A swell of excellent science writing addresses the consequences and dilemmas of the Anthropocene.
THE RE -ORIGIN OF SPECIES A Second Chance for Extinct Animals by Torill Kornfeldt WESTLAND
Arodent made global headlines last week: the disappear-ance of the Bramble Cay melomys’ was recorded as the first mammalian extinction credited to global warming. The critters, whose only habitat was a low-lying Australian islet, were wiped out by rising sea levels.
It’s small consolation, but those rising tides are also generating a swell of excellent science writing addressing the karmic consequences and dilemmas of the Anthropocene.
Swedish journalist Torill Kornfeldt’s The Re-Origin of Species: A Second Chance for Extinct Animals is a remarkably accessible dive into the world of various Lazarus projects’, scientists on the threshold of resurrecting extinct species, from the woolly mammoth to the American chestnut tree.
Kornfeldt never sidesteps the complex ethics and motivations of these projects and is clear that, in any attempt to resurrect the past, we’re making choices about our future.
Lewis Dartnell’s Origins: How the Earth Made Us meanwhile, is a lively and well-researched reminder that modernity cannot escape prehistory. It’s packed with interesting and revelatory anecdotes: a chapter on the geography of the planet’s energy reserves reveals an astonishing match between carboniferous coal deposits and Labour party voters in the UK.
ORIGINS How the Earth Made Us by Lewis Dartnell BODLEY HEAD
Vybarr Cregan-Reid’s Primate Change: How the World We Made is Remaking Us sounds almost like a sequel to Dartnell’s book and it does offer a stern, but ultimately hopeful, coda to the stories in Origin and Re-Origin.
PRIMATE CHANGE How the World We Made is Making Us by Vybarr Cregan-Reid
The Anthropocene human is one whose body has changed, not as a result of evolution but in response to the environment we have created, Cregan-Reid argues, and it’s not good for our psychic or physical health. He suggests that the path to healing ourselves, and perhaps the planet, begins on foot, with walking and running, a return to a more physical being in the world’. Lucky us. The poor melomys had nowhere to run.