240 pages, no illustrations
Paleobiologist Anthony D. Barnosky weaves together evidence from the deep past and the present to alert us to the looming Sixth Mass Extinction and to offer a practical, hopeful plan for avoiding it. Writing from the front lines of extinction research, Barnosky tells the overarching story of geologic and evolutionary history and how it informs the way humans inhabit, exploit, and impact Earth today. He presents compelling evidence that unless we rethink how we generate the power we use to run our global ecosystem, where we get our food, and how we make our money, we will trigger what would be the sixth great extinction on Earth, with dire consequences.
Optimistic that we can change this ominous forecast if we act now, Barnosky provides clear-cut strategies to guide the planet away from global catastrophe. In many instances the necessary technology and know-how already exist and are being applied to crucial issues around human-caused climate change, feeding the world's growing population, and exploiting natural resources. Deeply informed yet accessibly written, Dodging Extinction is nothing short of a guidebook for saving the planet.
"A superior synthesis of recent research from many scientific disciplines, this eloquent book could serve as a model for how scientists should write for nonspecialists about the critical environmental challenges of our time. An excellent companion to Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction."
– Library Journal
"A pragmatic approach to finding workable solutions to a looming crisis."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Powerful and passionate prose [...] Time may be short, but this is a message of hope for readers looking for a better future."
– Publishers Weekly
"Beautifully written [...] A very learned book, but it's very approachable and fun [...] Anyone who is interested in the future of the planet or loves animals should check this one out ."
– Annalee Newitz, The Best Science Books of 2014 – Science Friday
"[...] Dodging Extinction is a rattling read and punchily packaged. Barnosky's prose is tight and accessible, and it lays the crisis on the line: "power, food and money", he writes, threaten "the future of life on Earth". [...}
– Fred Pearce, New Scientist, 08-12-2014
"A lucid examination of what we know about the state of life on our planet by one of our best-informed authorities, Dodging Extinction makes a compelling and refreshingly optimistic case for how to face the great challenges that lie ahead. Anthony Barnosky's book is essential reading for all those who hope to shape – and see – a brighter future."
– Sean B. Carroll, author of Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origin of Species
"As overpopulation and overconsumption by the rich push civilization toward the brink, most intelligent people are focusing their attention on the looming climate catastrophe. Scientists know from the geological record that Earth's climate can stabilize after disruption in a hundred thousand years or less. In contrast, regeneration of the biodiversity that runs human life-support systems would take millions of years if the great extinction episode now under way is allowed to run its course. Anthony Barnosky's wonderful book will bring you up to date on how we might deal with this climate-related ultimate disaster. Dodging Extinction should be assigned as freshman reading in every college and university."
– Paul R. Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb and coauthor of Extinctions
"Dodging Extinction approaches our global extinction crisis by exposing the gap between short-term gains and long-term security. Offering concrete solutions to halt dramatic biodiversity loss, Barnosky demonstrates how we can improve people's lives today for a future in which all life – people, animals, plants – can endure."
– Mark R. Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy and author of Nature's Fortune: How Business and Nature Thrive by Investing in Nature
"When a paleontologist warns that something very unusual in Earth's history is taking place right now, everyone ought to pay attention. Dodging Extinction should serve as a wake-up call to the world."
– Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction and Field Notes from a Catastrophe
"Anthony Barnosky has written an adventure story for our times. The quest: survival of a full suite of Earth's current species, including Homo sapiens. The outcome: for us to decide. In conversational prose, Barnosky digs deeply into the scientist's perspective on our dire challenges. His explanations don't shirk complexity, yet he makes them easy to understand. To each problem, he proposes a doable solution. Read Dodging Extinction for clarity, inspiration, and to see the way forward."
– Mary Ellen Hannibal, author of The Spine of the Continent: The Race to Save America's Last, Best Wilderness
1. The Last Ones Standing
2. It's Not Too Late (Yet)
3. A Perfect Storm
8. Back from the Brink
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Anthony D. Barnosky is Professor of Integrative Biology and Curator of Paleontology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming and editor of Biodiversity Response to Climate Change in the Middle Pleistocene.