The Sixth Extinction

The Sixth Extinction

An Unnatural History

eBook - 2014
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Over the last half billion years, there have been five major mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around the cataclysm is us. In this book the author tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. She provides a moving account of the disappearances of various species occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up to Lyell and Darwin, and through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
Publisher: New York :, Henry Holt and Company,, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780805099799
Characteristics: 1 online resource (319 pages) : illustrations

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Apr 14, 2017

This book is about the possible 6th mass species extinction which will be caused by global warming and ocean acidification. There are good perspectives here on the previous 5 mass extinctions and what is going on now and may happen in the future. I concluded that while extinctions of species are quite common now and historically, it is the rate of change that is being brought on by global warming that could cause the 6th mass extinction. A good read with some humor injected here and there.

Jan 03, 2017

Within this century, man-made climate change may eliminate half of all living species on Earth. Elizabeth Kolbert examines the sixth mass extinction from the front lines: the Amazonian rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, the Arctic ice cap. It’s a sobering read about the magnitude of our impact—and the catastrophic consequences that we, unlike the asteroid that caused the last mass extinction (of the dinosaurs), have the ability to alter.
Total reading time: 5 hours
How to read it: Before heading to a dinner party where you explain why you bike to work now

Aug 28, 2016

Fantastic listen (in audio book format). I thought it would be a snoozer, but the arguments were precise and well-reasoned. A wake-up call for all human-kind.

Aug 27, 2016

I can see how some reviewers felt this book was choppy, or perhaps without focus, but as an uninitiated layperson w/ regards to technical and historical scientific perspectives, I found this book to be absolutely riveting. Could not put it down and I found myself bringing up things that I read with coworkers and friends regularly. Really loved it.

A unique perspective that traces historical extinctions along with the premise that we are living in an extinction period at the moment.

Mar 05, 2016

The content of this book was certainly interesting but I thought the structure was choppy, messy and lacked focus. Even so, I picked up some thought provoking information and generally enjoyed it.

Jan 01, 2016

Very interesting. The author has a wonderful way of keeping it interesting for the layperson and even adds a little humor in the way she writes. Helps explain how we humans do have an effect on other living things and what we must do to make a difference.

Dec 18, 2015

This book is an astonishing revelation. Parts of it made my jaw drop. From the great auk and frogs and bats to coral, the author lays out the evidence of our effect on our fellow living things. It's not just that species are disappearing and the oceans are becoming more acidic etc., it's the terrifying rate at which these changes are occurring. This book is not about global warming alone, it's about all of the changes to the planet and its inhabitants by human beings. One of the most surprising to me is that Homo Sapiens may be responsible for the disappearance of earlier hominids. Absolutely riveting.

Sep 30, 2015

Kolbert takes a broad swathe of scientific knowledge and explains it clearly. Although many of the concepts have been simplified significantly, she is careful to note where certain ideas are (or were at one time) controversial, and introduce the varying theories that might account for different events. Her work is also an excellent demonstration of how deeply interlinked things are, and how our impact on one area can have untold consequences.

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Aug 03, 2015

Alternate formats: ebook, small print, CD, AD. The reader of audio book is a favorite, for the tone, clarity, reasonable pace. Reading all the reviews is enlightening, hogwash or credible on the issue of global warming. Some fluff, but It was worth my time & of interest to me. It fits in with a well-worn novel I like, Far North. I won't be around for the final conclusion but I'd rather have a little background just in case....

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Sep 30, 2015

“Though it might be nice to imagine there once was a time when man lived in harmony with nature, it’s not clear that he ever really did.”

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