"The Sixth Extinction" is a haunting account of the age in which we live. Ecologists are calling it the Sixth Great Extinction, and the world isn't losing just its ecological legacy; also vanishing is a vast human legacy of languages and our ways of living, seeing, and knowing. Terry Glavin confirms that we are in the midst of a nearly ...Read More"The Sixth Extinction" is a haunting account of the age in which we live. Ecologists are calling it the Sixth Great Extinction, and the world isn't losing just its ecological legacy; also vanishing is a vast human legacy of languages and our ways of living, seeing, and knowing. Terry Glavin confirms that we are in the midst of a nearly unprecedented, catastrophic vanishing of animals, plants, and human cultures. He argues that the language of environmentalism is inadequate in describing the unraveling of the vast system in which all these extinctions are actually related. And he writes that we're no longer gaining knowledge with every generation. We're losing it. In the face of what he describes as a dark and gathering sameness upon the Earth, Glavin embarks on a global journey to meet the very things we're losing (a distinct species every ten minutes, a unique vegetable variety every six hours, an entire language every two weeks) and on the way encounters some of the world's wonderful, rare things: a human-sized salmon in Russia; a mysterious Sino-Tibetan song-language; a Malayan tiger, the last of its kind; and a strange tomato that tastes just like black cherry ice cream. And he finds hope in the most unlikely places---a macaw roost in Costa Rica; a small village in Ireland; a relic community of Norse whalers in the North Atlantic; the vault beneath the Royal Botanical Garden at Kew; and the throne room of the Angh of Longwa in the eastern Himalayas. A fresh narrative take on the usual doom and gloom environmentalism, "The Sixth Extinction "draws upon zoology, biology, ecology, anthropology, and mythology to share the joys hidden within the long human struggle to conserve the world's living things. Here, we find hope in what's left: the absolute and stunning beauty in the Earth's last cultures and creatures.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2007-01-15 Five major epochs of mass extinction have marked the past 440 million years, but in this striking and original work, Glavin (The Last Great Sea) argues that the most devastating is today's "sixth" extinction-in which the world is losing many of its cultures, languages and local traditions along with its wildlife. In a fresh and eloquent synthesis of diverse phenomena, Glavin describes some of the consequences. In the Russian Far East, for example, where the rivers have been depleted of their fish, aboriginal fishing communities are losing knowledge of the old means of survival as well as their livelihood. On the Lofoten Islands in Norway, environmental laws protect the whales but lock the whalers out of their traditional way of life. Along North America's west coast, many plant species have been lost to industrial agriculture-along with the words for them in native cultures. Glavin finds a few bright spots, such as in Costa Rica, where nearly extinct birds survive because land is protected, and a village in the eastern Himalayas that consciously fosters diversity. He argues that humanity's only hope lies in places like these, where diverse ideas, choices and living things are allowed to flourish. His extensive annotated bibliography, embedded in the end notes, adds to the significance of this insightful and poignant book. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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