The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilization in Earth's Newest Age

The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilization in Earth's Newest Age

by David Biello


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The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilization in Earth's Newest Age by David Biello

With the historical perspective of The Song of the Dodo and the urgency of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, a brilliant young environmental journalist argues that we must innovate and adapt to save planet Earth.

Civilization is in crisis, facing disasters of our own making on the only planet known to bear life in the vast void of the universe. We have become unwitting gardeners of the Earth, not in control, but setting the conditions under which all of life flourishes—or not. Truly, it’s survival of the innovators.

Human Nature chronicles a disparate band of unlikely heroes: an effervescent mad scientist who would fertilize the seas; a pigeon obsessive bent on bringing back the extinct; a low-level government functionary in China doing his best to clean up his city, and more. These scientists, billionaires, and ordinary people are all working toward saving the best home humanity is ever likely to have.

What is the threat? It is us. In a time when a species dies out every ten minutes, when summers are getting hotter, winters colder, and oceans higher, some people still deny mankind’s effect on the Earth. But all of our impacts on the planet have ushered in what qualifies as a new geologic epoch, thanks to global warming, mass extinction, and such technologies as nuclear weapons or plastics. Human Nature examines the world we have created and analyzes the glimmers of hope emerging from the efforts of incredible individuals seeking to change our future. Instead of a world without us, this history of the future shows how to become good gardeners, helping people thrive along with an abundance of plants, animals, all the exuberant profusion of life on Earth—a better world with us. The current era of humans need not be the end of the world—it’s just the end of the world as we know it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476743905
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 11/15/2016
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,229,543
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

David Biello is an award-winning journalist who has been reporting on the environment and energy since 1999. He is currently an editor at Scientific American, where he has been a contributor since 2005, and he also contributes frequently to the Los Angeles Review of Books, Yale e360, Nautilus, and Aeon. Biello has been a guest on radio shows, such as WNYC’s The Takeaway, NHPR’s Word of Mouth, and PRI’s The World, as well as hosts the ongoing duPont-Columbia award-winning documentary Beyond the Light Switch for PBS. Human Nature is his first book.

Table of Contents

The Overview 1

Part I Alter Earth 9

Chapter 1 Iron Rules 11

Chapter 2 Written in Stone 39

Part II Terra Incognita 67

Chapter 3 Ground Work 69

Chapter 4 Big Death 97

Chapter 5 The People's Epoch 131

Part III A Better Anthropocene 163

Chapter 6 City Folks 165

Chapter 7 The Long Thaw 201

Chapter 8 The Final Frontier 232

Afterword 267

Acknowledgments 277

Selected Notes and Further Reading 281

Index 287

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