Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Sixth Extinction: Will Humans Recreate Earth's Next Mass Extinction?


Is life on planet Earth facing a terminal threat? Elizabeth Kolbert, author of "The Sixth Extinction" sits down with the WSJ's Michael Casey to discuss her years long research into the planet's catastrophic past and whether or not nature is ready to hit the reset button for life on planet Earth. — The Wall Street Journal

Get Ready for the Next Mass Extinction

A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes.

"The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History"
by Elizabeth Kolbert
Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on 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 us.

In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. 

She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino.

Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day.

The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human. 

•   •   •

Elizabeth Kolbert: Journalist and author best known for her 2006 book Field Notes from a Catastrophe, and as an observer and commentator on environmentalism for The New Yorker magazine. 

Born: 1961, Bronx, New York City, NY

Education: Yale University

Books:
Field Notes from a Catastrophe, The Prophet of Love, The Sixth Extinction


Awards: Lannan Literary Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship for Natural Sciences, US & Canada
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