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Brian Griffith (Toronto, Canada)

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On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson
On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson
by William Souder
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.06

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The person behind gigantic ideas, 8 Feb. 2013
This account focuses on the person behind the vast vision she explored. Souder spends time on her girlhood, her literary and scientific heroes, and the best friendships of her life. Only a few pages outline the chain of events following her death, as her insights drove changes in the law. The aim is to convey how Carson's unique combination of poetic wonder, moral purpose, and scientific acumen emerged amid the circumstances of her life. Slowly the portrait forms of a quiet, unpretentious watcher of our world, who so appreciated the creatures around her that she became their heroic defender.


Seeds of Change: A Quincentennial Commemoration
Seeds of Change: A Quincentennial Commemoration
by Herman J. Viola
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars The biggest invasive species story, 28 Jan. 2013
A fascinating look at the greatest biological collision in history, as the plants and animals of the Old and New Worlds encountered each other. This series of very well researched essays trace the aftershocks across the world, as Old World livestock conquered the range, and Native food plants boosted supplies from Europe to China. Seldom have the histories of corn, pigs, potatoes, cows, tomatoes, or sheep been explored in such an insightful, dramatic way.


REWILDING THE WORLD: DISPATCHES FROM THE CONSERVATION REVOLUTION By Fraser, Caroline (Author) Paperback on 23-Nov-2010
REWILDING THE WORLD: DISPATCHES FROM THE CONSERVATION REVOLUTION By Fraser, Caroline (Author) Paperback on 23-Nov-2010

5.0 out of 5 stars Big ideas, encouraging momentum, 24 Jan. 2013
Fraser investigates progress on the biggest, most innovative nature conservation ideas around the world. She examines the very uneven progress in trans-border "peace parks" all over Africa, and the piece by piece development of wildlife corridors connecting islands of wilderness. The report is dotted with dramatic failures, like the temporary collapse of Nepal's wildlife during the recent civil war. She conveys the horrors suffered by elephants in war zones. But the accumulating successes in preserving, connecting, or restoring wild habitat on every continent indicate a gathering global momentum. For all her sensitivity to the difficulties involved, Fraser is excited. She dares speak of "the conservation revolution" and shows how dreamers, scientists, and local villagers are making it happen.


Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks
Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks
by Juliet Eilperin
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Aiming to make a real difference, 6 Jan. 2013
Eilperin conducts a range of competent investigations that span the planet. She checks out shark callers in New Ireland, the shark-fin soup markets of Hong Kong, the science of tracking sharks with electronic sensors, the evolution of shark folklore, the impact of shark decimation on the globe's food chain, and the rise of shark tourism operations, like Kim Maclean's Shark Lady Adventures for viewing South Africa's great whites. It's always good, detail-oriented journalism, the kind of thing that can make a real difference in public opinion.


The Global Forest: 40 Ways Trees Can Save Us
The Global Forest: 40 Ways Trees Can Save Us
by Diana Beresford Kroeger
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good try at mixing botany with mythology, 22 Dec. 2012
This assembly of pithy but poetic essays conveys a lot of wonder and careful observation concerning forest plants. The lore of botany gains a historical, mythical, and a mystical dimension. The treatment is scattered, with a fairly free-flow mixture of chemistry lessons, wise woman healing secrets, an sometimes a dash of Celtic fairy magic. It sometimes gets hard for a novice like myself to tell where the scientific botany ends and the enthusiastic myth spinning begins.


Coyote at the Kitchen Door
Coyote at the Kitchen Door
by Stephen Destefano
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A neighbor to the beasts on the block, 15 Dec. 2012
DeStefano writes in a surprisingly autobiographical way. At first glance I thought he was over-indulgent, telling about his boyhood adventures, his cars, or his bouts of personal orneriness. But when you think about it, the stories do lead to real points to be made about our need for nature, the footprint of our road network on wildlife, or getting in touch with our inner predator. It's a neighborly book that makes the local beasts into neighbors rather than pests to be rubbed out. DeStefano makes the ecologically political personal, and even loses patience with anything less.


Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators
Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators
by William Stolzenburg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.23

5.0 out of 5 stars Scientific high adventure, 11 Dec. 2012
Stolzenburg captures the high adventure behind our unfolding understanding of predators. Some of the innovative studies he covers reveal the cascades of habitat destruction that follow the elimination of top predators. Others document the surprising recovery of ecosystems once the wolves, bears, big cats, otters or eagles return. Stolzenburg writes like a first-hand witness to his heroes' trials in the field, the storms of controversy surrounding their work, and their moments of Darwin-like, consensus-changing insight. This is a powerfully written book that conveys the beauty and power of supposedly enemy creatures, while scientifically demonstrating how crucial they are for the planet's health.


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5.0 out of 5 stars Whimsical magic with Kafka-like awareness, 29 Nov. 2012
Several voices take turns to tell this tale, some pompously bardic, some pensive and self-critical, some bright and playful. Through it all, the most whimsically magical events blend with Kafka-like critical awareness. It's a fairy tale with a take on what makes evil tick, and a vision of the world's homecoming.


No Way Home: The Decline of the World's Great Animal Migrations
No Way Home: The Decline of the World's Great Animal Migrations
by David S. Wilcove
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars a world with animal highways, 24 Nov. 2012
Wilcove shows intimate familiarity with the routes, strategies, and experiences of migrating animals across the planet. He is equally fascinated with the struggles of Swainson's thrush birds, Monarch butterflies, Atlantic salmon, Pacific gray whales, loggerhead turtles, or the wildebeest herds of the Serengeti. He also shows an activist's detailed knowledge of the laws, treaties, agencies, or market interests involved in shaping a world where hopefully the habitats of humans and wild animals can interpenetrate.


Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
by Bill McKibben
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.37

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The release of finding its WAY worse than feared, 13 Nov. 2012
McKibben changes the terms of the climate change debate. He presents an overwhelming argument that it is already too late to stop catastrophic global change. The catastrophe is already here. He further argues that all the feedback loops of global warming lead the wrong way. The melting ice caps lead to greater heat retention by a dark ocean surface. The melting tundra releases vast quantities of methane. The mass death of trees further intensifies the heat and aridity. I thought that increased CO2 would at least stimulate plant growth, but McKibben claims that overheated plants consume less CO2.

Somehow, the unstinting depiction of a planetary train wreak is handled with wit and even entertainment value. Then the discussion of adjustment strategies is practical, realistic and conversational. It's mostly stories about practical efforts by real, quite ordinary people. McKibben's own story of activism seems quite modest. His trial and error steps seem doable by most anyone with a computer. Like the Arab Spring's leaders, he puts great faith in the Internet as a tool for neighbors to connect.


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