Strange Encounters: Adventures of a Renegade Naturalist

Strange Encounters: Adventures of a Renegade Naturalist

by Daniel Botkin
     
 

Most people only dream of having the life Daniel B. Botkin has led. He has studied whales and elephants, tramped over high mountain passes and through rainforests, worked with NASA, and spent substantial time walking in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark and Henry David Thoreau. In this delightful narrative, Botkin does for the natural world what Richard Feynman did

Overview

Most people only dream of having the life Daniel B. Botkin has led. He has studied whales and elephants, tramped over high mountain passes and through rainforests, worked with NASA, and spent substantial time walking in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark and Henry David Thoreau. In this delightful narrative, Botkin does for the natural world what Richard Feynman did for physics and Oliver Sacks for human behavior.

Whether rebuilding an old mill in New Hampshire while ruminating on notions of "progress," researching the most weight-efficient high-protein food source for space travel, or working in a radioactive forest on an early Cold War research project, Botkin's adventures illuminate the complex and ever-changing relationship between human beings and their environment.

Strange Encounters is the most personal and accessible work in Daniel Botkin's long career as a writer. His most influential book, Discordant Harmonies: A New Ecology for the Twenty-first Century, helped change the way citizens, governments, and corporations view environmental issues, bringing the concept of "sustainability" to center stage. Botkin is the coauthor of one of the most widely adopted textbooks on environmental science.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A skilled essayist as well as an ecologist, Botkin (Discordant Harmonies: A New Ecology for the Twenty-First Century) combines science, wit and a gift for characterization to craft these consistently engaging essays. Many deal with contradictions and uncertainties that may never be resolved by research alone. In "Winds of a Condor's Wings," he describes a 1980 project that he was engaged in as a member of a committee to advise the State of California how to save the condor, whose population had declined to only 22. Three sets of so-called experts were unable to agree on what factor was chiefly responsible for the condor's decline or whether captive breeding or reintroduction to the wild should be pursued to sustain the species. "The Ecology of Cancer" is a touching account of his late wife's illness and how the questions she raised about chemotherapy motivated Botkin to establish an experimental workshop, as a memorial to her, composed of both biologists and cancer researchers who are learning from one another. In another piece, "How Many Bowhead Whales Ever Lived on the Earth," Botkin recounts his collaboration with John Bockstoce, an anthropologist studying Yankee whaling, whose complex personality springs to life on the page. There are many humorous inclusions, like "Is It Okay to Let Your Dog Drink from the Toilet?" a witty reflection on a study about the good-guy bacteria in toilet bowls. In all, this is a refreshing, open-minded collection about nature, ecology and science. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585422630
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/29/2003
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.34(h) x 0.98(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Daniel B. Botkin is a research professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the president of the Center for the Study of the Environment. He has taught at George Mason University and Yale.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >