9/11 attacks. Granite Mountain is a gripping memoir that traces McDonough's story of finding his way out of the dead end of drugs, finding his purpose among the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and the minute-by-minute account of the fateful day he lost the very men who had saved him. A harrowing and redemptive tale of resilience in the face of tragedy, Granite Mountain is also a powerful reminder of the heroism of the people who put themselves in harm's way to protect us every day.
Amazing Facts About Baby Animals: An Illustrated Compendium
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This Land Is Our Land: How We Lost the Right to Roam and How to Take It Back
Private property is everywhere. Almost anywhere you walk in the United States, you will spot “No Trespassing” and “Private Property” signs on trees and fence posts. In America, there are more than a billion acres of grassland pasture, cropland, and forest, and miles and miles of coastlines that are mostly closed off to the public. Meanwhile, America’s public lands are threatened by extremist groups and right-wing think tanks who call for our public lands to be sold to the highest bidder and closed off to everyone else. If these groups get their way, public property may become private, precious green spaces may be developed, and the common good may be sacrificed for the benefit of the wealthy few.Ken Ilgunas, lifelong traveler, hitchhiker, and roamer, takes readers back to the nineteenth century, when Americans were allowed to journey undisturbed across the country. Today, though, America finds itself as an outlier in the Western world as a number of European countries have created sophisticated legal systems that protect landowners and give citizens generous roaming rights to their countries' green spaces.Inspired by the United States' history of roaming, and taking guidance from present-day Europe, Ilgunas calls into question our entrenched understanding of private property and provocatively proposes something unheard of: opening up American private property for public recreation. He imagines a future in which folks everywhere will have the right to walk safely, explore freely, and roam boldly—from California to the New York island, from the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters.
Birds by the Shore: Observing the Natural Life of the Atlantic Coast
For three years, Jennifer Ackerman lived in the small coastal town of Lewes, Delaware, in the sort of blue-water, white-sand landscape that draws summer crowds up and down the eastern seaboard. Birds by the Shore is a book about discovering the natural life at the ocean's edge: the habits of shorebirds and seabirds, the movement of sand and water, the wealth of creatures that survive amid storm and surf. Against this landscape's rhythms, Ackerman revisits her own history--her mother's death, her father's illness and her hopes to have children of her own.This portrait of life at the ocean's edge will be relished by anyone who has walked a beach at sunset, or watched a hawk hover over a winter marsh, and felt part of the natural world. With a quiet passion and friendly, generous intelligence, it explores the way that landscape shapes our thoughts and perceptions and shows that home ground is often where we feel the deepest response to the planet.
As new groundbreaking research suggests that climate change played a major role in the most extreme catastrophes in the planet's history, award-winning science journalist Peter Brannen takes us on a wild ride through the planet's five mass extinctions and, in the process, offers us a glimpse of our increasingly dangerous future.Our world has ended five times: it has been broiled, frozen, poison-gassed, smothered, and pelted by asteroids. In The Ends of the World, Peter Brannen dives into deep time, exploring Earth’s past dead ends, and in the process, offers us a glimpse of our possible future.Many scientists now believe that the climate shifts of the twenty-first century have analogs in these five extinctions. Using the visible clues these devastations have left behind in the fossil record, The Ends of the World takes us inside “scenes of the crime,” from South Africa to the New York Palisades, to tell the story of each extinction. Brannen examines the fossil record—which is rife with creatures like dragonflies the size of sea gulls and guillotine-mouthed fish—and introduces us to the researchers on the front lines who, using the forensic tools of modern science, are piecing together what really happened at the crime scenes of the Earth’s biggest whodunits.Part road trip, part history, and part cautionary tale, The Ends of the World takes us on a tour of the ways that our planet has clawed itself back from the grave, and casts our future in a completely new light.
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