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The great biologist issues another impassioned plea for recognition of and action on the environmental crisis. Beginning with a tour of microbial ecosystems that demonstrates how few of the planet's species we have even named, much less understood, Wilson tracks the staggering toll taken on the world's ecosystems by a proliferating Homo sapiens. He touches on the planet's hotspots, from Madagascar to China: particularly rich zones of plant and animal diversity that are the most critically threatened.
Wilson is nevertheless optimistic and reposes hope in technology and our ability both to adapt and to make ethical commitments. 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.