Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction

By Chris D. Thomas
Read by Bob Reed

9.88 Hours 09/05/2017 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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    ISBN: 9781478988724

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Human activity has irreversibly changed the natural environment. But the news isn't all bad. It's accepted wisdom today that human beings have permanently damaged the natural world, causing extinction, deforestation, pollution, and of course climate change. But in Inheritors of the Earth, biologist Chris Thomas shows that this obscures a more hopeful truth--we're also helping nature grow and change. Human cities and mass agriculture have created new places for enterprising animals and plants to live, and our activities have stimulated evolutionary change in virtually every population of living species. Most remarkably, Thomas shows, humans may well have raised the rate at which new species are formed to the highest level in the history of our planet. Drawing on the success stories of diverse species, from the ochre-colored comma butterfly to the New Zealand pukeko, Thomas overturns the accepted story of declining biodiversity on Earth. In so doing, he questions why we resist new forms of life, and why we see ourselves as unnatural. Ultimately, he suggests that if life on Earth can recover from the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, it can survive the onslaughts of the technological age. This eye-opening book is a profound reexamination of the relationship between humanity and the natural world.

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Summary

Summary

Human activity has irreversibly changed the natural environment. But the news isn't all bad.
It's accepted wisdom today that human beings have permanently damaged the natural world, causing extinction, deforestation, pollution, and of course climate change. But in Inheritors of the Earth, biologist Chris Thomas shows that this obscures a more hopeful truth--we're also helping nature grow and change. Human cities and mass agriculture have created new places for enterprising animals and plants to live, and our activities have stimulated evolutionary change in virtually every population of living species. Most remarkably, Thomas shows, humans may well have raised the rate at which new species are formed to the highest level in the history of our planet.
Drawing on the success stories of diverse species, from the ochre-colored comma butterfly to the New Zealand pukeko, Thomas overturns the accepted story of declining biodiversity on Earth. In so doing, he questions why we resist new forms of life, and why we see ourselves as unnatural. Ultimately, he suggests that if life on Earth can recover from the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, it can survive the onslaughts of the technological age. This eye-opening book is a profound reexamination of the relationship between humanity and the natural world.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

A decent and humane tale about the threat and promise of biodiversity change. James Lovelock, author of The Revenge of Gaia and A Rough Guide to the Future
[A] thrilling and uplifting counter to the pessimism of the Anthropocene. Stuart Blackman, BBC Wildlife Magazine
Fascinating ... Chris Thomas examines our human relationships with nature, bad and good, and sets out a more hopeful truth to current narratives and alarms ... This is a rich and timely tale, fearless too, with examples and cases drawn from ecosystems across the world. Professor Jules Pretty, Times Higher Education
The most interesting / challenging / surprising thing I've read about the natural world for years. James Rebanks, author of The Shepherd's Life
A provocative book that challenges us to look positively at our human changes to the natural world and reimagine conservation in the Anthropocene. Gaia Vince, author of Adventures in the Anthropocene
With Inheritors of the Earth, Chris D. Thomas issues a challenge to the conventional view of nature in decline. He urges us to embrace the environmental changes we've set in motion, daring to suggest that human activities will ultimately increase the diversity of life on Earth. A timely and provocative read. Thor Hanson, author of The Triumph of Seeds
With a perspective that stretches many epochs into the past and forward to the year One Million A.D., Thomas reframes Earth's current ecological upheaval as a time of great creation as well as great loss. Without minimizing or excusing the damage humans have done to the planet, Inheritors of the Earth opens our eyes to the splendid and fascinating ways nature is adapting and evolving to the world we have made. He urges us to take our cue from the majestic dynamism of nature and work with other species as they change and move, rather than fighting an impossible battle to freeze the planet in time. All change is not bad. I thought I was an optimist. Thomas is the real ecological optimist. Emma Marris, author of Rambunctious Garden
Chris Thomas takes the million-year view of today's human-dominated world. The result is a thoughtful, provocative, and improbably hopeful book. Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction and Field Notes from a Catastrophe
His flowing narrative is rich in stories of his fieldwork round the world ... Thomas's vision ... aspires to something nobler, more optimistic. Fred Pearce, New Scientist
An immensely significant book. It is fluently written, carefully thought through, ruthlessly argued, neatly illustrated with case studies - and shockingly contrarian. Matt Ridley, The Times (Book of the Week)
"Inheritors of the Earth collects years of Thomas' field research, illuminating plant and animal species-notably one of his specialties, butterflies-flourishing all over the Earth. Thomas puts big ideas on display. Nautilus Magazine
"The inevitability (and pace) of global change demands the sort of fresh thinking that is found in Inheritors of the Earth. Science Magazine
Thoughtfully argued, full of rich examples... This engaging, provocative and important book paints a refreshingly optimistic picture of life on Earth The Guardian
His flowing narrative is rich in stories of his fieldwork round the world ... Thomas's vision ... aspires to something nobler, more optimistic. New Scientist
Fascinating ... Chris Thomas examines our human relationships with nature, bad and good, and sets out a more hopeful truth to current narratives and alarms ... This is a rich and timely tale, fearless too, with examples and cases drawn from ecosystems across the world. Times Higher Education
Chris Thomas takes the million-year view of today's human-dominated world. The result is a thoughtful, provocative, and improbably hopeful book. Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction
[A] thrilling and uplifting counter to the pessimism of the Anthropocene. BBC Wildlife Magazine
An immensely significant book. It is fluently written, carefully thought through, ruthlessly argued, neatly illustrated with case studies - and shockingly contrarian. Matt Ridley, The Times (Book of the Week)

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Chris D. Thomas

Chris D. Thomas is a professor of conservation biology at the University of York, UK. A prolific writer, he has published 210 scientific journal articles, 29 book chapters, edited one academic book, and has written around 20 magazine and other popular articles since 2000. His works have been cited more than 26,000 times, making him one of the world's most influential ecologists, and his research has been covered on the front pages of the Guardian and Washington Post. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 2012, is a long-standing fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, and received Marsh Awards for Climate Change Research in 2011 and for Conservation Biology in 2004 and the prestigious British Ecological Society President's Medal in 2001.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download
Runtime: 9.88
Audience: Adult
Language: English