An optimistic journal of promise for the future and a supremely motivational text for readers interested in Earth’s...

RANCHER, FARMER, FISHERMAN

CONSERVATION HEROES OF THE AMERICAN HEARTLAND

Journalistic portraits of pioneering farmers, harvesters, and conservationists unafraid to fight for the protection of the American landscapes they cultivate.

Covering territory from the rambling Northwest to the Louisiana bayou, journalist Horn (co-author: Earth: The Sequel: The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming, 2008, etc.) delivers a cautionary yet compelling chronicle spotlighting threatened productive farmlands and introduces “the families who run the tractors and barges and fishing boats who are stepping up to save them.” Among those she profiles is a Montana frontiersman who prides himself on veteran stockmanship; he is praised for his effective collaborative strategies with other grassland ranchers and wildlife managers to peaceably “keep both livestock and wild carnivores alive.” In other sections, a Kansas prairie farmer uses environmentally trailblazing strategies to refertilize depleted soil after years of devastating drought conditions, and a marine transportation company CEO maintains a commitment to improved efficiency of his operations to preserve and maintain the Mississippi River’s infrastructure. Horn then directs her focus to the sea, which is just as endangered as the land and in need of dedicated champions like the Vietnamese shrimper who fights for the preservation of Louisiana’s estuaries and aquacultures and a Gulf of Mexico fisherman dedicated to balancing both commercial and sport fishing in the gulf to appease recreational anglers while keeping small, family-run businesses afloat. All of these valiant men and women, writes the author, are fiercely protective of the land and sea and its bounty not only because these delicately balanced ecosystems directly support their livelihoods, but because there is also an enduring love of the land itself and an allegiance to preserve it. A founder of the Clean Energy Program at the Environmental Defense Fund, Horn translates her passion for ecological balance and environmental sustainability into this passionate, unwavering tapestry of “conservation heroes” dedicated to coexisting with their American agricultural terrains.

An optimistic journal of promise for the future and a supremely motivational text for readers interested in Earth’s compromised biodiversity.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0393247343

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A quirky wonder of a book.

WHY FISH DON'T EXIST

A STORY OF LOSS, LOVE, AND THE HIDDEN ORDER OF LIFE

A Peabody Award–winning NPR science reporter chronicles the life of a turn-of-the-century scientist and how her quest led to significant revelations about the meaning of order, chaos, and her own existence.

Miller began doing research on David Starr Jordan (1851-1931) to understand how he had managed to carry on after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed his work. A taxonomist who is credited with discovering “a full fifth of fish known to man in his day,” Jordan had amassed an unparalleled collection of ichthyological specimens. Gathering up all the fish he could save, Jordan sewed the nameplates that had been on the destroyed jars directly onto the fish. His perseverance intrigued the author, who also discusses the struggles she underwent after her affair with a woman ended a heterosexual relationship. Born into an upstate New York farm family, Jordan attended Cornell and then became an itinerant scholar and field researcher until he landed at Indiana University, where his first ichthyological collection was destroyed by lightning. In between this catastrophe and others involving family members’ deaths, he reconstructed his collection. Later, he was appointed as the founding president of Stanford, where he evolved into a Machiavellian figure who trampled on colleagues and sang the praises of eugenics. Miller concludes that Jordan displayed the characteristics of someone who relied on “positive illusions” to rebound from disaster and that his stand on eugenics came from a belief in “a divine hierarchy from bacteria to humans that point[ed]…toward better.” Considering recent research that negates biological hierarchies, the author then suggests that Jordan’s beloved taxonomic category—fish—does not exist. Part biography, part science report, and part meditation on how the chaos that caused Miller’s existential misery could also bring self-acceptance and a loving wife, this unique book is an ingenious celebration of diversity and the mysterious order that underlies all existence.

A quirky wonder of a book.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6027-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

The book is not entirely negative; final chapters indicate roads of reversal, before it is too late!

SILENT SPRING

It should come as no surprise that the gifted author of The Sea Around Us and its successors can take another branch of science—that phase of biology indicated by the term ecology—and bring it so sharply into focus that any intelligent layman can understand what she is talking about.

Understand, yes, and shudder, for she has drawn a living portrait of what is happening to this balance nature has decreed in the science of life—and what man is doing (and has done) to destroy it and create a science of death. Death to our birds, to fish, to wild creatures of the woods—and, to a degree as yet undetermined, to man himself. World War II hastened the program by releasing lethal chemicals for destruction of insects that threatened man’s health and comfort, vegetation that needed quick disposal. The war against insects had been under way before, but the methods were relatively harmless to other than the insects under attack; the products non-chemical, sometimes even introduction of other insects, enemies of the ones under attack. But with chemicals—increasingly stronger, more potent, more varied, more dangerous—new chain reactions have set in. And ironically, the insects are winning the war, setting up immunities, and re-emerging, their natural enemies destroyed. The peril does not stop here. Waters, even to the underground water tables, are contaminated; soils are poisoned. The birds consume the poisons in their insect and earthworm diet; the cattle, in their fodder; the fish, in the waters and the food those waters provide. And humans? They drink the milk, eat the vegetables, the fish, the poultry. There is enough evidence to point to the far-reaching effects; but this is only the beginning,—in cancer, in liver disorders, in radiation perils…This is the horrifying story. It needed to be told—and by a scientist with a rare gift of communication and an overwhelming sense of responsibility. Already the articles taken from the book for publication in The New Yorker are being widely discussed. Book-of-the-Month distribution in October will spread the message yet more widely.

The book is not entirely negative; final chapters indicate roads of reversal, before it is too late!  

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 1962

ISBN: 061825305X

Page Count: 378

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1962

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more