The Eye of the Sandpiper: Stories from the Living World

The Eye of the Sandpiper: Stories from the Living World

by Brandon Keim

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Overview

In The Eye of the Sandpiper, Brandon Keim pairs cutting-edge science with a deep love of nature, conveying his insights in prose that is both accessible and beautiful. In an elegant, thoughtful tour of nature in the twenty-first century, Keim continues in the tradition of Lewis Thomas, Stephen Jay Gould, and David Quammen, reporting from the frontiers of science while celebrating the natural world’s wonders and posing new questions about our relationship to the rest of life on Earth.

The stories in The Eye of the Sandpiper are arranged in four thematic sections. Each addresses nature through a different lens. The first is evolutionary and ecological dynamics, from how patterns form on butterfly wings to the ecological importance of oft-reviled lampreys. The second section explores the inner lives of animals, which science has only recently embraced: empathy in rats, emotions in honeybees, spirituality in chimpanzees. The third section contains stories of people acting on insights both ecological and ethological: nourishing blighted rivers, but also caring for injured pigeons at a hospital for wild birds and demanding legal rights for primates. The fourth section unites ecology and ethology in discussions of ethics: how we should think about and behave toward nature, and the place of wildness in a world in which space for wilderness is shrinking.

By appreciating the nonhuman world more fully, Keim writes, "I hope people will also act in ways that nourish rather than impoverish its life—which is, ultimately, the problem that needs to be solved at this Anthropocene moment, with a sixth mass extinction looming, once-common animals becoming rare, and Earth straining to support 7.5 billion people. The solution will come from a love of nature rather than chastisement or lamentation."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501712647
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 06/20/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 266
Sales rank: 990,793
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Brandon Keim is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in publications including The Atlantic, WIRED, National Geographic News, Aeon, Nautilus, Scientific American Mind, The Guardian, Audubon Magazine, Grist, Mother Jones, Conservation, NOVA, and Anthropocene.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Trees of Life

Part I. Dynamics

Organized Chaos Makes the Beauty of a Butterfly

Chickadees, Mutations, and the Thermodynamics of Life

The Photosynthetic Salamander

Human Evolution Enters an Exciting New Phase

"Parallel Universe" of Life Described Far beneath the Bottom of the Sea

At the Edge of Invasion, Possible New Rules for Evolution

A Mud-Loving, Iron-Lunged, Jelly-Eating Ecosystem Savior

Redeeming the Lamprey

Decoding Nature's Soundtrack

Part II. Inner Lives

Being a Sandpiper

Monogamy Helps Geese Reduce Stress

What Pigeons Teach Us about Love

Chimps and the Zen of Falling Water

How City Living Is Reshaping the Brains and Behavior of Urban Animals

Reconsider the Rat: The New Science of a Reviled Rodent

Monkeys See Selves in Mirror, Open a Barrel of Questions

The New Anthropomorphism

Honeybees Might Have Emotions

Part III. Intersections

A Day in the Life of NYC’s Hospital for Wild Birds

New Yorkers in Uproar over Planned Mass Killing of Swans

An Eel Swims in the Bronx

On Waldman’s Pond

The Return of the River

A Chimp’s Day in Court: Inside the Historic Demand for Nonhuman Rights

Chimpanzee Rights Get a Day in Court

Medical Experimentation on Chimps Is Nearing an End. But What about Monkeys?

I, Cockroach

Part IV. Ethics

The Improbable Bee

The Ethics of Urban Beekeeping

The Wild, Secret Life of New York City

Earth Is Not a Garden

Add a Few Species. Pull Down the Fences. Step Back.

Feral Cats vs. Conservation: A Truce

Should Animals Have a Right to Privacy?

When Climate Change Blinds Us

To Bring Back Extinct Species, We’ll Need to Change Our Own

September 11, Fall Migration, and Occupy Wall Street

Making Sense of 7 Billion People

What People are Saying About This

Carl Safina

"The frontier of writing about animals is the attempt to go deeper from the species to the individuals, their lives as they live them. The Eye of the Sandpiper makes that penetration a journey, so that it begins more generally and proceeds to narrow its focus, then steps back and displays to us the big picture. I wanted to speed through this book, but I kept slowing down because it was too engaging to rush. The knowledgeable Brandon Keim is as much a thinker as he is a reporter."

Barbara J. King

"Brandon Keim's essays beautifully stir the mind and heart. Keim writes with crystal-clear, at times lyrical language that compels us to turn away from our screens, immerse ourselves in the outdoors, and think hard about our ethical responsibilities toward the environment and other animals. This book is a joy!"

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