Category Archives: Planet Earth

The Sixth Extinction

The Sixth Extinction

Picador
Paperback
336 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-06218-5

An Unnatural History

Elizabeth Kolbert

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“Your view of the world will be fundamentally changed . . . Kolbert is an astute observer, excellent explainer, and superb synthesizer, and even manages to find humor in her subject matter.”—The Seattle Times

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.

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 Panamanian 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. “Ms. Kolbert shows in these pages that she can write with elegiac poetry about the vanishing creatures of this planet, but the real power of her book resides in the hard science and historical context she delivers here, documenting the mounting losses that human beings are leaving in their wake.”—The New York Times

© Barry Goldstein

Elizabeth Kolbert is a staff writer at The New Yorker. She is the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe. She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with her husband and children.

The Sixth Extinction has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Colgate University (NY); Lafayette College (PA); Linfield College (OR); Occidental College (CA); Feather River College (CA); Millsaps College (MS); Rowan University (NJ); Saint Francis High School (CA); Stanford University (CA); Villanova University (PA); Williams College (MA); University of Vermont (VT)

Climate of Hope

Climate of Hope

St. Martin’s Press
Paperback
272 pages • $17.99
ISBN: 9781250142085

How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet

Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope

“A smart new book.”

—Thomas Friedman, The New York Times

The 2016 election left many people who are concerned about the environment fearful that progress on climate change would come screeching to a halt. But not Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope. Bloomberg, an entrepreneur and former mayor of New York City, and Pope, a lifelong environmental leader, approach climate change from different perspectives, yet they arrive at similar conclusions. Without agreeing on every point, they share a belief that cities, businesses, and citizens can lead—and win—the battle against climate change, no matter which way the political winds in Washington may shift. In Climate of Hope, Bloomberg and Pope offer an optimistic look at the challenge of climate change, the solutions they believe hold the greatest promise, and the practical steps that are necessary to achieve them. Writing from their own experiences, and sharing their own stories from government, business, and advocacy, Bloomberg and Pope provide a road map for tackling the most complicated challenge the world has ever faced. Along the way, they turn the usual way of thinking about climate change on its head: from top down to bottom up, from partisan to pragmatic, from costs to benefits, from tomorrow to today, and from fear to hope.

Michael Bloomberg (C) Gregory Heisler

© Gregory Heisler

Carl Hope (c) Gregory Heisler

© Gregory Heisler

Michael Bloomberg is the founder of Bloomberg LP, a philanthropist, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, and three-term mayor of New York City. A passionate supporter of action on climate change, Bloomberg is involved in multiple climate efforts, including partnering with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.

Carl Pope is the principal adviser at Inside Straight Strategies, looking for the underlying economics that link sustainability and economic development. He serves as a Senior Climate Adviser to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He is a member of the U.S.-India Track II Climate Diplomacy project of the Aspen Institute. Mr. Pope writes regularly for Bloomberg View and Huffington Post, and is the author of three books.

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Thank You for Being Late

Thank You for Being Late

Picador
Paperback
560 pages • $18.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-14122-4

An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations

Thomas L. Friedman

“It is hard to think of any other journalist who has explained as many complicated subjects to so many people . . . Now he has written his most ambitious book—part personal odyssey, part commonsense manifesto.”

—The New York Times Book Review

In this new book, Thomas L. Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them and cushion their worst impacts. You will never look at the world the same way again after you read this book: how you understand the news, the work you do, the education your students need, the investments your employer has to make, and the moral and geopolitical choices our country has to navigate will all be refashioned by Friedman’s original analysis. His thesis: to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet’s three largest forces—Moore’s law (technology); the Market (globalization); and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss)—are accelerating all at once. These accelerations are transforming five key realms: the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community. Thank You for Being Late is a work of contemporary history that serves as a field manual for how to write and think about this era of accelerations. It’s also an argument for “being late”—for pausing to appreciate this amazing historical epoch we’re passing through and reflecting on its possibilities and dangers. Friedman shows that we can overcome the multiple stresses of an age of accelerations—if we slow down, if we dare to be late and use the time to reimagine work, politics, and community. This is Friedman’s most ambitious book—and an essential guide to the present and the future.

© Ralph Alswang

Thomas L. Friedman is a three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for his work with The New York Times and the author of six bestselling books, including The World Is Flat, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, and That Used to Be Us (co-written with Michael Mandelbaum). He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his family.

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Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist and Other Essays

Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist

Graywolf Press
Paperback
208 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-555-97780-1

Paul Kingsnorth

“This book is refreshing in both a literary respect and an environmental one. What Kingsnorth argues in these essays is so radical that, if put into practice, it could effect meaningful preservation . . . Kingsnorth’s is a much-needed perspective in the environmental movement, recovering or otherwise.”

The Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Paul Kingsnorth was once an activist—an ardent environmentalist. He fought against rampant development and the depredations of a corporate world that seemed hell-bent on ignoring a looming climate crisis in its relentless pursuit of profit. But as the environmental movement began to focus on “sustainability” rather than the defense of wild places for their own sake, and as global conditions worsened, he grew disenchanted with the movement that he once embraced. He gave up what he saw as the false hope that residents of the first world would ever make the kind of sacrifices that might avert the severe consequences of climate change. Full of grief and fury as well as passionate, lyrical evocations of nature and the wild, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist gathers the wave-making essays that have charted the change in Kingsnorth’s thinking. In them he articulates a new vision that he calls “dark ecology,” which stands firmly in opposition to the belief that technology can save us, and he argues for a renewed balance between the human and nonhuman worlds. This iconoclastic, fearless, and ultimately hopeful book, which includes the much-discussed “Uncivilization” manifesto, asks hard questions about how we’ve lived and how we should live.

Paul Kingsnorth (c) Clare McNamee

© Clare McNamee

Paul Kingsnorth is the author of the novels Beast and The Wake, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He is cofounder of the Dark Mountain Project, a global network of writers, artists, and thinkers in search of new stories for a world on the brink.

The Hour of Land

The Hour of Land

Picador
Paperback
416 pages • $18.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-13214-7

A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks

Terry Tempest Williams

“A collection of essays that’s a personal journey as much as a meditation on the purpose and relevance of national parks in the 21st century . . . Williams’s language has its own visceral beauty . . . The Hour of Land is one of the best nature books I’ve read in years, filled with seductive prose.”

—Andrea Wulf, The New York Times Book Review

America’s national parks are breathing spaces in a world in which such spaces are steadily disappearing, which is why more than 300 million people visit the parks each year. Now Terry Tempest Williams, the author of the environmental classic Refuge and the beloved memoir When Women Were Birds, returns with The Hour of Land, a literary celebration of our national parks, an exploration of what they mean to us and what we mean to them. From the Grand Tetons in Wyoming to Acadia in Maine to Big Bend in Texas and more, Williams creates a series of lyrical portraits that illuminate the unique grandeur of each place while delving into what it means to shape a landscape with its own evolutionary history into something of our own making. Part memoir, part natural history, and part social critique, The Hour of Land is a meditation and a manifesto on why wild lands matter to the soul of America.

© Marion Ettinger

Terry Tempest Williams is the award-winning author of fifteen books, including Refuge, Finding Beauty in a Broken World, and When Women Were Birds. Her work has been widely anthologized around the world. She lives in Castle Valley, Utah, with her husband, Brooke Williams.

South Pole Station

South Pole Station

Picador
Hardcover
368 pp • $26.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-11282-8

A Novel

Ashley Shelby

“If you like literature that transports you to exotic locales beyond the reach of commercial airlines and enables you to view hot topics from cool new angles, South Pole Station is just the ticket . . . Shelby’s writing is pithy and funny.”

NPR

Do you have digestion problems due to stress? Do you have problems with authority? How many alcoholic drinks do you consume a week? Would you rather be a florist or a truck driver? These are some of the questions that determine if you have what it takes to survive at South Pole Station, a place with an average temperature of -54°F and no sunlight for six months a year. Cooper Gosling has just answered five hundred of them. Cooper’s results indicate she is abnormal enough for Polar life and accepts a position in the National Science Foundation’s Artists & Writers Program in Antarctica, where she encounters a group of misfits motivated by desires as ambiguous as her own. The only thing the Polies have in common is the conviction that they don’t belong anywhere else. Then a fringe scientist arrives, claiming climate change is a hoax. His presence will rattle this already-imbalanced community, bringing Cooper and the Polies to the center of a global controversy and threatening the ancient ice chip they call home. A warmhearted comedy of errors set in the world’s harshest place, Ashley Shelby’s South Pole Station is a wry and witty debut novel about the courage it takes to band together when everything around you falls apart.

© Erica Hanna

© Eric

Ashley Shelby received her M.F.A. from Columbia University and is the author of Red River Rising: The Anatomy of a Flood and the Survival of an American City. The short story that became the basis for South Pole Station is a winner of the Third Coast Fiction Prize. She lives in the Twin Cities with her family.

The Modern Savage

Picking Cotton

St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books
Hardcover
304 pages • $25.99
ISBN: 978-1-250-03119-8

Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals

James McWilliams

In this book, James McWilliams explores the “compassionate carnivore” movement and the paradox of humanity’s relationship with animals.

In the last four decades, food reformers have revealed the ecological and ethical problems of eating animals raised in industrial settings, turning what was once the boutique concern of radical eco-freaks into a mainstream movement. But although many stores now carry meat labeled as “cage free,” “free range,” and “grass-fed,” can eating meat ever truly be considered sound, safe, or ethical?

In The Modern Savage, renowned writer, historian, and animal activist James McWilliams pushes back against the questionable moral standards of a largely omnivorous world and explores the “alternative to the alternative”—not eating animals at all. McWilliams reveals the scope of the cruelty that takes place even on the smallest and—supposedly—most humane animal farms. In a world increasingly aware of animals’ intelligence and the range of their emotions, McWilliams advocates for the only truly moral, sustainable choice—a diet without meat, dairy, or other animal products. McWilliams’s The Modern Savage is a riveting expose of an industry that has typically hidden behind a veil of morality, and a compelling account of how to live a more economical, environmental, and ethical life.

James McWilliams © Cecile McWilliams

© Cecile McWilliams

James McWilliams is a writer and historian living in Austin, Texas. He is the author of five previous books on food, animals, and agriculture, including Just Food and A Revolution in Eating. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, Slate, The Atlantic, and a wide variety of other publications.