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The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

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Rth s biodiversity These mass extinctions and their probable causes are the End Ordovician glaciation Late Devonian volcanism End Permian the warming of the oceans the rampant proliferation of a bacteria that produced hydrogen sulfide and a conseuent greenhouse effect Late Triassic ocean acidification and End Cretaceous a gigantic meteor collides with the earthSo what is the sixth extinction and why is it different The causes of the five previous mass extinctions were natural catastrophes The sixth in contrast is man made And it is occurring nowAs she discusses this sixth extinction Kolbert follows three narrative strategies Mostly she focuses each chapter in TSE on a particular animal that is extinct on the verge of extinction on a particular animal that is extinct on the verge of extinction that is becoming increasingly rare Then she examines the habitats and vulnerabilities of these animals and the human induced causes of their decline or demise These ANIMALS AND THE SCOURGES TO THEIR EXISTENCE INCLUDE THE and the scourges to their existence include the
"Frog A Fungus Harmless To "
a fungus harmless to frogs that humans spread through the exigencies of pregnancy tests and fine dining great Auks overhunting corals acidification of the oceans North American brown bats another fungus this time originating with immune European bats white plumed antbirds habitat fragmentation and a conseuent reduction in army ant colonies which is their primary food and megafauna such as the mastodon and Sumatran rhino which are doomed by their long gestation periods and human predationMeanwhile her second strategy is to focus on environments In this case her subjects are oceans which are gradually becoming acidic as they absorb the carbon humans generate through burning fossil fuels and rain forests which are losing species because of global warmingFinally Kolbert examines the attempt by scientists to preserve species that are on the verge of extinction Here she visits a frozen zoo where cells of threatened species are preserved in cryogenic fluid and thereby kept viable And she discusses actual zoos that have breeding programs for rare animalsThe blurbs on my edition of TSE observe that this book is arresting riveting and powerful And they describe Kolbert s writing as masterful surprisingly breezy and engrossing All this is true and she gets the final word Today amphibians enjoy the dubious distinction of being the world s most endangered class of animals But extinction rates among many other groups are approaching amphibian levels It is estimated that one third of all reef building corals a third of all fresh water mollusks a third of sharks and rays a arter of. Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs This time around the cataclysm is s In prose that is at once frank entertaining and deeply informed New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert tells s why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no. ,
A sobering pr cis with examples to illustrate where the world is in it s ecological history and how likely we and our fellow inhabitants are to survive the next the sixth extinction Evidence is presented dispassionately and nemotionally as you d expect from the author as a Journalist leaving the reader to form their own opinions This should be on your must read list If You Care At All About The Future Of The you care at all about the future of the and it s dependants I almost awarded 4 stars as like other reviewers I felt it lacked somewhat in the illustration department However the subject matter is so important I feel it would be churlish to down grade it for that alone This is a beautifully written book about the way that humans in the last two hundred years or so have been ruining the world It was interesting to read this book after reading Factfulness which is full of hope that the problems of the world can be solved I fear that the surging populations of Asia Africa and South America and their demands for a better life will make it impossible to reverse the tide of climate change and rising acidity in the oceans which will dominate life over the coming decades A fascinating look at the evidence for the world currently being at the start of a sixth extinction event and how extinctions are driven by human activity There s a background to the theories of evolution and an explanation of why our assumptions of the resilience of the earth s systems may be horribly wrong The only odd note in the book is the author s writing style where scientific explanations and historical background are shot through with very specific apparently irrelevant personal details one person she meets has different coloured eyes kangaroo meat forms part of the meal taken with a bunch of Israeli scientists she has a dream about a frog smoking a cigarette But perhaps this is the extreme of a writing style that while humanising the experts in the process imparts a great deal of information not just about them but specifically about their work The scope of this book is remarkably broad and the author does a very good job of explaining both how extinctions are taking place and how they are being researched I bought this expecting a far straightforward science book but it was a surprisingly compelling read Interesting topic terribly written poorly argued Was nable to complete it because of it s childish narrative voice No science here In the excellent THE SIXTH EXTINCTION TSE Elizabeth Kolbert briefly discusses the so called big five mass extinctions which had cataclysmic effects on ea. WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZEONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEARA NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERA NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALISTA major book about the future of the world blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction nfolding before our eyesOver the last half billion years there have been Five mass extinctions when the diversity of life on. All mammals a fifth of all reptiles and a sixth of all birds are headed toward oblivion If you know how to look you can probably find signs of the current extinction event in your own backyard Highly recommended I bought this book as it was on Bill Gates summer reading list What I read was shockingI have been to the Great Barrier Reef but found out that since I was there about half of it has gone due to ocean acidification as a result of an increase of CO2 in the half of it has gone due to ocean acidification as a result of an increase of CO2 in The Learn That Humans Have Always Been Destructive Making Over learn that humans have always been destructive making over mega fauna mammals mammoths etc "extinct due to overhunting over the millennia As our population grows and "due to overhunting over the millennia As our population grows and travel around we have brought extinctions p to around 1000 times the background rate At this rate the world will be very different in 35 years and nrecognizable by the end of the centuryWe are doing the same amount of damage as an asteroid and the only way to reverse it or even slow this phenomenon is through education This is what this book provides and I sincerely believe it should be compulsory reading in schools Purchased through a third party maybe because the title is out of print I can t nderstand why it would be as it is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the environment wildlife Earth science etc It is well informed and written stylishly Although a detailed discussion of extinction and fully referenced it engages the reader throughout and I found it difficult to put aside I am a very active reader of all types of literature This was my sons summer reading assignment for senior year Hands down the worst book I ever attempted to read Sorry A teacher that chooses this book for a summer reading is clearly setting kids Restoration up for failure Very disappointing on all levels No offense to the author but I love to read and I fell asleep during every chapter Not a teenager read typical pseudo scientific apocalyptic environmental hysteria This book introduces no new ideas nor does it state any old ideas in a novel or particularly insightful way nor is it comprehensive enough for someone who knows nothing about natural history to really come away with a goodnderstanding of the change humans have brought to the planet Rehashes a lot of what anyone interested in natural history already knows Kolbert spends too much time writing about her personal experiences and observations as if they are interesting or important She is definitely not a scientist by training or nature Read anything by E O Wilson Steven Jay Gould or Jared Diamond in preference to Elizabeth Kolbert to enjoy goo. Species has before Interweaving research in half a dozen disciplines descriptions of the fascinating species that have already been lost and the history of extinction as a concept Kolbert provides a moving and comprehensive account of the disappearances occurring before our very eyes She shows that the sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy compelling The Vanished (Roswell High, us to rethink the fundamentalestion of what it means to be hum.