On Extinction : How We Became Estranged from Nature, Hardback

On Extinction : How We Became Estranged from Nature Hardback

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


The destruction of nature as a consequence of modern human lifestyles, industries and agriculture is leading to the Earth's sixth great extinction of species.

Current estimates suggest that the rate of extinction is now thousands of times that counted in the fossil record before the emergence of modern man.

At the same time, human societies themselves are in a cultural extinction crisis, with experts anticipating that of the world's nearly seven thousand languages as few as ten percent may survive into the next century. Melanie Challenger's extraordinary book is an exploration of how we might live to resist these extinctions and why such disappearances must be of concern to us.

Adventurous, curious and passionate about her subject, Challenger takes us on a very personal journey as she tries to restore her own relationship with nature.

The narrative unfolds through a series of landscapes haunted by extinction.

From the ruined tin mines of Cornwall and the abandoned whaling stations of South Georgia to the Inuit camps of the Arctic and the white heart of Antarctica, she probes the critical relationship between human activities and environmental collapse. This is the first book to weave together the strands of cultural, biological and industrial extinctions into a meditation on the way we live beside nature in the modern world.




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I had certain expectations of this book having read poetry and an essay by Melanie challenger that I thought was excellent. However I took a while to read "Extinction" because I kept losing interest and therefore the thread of what the author is trying to convey. There's much about the history of the whaling industry but I couldn't tell really how this related to the idea of extinction. There are some interesting historical and other stories but the most interesting and engaging ones are the author's personal experiences and observations as she travels to various parts of the world including Cornwall, Whitby and Antarctica.It is a book about our - or the author's - loss or lack of connection with nature; natural observations do not play a strong part in the book itself. Some passages are written with beautiful language. It's a book that I feel I should have got more from.

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