Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Review: The Unnatural World by David Biello

The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilization in Earth's Newest AgeTitle: The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilization in Earth's Newest Age
Author: David Biello
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; Hardcover
More Details: Nonfiction; Science
Publisher/Publication Date: Scribner; November 15, 2016
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Synopsis from Goodreads...

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. The Unnatural World 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. The Unnatural World 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...
I’m pretty much on a nonfiction binge at this point, and I dove into my second nonfiction read, The Unnatural World, right after the Cosmic Web. This book focuses on the environment of the past, present, and hypothetical future. Often times asking the hard “what if” questions about what’s going on with the environment. The Unnatural World was a pretty good book. It presented a multitude of interesting arguments about what people unintentionally but inevitably do to the planet. It also exemplified how carelessness and ignorance about the environment causes damage, some of which cannot be undone (like the extinction of certain types of plant life and species of animals). I did like this book, but, at times, the writing seemed a little unfocused and that made some chapters a little slower than others. However, overall, The Unnatural World was still an interesting read that gave me a lot to think about.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like it's right up my alley! My main program in university is environmental biology so I kind of live for this stuff. It is disappointing, though, to hear that some of the chapters were unfocused. I think that in this kind of book especially, it's really important to keep the main point front and center (it is an argument, after all). Regardless, I think I'll pick this up sometime! Lovely review, Breana!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks


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