The Future Of Life
A magisterial accomplishment: both a moving description of our biosphere and a guidebook for the protection of all its species, including humankind.From one of the world’s most influential scientists (and two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning author) comes his most timely and important book yet: an impassioned call for quick and decisive action to save Earth’s biological heritage, and a plan to achieve that rescue.Today we understand that our world is infinitely richer than was ever previously guessed. Yet it is so ravaged by human activity that half its species could be gone by the end of the present century. These two contrasting truths—unexpected magnificence and underestimated peril—have become compellingly clear during the past two decades of research on biological diversity.In this dazzlingly intelligent and ultimately hopeful book, Wilson describes what treasures of the natural world we are about to lose forever—in many cases animals, insects, and plants we have only just discovered, and whose potential to nourish us, protect us, and cure our illnesses is immeasurable—and what we can do to save them. In the process, he explores the ethical and religious bases of the conservation movement and deflates the myth that environmental policy is antithetical to economic growth by illustrating how new methods of conservation can ensure long-term economic well-being.The Future of Life is a magisterial accomplishment: both a moving description of our biosphere and a guidebook for the protection of all its species, including humankind.

The Future Of Life Details

TitleThe Future Of Life
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 3rd, 2003
PublisherAbacus
ISBN-139780349115795
Rating
GenreScience, Nonfiction, Biology, Environment, Nature, Ecology

The Future Of Life Review

  • Ryan Moulton
    January 1, 1970
    Skip the overwrought introduction if it turns you off. The motivational parts are a little weak. The rest of the book is fascinating and enlightening.His major theses:- The only way to preserve the remaining species on earth is to protect large contiguous areas of habitat.- The wilderness is worth protecting, both economically and morally.- With a small change in priorities, most of the remaining species can be protected at a reasonable cost.Here are the most interesting facts I picked up from r Skip the overwrought introduction if it turns you off. The motivational parts are a little weak. The rest of the book is fascinating and enlightening.His major theses:- The only way to preserve the remaining species on earth is to protect large contiguous areas of habitat.- The wilderness is worth protecting, both economically and morally.- With a small change in priorities, most of the remaining species can be protected at a reasonable cost.Here are the most interesting facts I picked up from reading it.- The number of unique species that a preserve can support is proportional to the 4th root of its area, so isolated parks don’t accomplish very much.- Species in general cannot be preserved outside of their habitat, and habitat loss is the dominant reason for extinction. The relationship between a species and its environment is incredibly complicated and indirect. It requires decades of study per species to uncover the precise set of conditions that would be required for it to survive in captivity, or even to decide what aspects of its habitat should be prioritized to protect. For instance, the Vancouver Island Marmot lives only on the tops of mountains, but if you clear the valleys between those mountains, the marmots die.- Vegetation causes rain. When there is more plant cover, more rain is absorbed and re-emitted cyclically so the amount of atmospheric water increases. Half of the water in the amazon comes from the plants in the amazon itself. Clearing away tropical land changes its climate to be semi-arid, and causes the collapse of nearby areas. As land is cleared the entire climate of the region can collapse. There is some evidence that this is already happening in Borneo.- The profit margin of timber companies on tropical lands is so small that they can typically be outbid by non profits for logging rights at a rate of a few dollars per acre. In 1998, The Nature Conservancy doubled the size of Bolivia’s Noel Kempff Mercado national park, buying the logging rights of 1.6 million acres at $1 an acre. Conservation International uses the same strategy. I’ve donated to The Nature Conservancy for years, but I’m even more impressed with them after reading this book.- In the mid 90s, scientists discovered a new large mammal species in the mountains between Laos and Vietnam, so unique that it has its own genus. It is called a saola, and is probably already extinct.- $28 Billion is enough to secure at least a representative sample of earth’s ecosystems. The current total of all government and private funds allotted for conservation is $6 billion.- 85% of our antibiotics come from ascomycetes fungi, but likely less than 10% of ascomycetes species have been discovered.- A new treatment for HIV was discovered during routine screenings from the leaves of a tree in borneo. When they returned to the site where it was found, there were no more of the species left. Finally the last few members were uncovered in the Singapore Botanic Garden.
    more
  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    I picked up this book most interested in following the trail of bio-prospecting, hearing about some of the field's successes, some predictions for it’s future impact on medicine, pharmaceuticals, etc.While I expected this book to be great, I was let down by the author's writing style and focus in some sections.The entire first half of the book was disappointingly dedicated to convincing me that the preservation of bio-diversity is a noble cause. At the most, I expected a section focused on this I picked up this book most interested in following the trail of bio-prospecting, hearing about some of the field's successes, some predictions for it’s future impact on medicine, pharmaceuticals, etc.While I expected this book to be great, I was let down by the author's writing style and focus in some sections.The entire first half of the book was disappointingly dedicated to convincing me that the preservation of bio-diversity is a noble cause. At the most, I expected a section focused on this to fill 10 pages at the most, but I feel that half the book is ridiculously excessive. I picked up the book because I already understand that bio-diversity is positive and absolutely necessary. I feel that people who generally agree with this will probably be the only people to pick up this book. Drilling these basic concepts into the ground actually caused me to put the book down several times, rolling my eyes.About halfway through the book is where it starts to get good. I recommend reading the second half, while only skimming the first if you already hold the “biodiversity is necessary” opinion.Overall, what bothered me most were the consistent conclusions the author stated - almost out of thin air, which he then left hanging. Unsupported, unexplored, and therefore irresponsible conclusions bother me. I find them insulting. This method of "indoctrination" was employed consistently through the book. It was so prevalent that while I agree with the author on almost all except the most liberal of his ideas, I still felt used and disrespected as a reader.As an example, the writer consistently feels that one study can "prove" a particular conclusion. I personally feel that many of the conclusions supporting environmental preservation are adequately supported by responsible, peer-reviewed research that has held up under repeated studies. Why not reference these studies, and reference them responsibly? Somehow, the author chooses instead to sometimes rely on single studies, claiming their proof of "causal" relationships that, truly, do not show causal relationships at all. At best, many of the studies he cites show correlations, but I feel some studies are completely unrelated to the conclusions he draws from them.Ex:Author's Conclusion: Human beings came from / evolved in the Savanna.Study that supposedly "proves" this: A well-known psychological study in which hospital patients require less painkillers when staying in a room with a window to view the outside. Drawing connections like this is irresponsible and insulting to the reader.Even if I give him the benefit of the doubt, assuming that I read / understood this part of the book wrong, this study was, in the least, cited as support of this conclusion, which I still find absolutely ridiculous. The study sited shows exactly what is stated – that those in hospital rooms with windows generally tend to require less pain medication. Attaching this to some distant concept is exactly the sort of quasi-science reporting that is most often exhibited in shoddy journalism, not in books by Harvard-employed scientists. I expected more.In closing, if you read this book, keep your eyes open. You may enjoy it, and some parts are quite good, just be aware of when he is trying to sell a personally drawn conclusion to you, and react accordingly.
    more
  • Lucas Miller
    January 1, 1970
    My Audible review:I've listened to Cousteau's "The Human, the Orchid and The Octopus" and Jane Goodall's "Reason for Hope" and just finished this one. To be brief, I think this one stands head-and-shoulders above the other two as a case for the environment and a roadmap for a sustainable way of live for humanity. As an environmental educator, I appreciate Wilson's fact-based approach here in regards to both the problems and the solutions; Goodall and Cousteau both argued more from an emotional p My Audible review:I've listened to Cousteau's "The Human, the Orchid and The Octopus" and Jane Goodall's "Reason for Hope" and just finished this one. To be brief, I think this one stands head-and-shoulders above the other two as a case for the environment and a roadmap for a sustainable way of live for humanity. As an environmental educator, I appreciate Wilson's fact-based approach here in regards to both the problems and the solutions; Goodall and Cousteau both argued more from an emotional perspective that, to me, seemed a couple decades old. I read books like this to better understand the issues we face but I personally need a healthy dose of hope and optimism to inspire me to keep up the fight. While this book goes into great detail about the problems we've created in modern, ancient and, yes, prehistoric times, it concludes with concrete examples of what's being done, and by whom, to assure the survival of present day wildlife and humans. Begley definitely needed a pronunciation consultant (for numerous scientific terms as well as the writer Goethe whose name he pronounced "Goath," like a high school freshman!!) but, essentially, did a good job of reading with enough inflection and emotion to keep me from drifting off. I found Wilson's writing to be top-notch. The opening letter to Thoreau was beautiful, in my opinion; one of the better pieces of nature writing I've read in recent years. I suppose if you're not already "green" in some measure, you might find the cases Wilson presents to be unrealistic or alarmist but, it seems to me, you probably just don't really want to hear the truth because this is based in the best facts modern biological science can present. Thank you, E.O. Wilson, for a lifetime of science, leadership and conservation!
    more
  • SD Mittelsteadt
    January 1, 1970
    A great book for those concered about the environment and the state of our natural world. Ed Wilson first made me ashamed to be a human being of this planet, then convinced me that we are smart enough, talented enough, and moral enough to not only do something to protect and preserve life on this planet, but possibly correct many of the wrongs from the past. These people are already hard at work and while the progress is slow, it is still progress.The book is a bit academic at times; lots of sta A great book for those concered about the environment and the state of our natural world. Ed Wilson first made me ashamed to be a human being of this planet, then convinced me that we are smart enough, talented enough, and moral enough to not only do something to protect and preserve life on this planet, but possibly correct many of the wrongs from the past. These people are already hard at work and while the progress is slow, it is still progress.The book is a bit academic at times; lots of statistics and latin names, but Ed Wilson is a fantastic writer who's talent surely appeals to readers of all levels and any background. This book has been on my shelf for probably four years. I can't believe it took me this long to get to it and finish it!!
    more
  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    For a book published in 2002, it is good to see how much that was written about has come to pass; improved understanding of the environment, a desire to think big in terms of conservation areas, and looking at the biodiversity of regions.That said there are areas that have not progressed. Along with animal extinctions, loss of rainforest, and other environmental disasters that have happened around the world.The solutions that he proposes in the final chapter are still valid, and any government s For a book published in 2002, it is good to see how much that was written about has come to pass; improved understanding of the environment, a desire to think big in terms of conservation areas, and looking at the biodiversity of regions.That said there are areas that have not progressed. Along with animal extinctions, loss of rainforest, and other environmental disasters that have happened around the world.The solutions that he proposes in the final chapter are still valid, and any government should look at implementing these given how business and corporations have managed to bring the world the the edge of the abyss, and still want more concessions.
    more
  • Zdzich
    January 1, 1970
    Since being very interested in the subject of environmental studies, it was a great pleasure for me to come across this book. Without any doubt I can claim, that one of its strength is deep love for nature. Nevertheless, there was a number of views presented in the book, which I personally found disagreeable with the main pro-ecological idea of the work. One of such controversial opinions expressed by the Author was the encouragement of families with no children. I am deeply concerned that the l Since being very interested in the subject of environmental studies, it was a great pleasure for me to come across this book. Without any doubt I can claim, that one of its strength is deep love for nature. Nevertheless, there was a number of views presented in the book, which I personally found disagreeable with the main pro-ecological idea of the work. One of such controversial opinions expressed by the Author was the encouragement of families with no children. I am deeply concerned that the lifestyle of many human beings is far more dangerous for the natural environment than the actual number of the Earth’s inhabitants. The fact is that, due to various child-free trends many people easily resign from having a child, whereas very few of them are ready to resign from all the modern conveniences. Those conveniences are the real threat to the environment. That is so because the possession of a family with a child has already transformed from a natural instinct into a moral pleasure, while many people prefer physical or material pleasures nowadays. I also consider the story of a negative impact on the nature brought by the Polynesians inadequate. Certainly, every case of the colonization of virgin land always leads to the damages of its natural environment. Nonetheless, the Polynesians didn’t had the tools people use nowadays, which means that the changes in the environment caused by those people were a part of evolution rather than a kind of catastrophes we observe nowadays. Even if scrutinizing the history of Polynesian colonists, I am wondering, why the Author did say nothing about the ancient civilizations being devastated completely with the help of European colonists. In addition to it, I was disappointed by the Author’s view on the genetically modified organisms. I am not willing to criticise GMOs at the moment, although I generally do not appreciate this development. I just can’t understand, how the Author managed to accept GMOs after providing the readers with a number of stories describing that even the slightest intrusion into the wildlife can change it enormously. I believe that this book is worse reading mainly because of its stories about animal extinction. However, the readers who are familiar to the subject of environmental studies may be a bit disappointed by the rest of the book.
    more
  • Marit
    January 1, 1970
    This was my first E.O. Wilson popular book (a sad admission for an ecologist, I know), but I'm so glad I finally took the plunge. Wilson's writing is superb. His fascination, intense love, and awe of the natural world shines through in elegant, pithy phrases and humorous descriptions and one-liners. This particular book takes the readers through the wonders of the teeming biodiversity of the world (big and charismatic to microscopic and mysterious) to the perils that diversity has faced and cont This was my first E.O. Wilson popular book (a sad admission for an ecologist, I know), but I'm so glad I finally took the plunge. Wilson's writing is superb. His fascination, intense love, and awe of the natural world shines through in elegant, pithy phrases and humorous descriptions and one-liners. This particular book takes the readers through the wonders of the teeming biodiversity of the world (big and charismatic to microscopic and mysterious) to the perils that diversity has faced and continues to face with human impacts of all kinds chipping and hammering away at it. He includes a chapter about valuation of the natural world, in monetary, social, and spiritual ways. He does not point fingers but instead explains how the natural world came to teeter in such peril based on the vagaries and sometimes pointed attempts of the human world to alter it. Of course, there is the final chapter of hope where he points to the promising signs of increased non-profit conservation organizations and governments taking an active role in environmentalism and conservation. This book is a good introduction into the current problems of the day, despite it being seven years old. And it's beautifully and lovingly crafted. Highly recommend!
    more
  • Jean
    January 1, 1970
    Wilson explains how all ecosystems, even those populated by the minutest of species, are linked to all other ecosystems creating one super organism. This super organism surrounds Earth and provides not only equilibrium but services to humanity like water purification, climate regulation, soil enrichment and crop pollination. These services are worth an estimated/astronomical 33 trillion dollars per year. He describes forces that can lead to the extinction of a species and argues that at current Wilson explains how all ecosystems, even those populated by the minutest of species, are linked to all other ecosystems creating one super organism. This super organism surrounds Earth and provides not only equilibrium but services to humanity like water purification, climate regulation, soil enrichment and crop pollination. These services are worth an estimated/astronomical 33 trillion dollars per year. He describes forces that can lead to the extinction of a species and argues that at current levels of production and consumption our planet no longer has the ability to regenerate. Therefore, according to Wilson, the most important problem of the 21st century will be how to raise the living standard of the poor while preserving as much of the rest of life as possible. He believes the solution must begin with moral reasoning. He mentions two reasons for optimism: a.) advances in science and technology and b.) the fact that religious thinkers are discussing our environmental challenges.
    more
  • Sheryl Smith
    January 1, 1970
    Awesome, awesome book.I am not what anyone would call a liberal. Neither am I a conservative. I live outside those labels and live in the land of the spiritual, being aware of the connectedness of all things. (Without being Buddhist.)It was to that part of my mind and soul this book resonated.Liberals would thoroughly enjoy this read. Conservatives would enjoy lots of exclamations and expletives.In my opinion, the author went above and beyond in his description of what is happening to the enviro Awesome, awesome book.I am not what anyone would call a liberal. Neither am I a conservative. I live outside those labels and live in the land of the spiritual, being aware of the connectedness of all things. (Without being Buddhist.)It was to that part of my mind and soul this book resonated.Liberals would thoroughly enjoy this read. Conservatives would enjoy lots of exclamations and expletives.In my opinion, the author went above and beyond in his description of what is happening to the environment and just how vital the environment is to the sustenance of life, with just enough rational appeal to give us non-liberals something to chew on.Very rational, very intellectual, yet very moving and real.I highly recommend this book. Especially to homeschoolers and interested high schoolers.
    more
  • Connie
    January 1, 1970
    This is great info, enjoyable to read and worthwhile. It is often reminding me of The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, but explores a much more biological point of reference. It's incredibly factual and detailed about the flora and fauna of the planet and human impact. Wilson urges that because we have conscious choice, we have the option to curb our actions as humanity spreads and destroys at increasingly rapid rates. He encourages a long dormant desire in me to want for the better of the whole This is great info, enjoyable to read and worthwhile. It is often reminding me of The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, but explores a much more biological point of reference. It's incredibly factual and detailed about the flora and fauna of the planet and human impact. Wilson urges that because we have conscious choice, we have the option to curb our actions as humanity spreads and destroys at increasingly rapid rates. He encourages a long dormant desire in me to want for the better of the whole of life, not just for humanity, for life. Biophilia! read it, it brings to your frame of reference a much more realistic view of the numbers of species we're losing and how quickly that's happening.
    more
  • John Valentich
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant book for non-biologists about the wondrous intricacies of life on earth and where it's headed if humans don't quickly ramp up their learning curve about how they're about to destroy the tidy house of cards that represents modern "civilization." This book explains why humans are the most dangerous invasive species on earth. But unlike other invasives, they may bring about their own extinction during a relatively short residence in biosphere earth.
    more
  • Matt
    January 1, 1970
    This is a must read book for anyone who breaths and would prefer for it not to be a lung full of cancerous soot and toxins. Inspirational and oddly optimistic in this age of knee-jerk "the sky is falling" pessimists...even though the sky may be falling...or at least filling up with human-made heat trapping gases.
    more
  • tanya
    January 1, 1970
    Oh man are we in trouble. I wish someday I could know as much as Wilson and be as articulate and persuasive as he is. Even as he presents depressing fact after depressing fact, there remains an optimistic undertone. How can you spot thinkers like this in their youth and cling to their coattails?
    more
  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Simply phenomenal - outlines a variety of environmental issues, why we should care about them and how we can fix it all.
  • Saleh MoonWalker
    January 1, 1970
    Onvan : The Future Of Life - Nevisande : Edward O. Wilson - ISBN : 349115796 - ISBN13 : 9780349115795 - Dar 220 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2002
  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    So far - Readable and eye opening.
  • Eric Bennett
    January 1, 1970
    The Future of Life was ‘required’ reading for incoming freshmen at BSC in 2003. It has been incredibly interesting revisiting this “call to arms” for environmental conservationism 15 years later - even more so with the issues recently with the EPA. E. O. Wilson is optimistic, tempered by realism and pragmatism, about what can be done to protect the biodiversity under threat from governmental, economic, and ideological choices of those in power. He also outlines some steps the individual can take The Future of Life was ‘required’ reading for incoming freshmen at BSC in 2003. It has been incredibly interesting revisiting this “call to arms” for environmental conservationism 15 years later - even more so with the issues recently with the EPA. E. O. Wilson is optimistic, tempered by realism and pragmatism, about what can be done to protect the biodiversity under threat from governmental, economic, and ideological choices of those in power. He also outlines some steps the individual can take to apply pressure to those in power to conserve nature. Honestly, the most important parts of this book are Wilson’s outlining the scope of biodiversity present on Earth - known and overwhelmingly unknown, and the rate at which that biodiversity is being reduced - all while explaining the many reasons it behooves is all to care about and actively fight to conserve said biodiversity. Is this book dated? In some ways, yes. Wilson’s optimism is often dashed by the realization that there are those currently who are actively trying to circumvent the preservation of our world for their own personal or shareholders profits. The science, however, is very much relevant. I’d recommend this book to everyone on some level - especially if you are on the fence about saving flora and fauna found across the planet. Preventing extinction for the African elephant and giant panda are just as important as saving microscopic fungi - and life for us, not even our descendants, may actually depend on it.
    more
  • Márk Reif
    January 1, 1970
    A beautifully written book by Edward O. Wilson in defense of nature and biodiversity, in it the author argues that the time has come we homo sapiens take responsibility for our actions and stop running amok letting other creatures live on this planet we both call home.The book paints a less than flattering picture of humanity. Basically, imagine a sci-fi scenario in which the protagonists are locked in a closed space with some horrendous creature that hunts them for sport, food or just to elimin A beautifully written book by Edward O. Wilson in defense of nature and biodiversity, in it the author argues that the time has come we homo sapiens take responsibility for our actions and stop running amok letting other creatures live on this planet we both call home.The book paints a less than flattering picture of humanity. Basically, imagine a sci-fi scenario in which the protagonists are locked in a closed space with some horrendous creature that hunts them for sport, food or just to eliminate them out of sheer spite. Now, on Earth that horrendous creature is us, and every other living being is the poor slob confined with us.Humanity, as we all know now, is an awful companion to other creatures, as from the time we had the means (brain, tools, fire, ect.) we raced to fulfil all our fleeting instinct and need, all else be damned. In doing so our ancestors eradicated much of the megafauna and large animals and we, the descendants, do everything in our power to up the old fools one by systematically eradicating the remnants of a once diverse biosphere. It is not to say we do this because we are rotten or evil, for the most part of our history we were unaware of the destruction we were causing, and now that we know it might be late as other considerations come before the diversity of the biosphere. Our entire modern civilization is built on growth alone and the gears of capital are hard to stop in the protection of some plant or mice. Also, our gross overpopulation marched us into a bottleneck, where the population of Earth is rising fast and in order to feed the masses, we need every bit of land we can grab. When given the choice whether we should feed a starving child or save some obscure plant or insect not many people would go for the later. On the bright side, the flattening out of the number of the humans are in sight, in the century, with no major trend change, we most probably see the highest number of inhabitants for some time at least. The author argues, rightly so I think, that even with these considerations the biosphere is worth sparing for several reasons. First, we do not understand the consequences of our actions, it is a very real possibility that they come back to haunt or even kill us down the road. Imagine killing of parts of the ecosystem which turns out indispensable to agriculture or human life, even small parts of it is so complex that technology won’t be able to save us. So it is in our best interest to try to save this planet of ours. There is the moral, or ethical argument, which goes something like every living thing is unique, keeping this uniqueness is worth the fight in itself. Even more so, as life on Earth originates from the same source, therefore on a level every living thing is a distant relative of us. Furthermore, we owe it to our descendants to save the diversity of life, so not only us can enjoy the singing of different birds or the sight of some magnificent animals or the joy of understanding the workings of some microbes. He supports his standpoint with one more proof. The heaps of unknown species conceal in themselves possibly tons of new medicines, food sources and other innovations, by killing them off they take their secrets into their graves, it is a misdeed or borderline crime to let this happen. He follows it up by flashing light on another important aspect of the whole case, saving the majority of life wouldn’t even be a that costly thing to do, and the lot of it could be offset by creating a new, sustainable way of handling our forests, waters and general living spaces. So basically, we have the means, we have the case, only the will is lacking, we should (and by we I absolutely mean myself too) do it for ourselves, the biosphere and the future of life on Earth.The book as you probably can tell left a rather good impression on me. On one hand, the arguments are sufficiently supported, the chapters logically built and the author trustworthy source of most of what he writes about, being at the forefront of conservationist movement. On the other hand, the book is beautifully written with paragraphs crying to be painted on walls all over the planet. Some thoughts to chew on: If Earth’s ability to support our growth is finite – and it is – we were mostly too busy to notice. Reduced reproduction by female choice can be thought a fortunate, indeed almost miraculous, gift of human nature to future generations. […] They opted for a smaller number of quality children, who can be raised with better health and education, over a larger family. They simultaneously chose better, more secure lives for themselves. As the populations continue to explode and water and arable land grow scarcer, the industrial countries will feel pressure in the form of many more desperate immigrants and the risk of spreading international terrorism. The natural environment we treat with such unnecessary ignorance and recklessness was our cradle and nursery, our school, and remains our one and only home. To its special conditions, we are intimately adapted in every one of the bodily fibres and biochemical transactions that gives us life. But combine them we must, because a universal environmental ethic is the only guide by which humanity and the rest of life can be safely conducted through the bottleneck into which our species has foolishly blundered. - The noble savage never existed. - Eden occupied was a slaughterhouse. - Paradise found is paradise lost.Humanity has so far played the role of planetary killer, concerned only with its own short-term survival. We have cut much of the heart out of biodiversity. Being distracted and self-absorbed, as is our nature, we have not yet fully understood what we are doing. But future generations, with endless time to reflect, will understand it all, and in painful detail. As awareness grows, so will their sense of loss. There will be thousands of ivory-billed woodpeckers to think about in the centuries and millennia to come. Each species, when examined closely, offers an endless bounty of knowledge and aesthetic pleasure. It is a living library. Because all organisms have descended from a common ancestor, it is correct to say that the biosphere as a whole began to think when humanity was born. If the rest of life is the body, we are the mind. Thus, our place in nature, viewed from an ethical perspective, is to think about the creation and to protect the living planet. We need nature, and particularly its wilderness strongholds. It is the alien world that gave rise to our species and the home to which we can safely return. It offers choices our spirit was designed to enjoy.
    more
  • Joseph Sverker
    January 1, 1970
    One cannot mistake Wilson almost evangelical zeal for the preservation of species. And I have no disagreements with his general motives, although it doesn't always make great reading. It is a little bit like sitting in on a sermon that trudge through the same point on and on again with slightly different angles. Wilson explains the situation well and he is also doing a good job to explain the basics of the taxonomical side of biology. Although, somehow, I don't get so very interested in it. Mayb One cannot mistake Wilson almost evangelical zeal for the preservation of species. And I have no disagreements with his general motives, although it doesn't always make great reading. It is a little bit like sitting in on a sermon that trudge through the same point on and on again with slightly different angles. Wilson explains the situation well and he is also doing a good job to explain the basics of the taxonomical side of biology. Although, somehow, I don't get so very interested in it. Maybe there are biological explanations for that. We seem to be interested in the more spectacular animals rather than the small ones. I have some problems with evolutionary psychology over all and it sounds very feasible when Wilson explains our preferences for the savanna and how we have phobias for animals that our ancestors had around them for thousands/millions of years. Yet, still I don't get quite convinced. My main problem with it is that it feels little like cherry picking. But maybe I should simply give it up and say that, yes, why wouldn't some of our preferencess be innate and a product of evolutionary development. But, all human treats? And how does one know the difference?But that is not what the book is mainly about and the main point is certainly important and I might even start to contribute a little to the groups for general diversity, yet when there are so many humans suffering? It is a difficult question, because as Wilson points out, the world will not be a better place if the creation gets completely impoverished with species. But after reading "The Hungry Tide" by Amitav Ghosh, the question of preservation gets a completely different slant - there the preservation of the tiger is in opposition to the livelihood of the poor. And I think one would need a whole lot of creative thinking in order to find a solution to that.
    more
  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    The book opens with a letter to Thoreau, describing the current condition of the natural world through the lense of contemporary science, and from a conservationist's perspective. He warns of the dangerous path we are heading down if we maintain current levels of use of our resources with the expanding weath of developing countries, issues of poverty and above all, the damage to the biosphere that we have caused and will cause unless we make consciously moral choices to mold our use of the plane The book opens with a letter to Thoreau, describing the current condition of the natural world through the lense of contemporary science, and from a conservationist's perspective. He warns of the dangerous path we are heading down if we maintain current levels of use of our resources with the expanding weath of developing countries, issues of poverty and above all, the damage to the biosphere that we have caused and will cause unless we make consciously moral choices to mold our use of the planet to a sustainable levels. He makes the point that we must get beyond the rhetoric and the stereotyping and name calling between the "sides" of the debate and make effective solutions, because people really believe and want the same things, both the sacred right to own land and the desire to live in a world with a diversity of live and resources. Though it expounds the conservationist perspective, the book deals with both sides of the issues and offers positive solutions that address real issues of poverty, diminishing resources, and offers ways that saving the environment can be profitable; highlighting the successes of many non-governmental programs, donations of wealthy individuals, and instances where hot spots such as coral reefs and tropical forests have been set aside as preserves while generating profit for the people surrounding it through ecotourism, eco-credits, etc. The book is both scientific and heartfelt, and reminds us of the stewardship we have to protect the only world we have, remembering that it belongs not to us, but to our children.
    more
  • Hollis Fishelson-holstine
    January 1, 1970
    The focus of the book was on the preciousness of biodiversity and how to preserve it for the future. I LOVED the intro - a letter to Thoreau at Walden Pond. The book itself, while on a subject near and dear to my heart was a lot of detailed information about a subject of which I'm pretty well informed, so I found myself scanning most of it. I was most interested in the 'solutions' chapter at the end, but found it less than satisfying. The gist of his suggestions seemed to center on NGOs (non-gov The focus of the book was on the preciousness of biodiversity and how to preserve it for the future. I LOVED the intro - a letter to Thoreau at Walden Pond. The book itself, while on a subject near and dear to my heart was a lot of detailed information about a subject of which I'm pretty well informed, so I found myself scanning most of it. I was most interested in the 'solutions' chapter at the end, but found it less than satisfying. The gist of his suggestions seemed to center on NGOs (non-government organizations) such as Conservation International and the Nature Conservancy, who are buying up land in 'hot-spots' around the land and working with the local governments to find ways to generate income from parks through eco-tourism as well as the search for raw materials for future commerce in plants and animals. While I commend this work and DO think it's important, I think we need more ways to communicate with those who don't understand the importance of this in ways that everyone can agree and support. I'd also like to see more about HOW to use this idea to help to transform some of the poverty in the developing world that gives rise to the over-use in the first place. The book was almost 10 years old, so I'm curious about the future of some of the efforts mentioned.
    more
  • Cameron
    January 1, 1970
    EO Wilson has an excellent grasp of the broad diversity of organisms that inhabit this planet. He also clearly understands the extent to which we have decimated these populations. This book is an excellent review of the biosphere, the extent of damage we have inflicted, the reasons why we should save it, and a very cost-effective solution to do so. This book is chock full of examples of the benefits that these organisms have provided to humanity, from cancer remedies to the air we breathe. I rea EO Wilson has an excellent grasp of the broad diversity of organisms that inhabit this planet. He also clearly understands the extent to which we have decimated these populations. This book is an excellent review of the biosphere, the extent of damage we have inflicted, the reasons why we should save it, and a very cost-effective solution to do so. This book is chock full of examples of the benefits that these organisms have provided to humanity, from cancer remedies to the air we breathe. I really appreciate how he avoids bashing those that damage our environment and those that don't understand what we have done. Instead, he takes a more objective approach, while illuminating the glorious beauty of the natural world. This is neither a complex, nor detailed book, just a great overview and a pleasant read.
    more
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    I can't decide if Wilson's solution to the future of biological life on our planet is optimistic in a functional or naive way. This was recommended reading by Margaret Atwood after reading Oryx and Crake, and I like the idea of having a solution instead of allowing society to deteriorate into genetically-modified fueled social collapse, and encouraging biodiversity and the protection of our remaining resources, but until there is a direct link between funding to do these things and a benefit to I can't decide if Wilson's solution to the future of biological life on our planet is optimistic in a functional or naive way. This was recommended reading by Margaret Atwood after reading Oryx and Crake, and I like the idea of having a solution instead of allowing society to deteriorate into genetically-modified fueled social collapse, and encouraging biodiversity and the protection of our remaining resources, but until there is a direct link between funding to do these things and a benefit to the people who otherwise benefit financially from the use of these resources, I really don't see it happening. I do agree that the issues surrounding environment/planet need to be separated from heavily partisan politics and religion if things are ever going to be changed in a legislated, international way. Thought provoking and timely, but possibly too hopeful. :)
    more
  • Kurt
    January 1, 1970
    Edward O. Wilson is an all-around fascinating person. No one is more knowledgeable on the subjects of biology, ecology, and nature in general. And he can write in a way that is readable, interesting, and enjoyable to non-experts in those fields (like me).The Future of Life is Wilson's attempt to describe the beauty, intricacy, and importance of the rich biological diversity that mankind has been blessed with. Most importantly, it details exactly how fragile certain components of our biosphere ca Edward O. Wilson is an all-around fascinating person. No one is more knowledgeable on the subjects of biology, ecology, and nature in general. And he can write in a way that is readable, interesting, and enjoyable to non-experts in those fields (like me).The Future of Life is Wilson's attempt to describe the beauty, intricacy, and importance of the rich biological diversity that mankind has been blessed with. Most importantly, it details exactly how fragile certain components of our biosphere can be and how imperiled the world and our civilization will be if we continue the degradation of natural environments at the current pace.
    more
  • Isabel
    January 1, 1970
    I'm reading this book for the Biology & Society class that I'm taking. It delves deeply into the make up of the biosphere and the impact that we have had and are having on our planet. But it's not all doom and gloom as the author believes that we have not gone too far and that the planet is still salvageable as long as we make changes quick. Unfortunately, we won't be able to save all species but we can at least save enough to keep biodiversity going and ensure our survival as well.Great rea I'm reading this book for the Biology & Society class that I'm taking. It delves deeply into the make up of the biosphere and the impact that we have had and are having on our planet. But it's not all doom and gloom as the author believes that we have not gone too far and that the planet is still salvageable as long as we make changes quick. Unfortunately, we won't be able to save all species but we can at least save enough to keep biodiversity going and ensure our survival as well.Great read for those that are interested in being better stewards of our one and only planet.
    more
  • Adrian
    January 1, 1970
    Information conveyed with the simplicity of a master. It's refreshing to hear someone discuss the state of the world in such depth without feeling like you're being clubbed over the head. E. O. Wilson is an O. G. when it comes to the environmental movement, but there's never a moment where he wangles this in front of our face. Just an extremely informed citizen deftly revealing the compass point of undeniable facts--and there's even a dose of optimism in there.
    more
  • David
    January 1, 1970
    I believe this book should be required reading for anyone who plans to live on our planet. Wilson argues convincingly that global climate change is not the most important problem we face, but that it is only one contributing factor to the real crisis which is the collapse of biodiversity. I first came to hear of E.O. Wilson when he was promoting his book Creation. That book turned out to be mostly a rehash of the ideas which were much more eliquently expressed in The Future of Life.
    more
  • John
    January 1, 1970
    Great book by Edward Wilson outlining a scientific outlook on the future of life. It is about 10 years old so I'm curious where we are in relation to what he hoped. This book took out the liberal/conservative arguments for conservation and outlined the issues and perils very well. If for no other reason, read it for the open letter to Thoreau he starts the book with.
    more
  • Adriane
    January 1, 1970
    E. Wilson portrays an excellent and eye opening account of where the planet and life itself is headed if we remain on the same anticipated trajectory.My only critique (which is of no fault of my own for not reading it sooner), is perhaps the book is outdated now, it was written in 2002. I would be curious to see his current outlook on how quickly things on Earth are changing.
    more
  • Mason Wiebe
    January 1, 1970
    E.O. Wilson is great.This book was a bit like taking an ecology class at university, but one that focuses on the societal effects and how we can help save the world. He explains the basics of biodiversity, why it is necessary and how we have screwed it up. It is not a negative book, rather it is quite hopeful with a plan for the future. Give it a read. You'll like it.
    more
Write a review