259 pages, 25 b/w illustrations
Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life resoundingly concludes the best-selling trilogy begun by The Social Conquest of Earth and The Meaning of Human Existence, a National Book Award finalist.
History is not a prerogative of the human species, Edward O. Wilson declares in Half-Earth, a brave work that becomes a radical redefinition of human history. Demonstrating that we blindly ignore the histories of millions of other species, Wilson warns of a point of no return that is imminent. Angrily challenging the fashionable theories of Anthropocenes, who contend that humans can survive alone in an Edenic bubble engineered for their own survival, Wilson documents that the biosphere does not belong to us. Yet, refusing to believe that our extinction is, as so many fear, predetermined, Wilson has written Half-Earth as a cri de coeur, proposing that the only solution to our impending "Sixth Extinction" is to increase the area of natural reserves to half the surface of the earth. Suffused with a profound Darwinian understanding of our planet's fragility, Half-Earth is a transformative work that reverberates with an urgency like few other books.
"An audacious and concrete proposal [...] Half-Earth completes the 86-year-old Wilson's valedictory trilogy on the human animal and our place on the planet."
– Jedediah Purdy, New Republic
"A much-needed antidote to the views of those who assert that our worldly woes are exaggerated."
"Edward O. Wilson possesses a rare, almost unique, combination of immense scientific knowledge and deep humane intelligence. Looking around him at the beloved natural world he has done so much to understand and taking the measure of the massive damage to it caused by human stupidity and greed, he has every reason to succumb to despair. But Half-Earth is not a bitter jeremiad. It is a brave expression of hope, a visionary blueprint for saving the planet."
– Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Swerve
"If humankind finds a way to live in peace together, and in harmony with nature, Wilson will have played a unique role in that deliverance."
– Jeffrey Sachs
"Wilson's sense of the future cannot be easily dismissed. Over the years, we have learned a lot about the world and ourselves from him; and with Half-Earth, a book of vision and welcome optimism, he has yet more to teach us."
– Jack E. Davis, Tampa Bay Times
"An audacious idea that might jump-start a lagging conversation about a burning issue [...] [I]f Half-Earth takes us any closer to sparking greater effort, it will cement Wilson's already remarkable legacy."
– Mike Weilbacher, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Wilson's passion for the planet shines through on these pages. He looks at life in its broadest, grandest sweep [...] Wilson is a thinker in the tradition of Alexander von Humboldt."
– Matthew Price, The National
"Few experts have offered such an exuberant and optimistic plan for dealing with [climate change] as biologist Edward O. Wilson [...] The strength of his argument lies in his ability to elegantly unveil the bigger picture, and to define and examine what in our essential human nature has led us to this point [...] [W]e need Wilson's reminder that we are not demigods, but are instead, as he puts it, 'a biological species tied to this particular biological world.'"
– Jessi Phillips, Sierra
"As an outline of our terrible ecological plight, it does a first-class job."
– Robin McKie, Guardian
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Edward O. Wilson is widely recognized as one of the world's preeminent biologists and naturalists. The author of more than twenty books, including The Creation, The Social Conquest of Earth, The Meaning of Human Existence, and Letters to a Young Scientist, Wilson is a professor emeritus at Harvard University. The winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, he lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.