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The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2014)

de Elizabeth Kolbert

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3,6371633,484 (4.15)262
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.… (mais)
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I finally got around to reading this book, which combines climate science, natural history with focus on evolution and extinction. I did really like it, she does a nice job of making science accessible. ( )
  banjo123 | Mar 31, 2024 |
Each chapter outlines a phenomenon or concept through which it's possible to understand a human-caused factor leading to extinction. e.g.:

- Ocean Acidification, and it's impact on molluscs / corals / etc
- How the way we carve up ecosystems (via roads, forestry, etc) means that species become more climate-sensitive, because they can't move to cooler climates as easily
- How global travel / import / export homogenizes ecosystems, how introduced species fail to take, establish themselves, or take over
- The extinction of the Megadons, huge animals, whose evolutionary advantage has historically been 'no predators' at a certain age, but who produce young slowly, turn out to be enormously sensitive to even a small amount of hunting as a species.

I was impressed at how each chapter built off the others -- there's lots of spots where two or three phenomena are interrelated, and the author does a great job of tying these things together, and explaining enormously complex concepts in an understandable way.

I expected *not* to like this book -- I wasn't sure what it was going to be, thought it would be preachy -- but it's an exploration of beautiful, subtle things in the world, and how a lot of it is dying. It's a tragedy more than a science book.

The whole thing is written in an investigative journalist style, the author writes in the first person a lot and details her meetings with individual people in remote locations, and what they ate for dinner, etc. I found this a little annoying at first, but it kinda becomes endearing. The author plays the role of a curious investigator / curious learner well, and the narration is easy to relate to. ( )
  capnfabs | Mar 9, 2024 |
A sobering subject handled very well. The author examines different species and each represents challenges that many species are facing. Disease, climate change, habitat loss. She writes in such a way that you can still enjoy the encounters in the changing world and gain a feeling for what we could be losing ( )
  cspiwak | Mar 6, 2024 |
If you love biology, if you love anthropology, eco-tourism, geology, or just the earth sciences, you will have fun reading this update to Al Gore. What's really happening to life on this planet. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
In two words; "we're fucked".
But the book uses a lot more words to give overviews of the many ways in which we are fucked, which isn't just limited to climate change itself, but many more ways including resource use, spreading of invasive species, the sudden collapse of ecosystems from the destruction of natural 'pillars' like coral reefs and rainforests, and many more. While the book does have a mildly optimistic coda it's only a couple of pages on restoration and environmentalism successes. It's a largely pessimistic book about a pessimistic subject.
Though inadvertently through the book an alternative picture emerges - one where the consciousness about evolution and extinction is only a couple of centuries old, and large scale environmentalist activism and regulation is only half a century old. A blink of an eye on the blink of an eye that's all of human history. If technology (even stone age tools that likely killed the megafauna) and incremental change can wreak such havoc unintentionally and undirected, it seems strangely confident to think the future is set in stone and unsalvageable. ( )
  A.Godhelm | Oct 20, 2023 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (11 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Elizabeth Kolbertautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Bischoff, UlrikeTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Blanc, MarcelTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Grzegorzewska, TatianaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Grzegorzewski, PiotrTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Levavi, Meryl SussmanDesignerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Peddis, CristianoTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Pracher, RickDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Riera, Joan LluísTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Twomey, AnneNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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If there is danger in the human trajectory, it is not so much in the survival of our own species as in the fulfillment of the ultimate irony of organic evolution: that in the instant of achieving self-understanding through the mind of man, life has doomed its most beautiful creations. - E.O. Wilson
Centuries of centuries and only in the present do things happen. - Jorge Luis Borges
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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.

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O livro de Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction, estava disponível em LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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576.8Natural sciences and mathematics Life Sciences, Biology Genetics and evolution Evolution

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