What do you think of when you think of nature?
In his accessible and engaging style, prolific author and National Geographic writer Doug Chadwick approaches the subject from a scientific angle, with the underlying message that from the perspective of DNA humans are not all that different from any other creature. He begins by showing the surprisingly close relationship between human DNA and that of grizzly bears, with whom we share 80 per cent of our DNA. We are 60 per cent similar to a salmon, 40 per cent the same as many insects, and 24 per cent of our genes match those of a wine grape. He reflects on the value of exposure to nature on human biochemistry and mentality, that we are not that far removed from our ancestors who lived closer to nature. He highlights examples of animals using "human" traits, such as tools and play. He ends Four-Fifths a Grizzly with two examples of the healing benefits of turning closer to nature: island biogeography and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.
This book is a reflection on man's rightful place in the ecological universe. Using personal stories, recounting how he came to love and depend on the great outdoors and how he learned his place in the system of nature, Chadwick challenges anyone to consider whether they are separate from or part of nature. The answer is obvious, that we are indivisible from all elements of a system that is greater than ourselves and should never be neglected, taken advantage of, or exploited.
This is a fresh and engaging take on man's relationship to nature by a respected and experienced author.
A wildlife biologist who studied mountain goats and grizzlies in the Rockies, Douglas Chadwick began writing about natural history and conservation for national magazines. On assignments from Siberia to the Congo River’s headwaters, he has produced several hundred popular articles and ten books. He is also the lands committee chair on the board of Vital Ground, a nonprofit land trust that has helped safeguard more than 600,000 acres of wildlife habitat in Alaska, Canada, and the western US. He also serves on the board of the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation, which supports wildlife conservation programs around the world.
"Engagingly written and richly illustrated with vivid photos, the book offers the hope nonetheless that humans might reverse course."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Drawing on memories, stories, and rich visuals, Four-Fifths a Grizzly reinforces humanity's fundamental relationship with, and reliance on, nature."
– Foreword Reviews
"In fun, accessible stories. Chadwick presents examples of successful recoveries of species and habitats, with the thought that "we really can save a whole lot in a hurry"."
– Yale Climate Connections, selected as one of "12 books to get your summer reading started"
"As an aspiring naturalist (never mind my age of 69), it's exhilarating to be reminded just how much everything in nature is so damn, gobsmackingly connected. This web of relatedness is so complex that scientists are beginning to question the accuracy of defining an individual or species as distinct from the multitude of others that reside within it and around it. Four-Fifths a Grizzly by the Spokane-born, northern Montana-residing Douglas Chadwick guides us masterfully through this bio-ecological-genomic terrain [...] Perhaps we can all be guided by this book's adapted golden rule: Do unto ecosystems as you would have them do unto you. "Nurture, sustain health, allow to flourish.""
– Mountain Journal
"In his telling of the universe, microbes are just as mesmerizing and magnificent as exotic megafauna, and even members of his audience with an aversion to the finer-grained sands of technical science will appreciate the magic he imbues in a world brimming with microscopic life-forms, and his mastery at translating complicated matters into popular prose."
– Flathead Beacon
"Four-Fifths a Grizzly is a distillation of a lifetime of knowledge and experience. His awe at the complexity of nature comes through, as does his deep conviction that the time has come to change our ways and that it is possible [...] Chadwick knows how to present and interpret science for the lay reader, writing in a relaxed, personable style that is accessible, clever, even entertaining, and he does not preach."