Inheritors of the Earth
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Inheritors of the Earth : How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction

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It is accepted wisdom today that human beings have irrevocably damaged the natural world. Yet what if this narrative obscures a more hopeful truth?In Inheritors of the Earth, renowned ecologist and environmentalist Chris D. Thomas overturns the accepted story, revealing how nature is fighting back.Many animals and plants actually benefit from our presence, raising biological diversity in most parts of the world and increasing the rate at which new species are formed, perhaps to the highest level in Earth's history. From Costa Rican tropical forests to the thoroughly transformed British landscape, nature is coping surprisingly well in the human epoch.Chris Thomas takes us on a gripping round-the-world journey to meet the enterprising creatures that are thriving in the Anthropocene, from York's ochre-coloured comma butterfly to hybrid bison in North America, scarlet-beaked pukekos in New Zealand, and Asian palms forming thickets in the European Alps. In so doing, he questions our irrational persecution of so-called 'invasive species', and shows us that we should not treat the Earth as a faded masterpiece that we need to restore. After all, if life can recover from the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, might it not be able to survive the onslaughts of a technological ape?Combining a naturalist's eye for wildlife with an ecologist's wide lens, Chris Thomas forces us to re-examine humanity's relationship with nature, and reminds us that the story of life is the story of change.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 30mm | 565g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • ALLEN LANE
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0241240751
  • 9780241240755
  • 79,175

About Chris D. Thomas

Chris D. Thomas is an ecologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of York and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He has received the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London, the President's Medal of the British Ecological Society, the Marsh Award for Conservation Biology, and the Marsh Award for Climate Change Research. This is his first book.show more

Review quote

An immensely significant book. It is fluently written, carefully thought through, ruthlessly argued, neatly illustrated with case studies - and shockingly contrarian -- Matt Ridley * The Times (Book of the Week) * His flowing narrative is rich in stories of his fieldwork round the world ... Thomas's vision ... aspires to something nobler, more optimistic -- Fred Pearce * New Scientist * Fascinating ... Chris Thomas examines our human relationships with nature, bad and good, and sets out a more hopeful truth to current narratives and alarms ... This is a rich and timely tale, fearless too, with examples and cases drawn from ecosystems across the world -- Prof Jules Pretty * Times Higher Education * [A] thrilling and uplifting counter to the pessimism of the Anthropocene -- Stuart Blackman * BBC Wildlife Magazine * A decent and humane tale about the threat and promise of biodiversity change -- James Lovelock, author of 'The Revenge of Gaia' and 'A Rough Guide to the Future' The most interesting / challenging / surprising thing I've read about the natural world for years -- James Rebanks, author of 'The Shepherd's Life' A provocative book that challenges us to look positively at our human changes to the natural world and reimagine conservation in the Anthropocene -- Gaia Vince, author of 'Adventures in the Anthropocene' Chris Thomas takes the million-year view of today's human-dominated world. The result is a thoughtful, provocative, and improbably hopeful book -- Elizabeth Kolbert, author of 'The Sixth Extinction' and 'Field Notes from a Catastrophe' With a perspective that stretches many epochs into the past and forward to the year One Million A.D., Thomas reframes Earth's current ecological upheaval as a time of great creation as well as great loss. Without minimizing or excusing the damage humans have done to the planet, Inheritors of the Earth opens our eyes to the splendid and fascinating ways nature is adapting and evolving to the world we have made. He urges us to take our cue from the majestic dynamism of nature and work with other species as they change and move, rather than fighting an impossible battle to freeze the planet in time. All change is not bad. I thought I was an optimist. Thomas is the real ecological optimist. -- Emma Marris, author of 'Rambunctious Garden' With Inheritors of the Earth, Chris D. Thomas issues a challenge to the conventional view of nature in decline. He urges us to embrace the environmental changes we've set in motion, daring to suggest that human activities will ultimately increase the diversity of life on Earth. A timely and provocative read -- Thor Hanson, author of 'The Triumph of Seeds' An immensely significant book. It is fluently written, carefully thought through, ruthlessly argued, neatly illustrated with case studies - and shockingly contrarian -- Matt Ridley * The Times (Book of the Week) *show more

Review Text

An immensely significant book . It is fluently written, carefully thought through, ruthlessly argued, neatly illustrated with case studies - and shockingly contrarian Matt Ridley The Times (Book of the Week)show more