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Intentional Ignorance

November 6, 2012

I wrote this essay to offer some essential information about our world and the future of our species, adding my voice to the many cries of alarm over the environmental crisis (lately reaching criticality). [More…]

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The Annihilation of Nature

At the end of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP – 21) in Paris and as a new year arrives, it is fitting to note the publication of an important new work. It is The Annihilation of Nature. The authors are Gerardo Ceballos, a leading ecologist, and the wife and husband duo–Anne H. Ehrlich and Paul R. Ehrlich, Stanford University research scientists both famous for their lifelong efforts to describe the causes and consequences of human overpopulation on Planet Earth.

Below is a review of the book by its publisher, Johns Hopkins University Press. Here’s a link to the publisher’s web site and an Amazon.com link to the book.

The Annihilation of Nature — Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals

This book shows us the face of Earth’s sixth great mass extinction, revealing that this century is a time of darkness for the world’s birds and mammals. In The Annihilation of Nature, three of today’s most distinguished conservationists tell the stories of the birds and mammals we have lost and those that are now on the road to extinction. These tragic tales, coupled with eighty-three color photographs from the world’s leading nature photographers, display the beauty and biodiversity that humans are squandering.

Gerardo Ceballos, Anne H. Ehrlich, and Paul R. Ehrlich serve as witnesses in this trial of human neglect, where the charge is the massive and escalating assault on living things. Nature is being annihilated, not only because of the human population explosion, but also as a result of massive commercial endeavors and public apathy. Despite the well-intentioned work of conservation organizations and governments, the authors warn us that not enough is being done and time is short for the most vulnerable of the world’s wild birds and mammals. Thousands of populations have already disappeared, other populations are dwindling daily, and soon our descendants may live in a world containing but a minuscule fraction of the birds and mammals we know today.

The Annihilation of Nature is a clarion call for engagement and action. These outspoken scientists urge everyone who cares about nature to become personally connected to the victims of our inadequate conservation efforts and demand that restoration replace destruction. Only then will we have any hope of preventing the worst-case scenario of the sixth mass extinction.

Gerardo Ceballos, one of the world’s leading ecologists, is a professor at the Institute of Ecology at National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He is the author of Mammals of Mexico and Diversity of Mexican Fauna. Anne H. Ehrlich is a senior research scientist emeritus at Stanford University. She is the coauthor of Extinction: The Causes and Consequences of the Disappearance of Species and The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment. Paul R. Ehrlich is the Bing Professor of Population Studies and the president of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University. Among his more than 40 books are The Population Bomb and Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect.

Blurbs

“This is a gorgeously illustrated book on a riveting subject: the charismatic bird and mammal species that we have already lost or are at risk of losing, the reasons for their demise, and what we can do to minimize our future losses.” — Jared Diamond, University of California–Los Angeles, author of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed and Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

“A beautiful lament for the vanishing wildlife of the world—wrapped in a message of hope.” — Tim Flannery, author of Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth

“… an unabashed and heartfelt plea for going into battle on behalf of nature. No holds are barred.” — Los Angeles Review of Books

“… an impassioned plea for conservation.” — Science News

“This powerful message of loss, in plain language with 83 color photographs, should resonate with readers interested in nature and the environment. It may stimulate support for conservation activity.” — Library Journal

“This beautifully designed book… is both a useful history of the problem and a visual reminder of what the world still stands to lose if it doesn’t change course.” — Climatic Change

“Three eminent conservationists show how humans have driven thousands of animal populations into extinction and how, in turn, humanity itself is threatened. It’s an important topic under reported by the media and worthy of public discussion. This book serves as a wake-up call.” — Chicago Tribune

Related Links

Featured review in Shelf Awareness

Author interview on KZFR’s Peace and Social Justice show

Chicago Tribune review

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