Offering essential environmental wisdom for the twenty-first century, this lively, compact book explains more than sixty basic ecological concepts in an easy-to-use A-to-Z format. From Air and Biodiversity to Restoration and Zoos, Ecology: A Pocket Guide forms a dynamic web of ideas that can be entered at any point or read straight through. An accessible, informative guide to achieving ecoliteracy, it tells the story of the amazing interconnectivity of life on Earth and along the way provides the ecological understanding necessary for fighting environmental degradation. This new edition has been updated throughout and features five new essays on the topics of biotechnology, global warming, migration, smell, and tourism.
Everyone talks about the weather, the old saw has it, but no one can do anything about it. Similarly, it seems, we all talk about environmental problems, but few of us seem able to propose rational solutions to such matters as global warming and deforestation. Ernest Callenbach, the author of the futuristic novel Ecotopia
, aims with this little primer to increase our ecological literacy, and thus our ability to act on pressing environmental problems with a better informed vision. Beginning with his homespun rendering of the principal laws of ecology ("All things are interconnected. Everything goes somewhere. There's no such thing as a free lunch. Nature bats last.") Callenbach shows that all environmental relationships are reciprocal, and that if you tinker with one element of an ecosystem--by, say, removing trees from a rainforest--you are likely to alter other elements as well, more often than not for the worse. His lively entries cover the basic chemistry of air, the usefulness of bacteria (from which, Callenbach reminds us, all life forms descended), the ecosystemic effects of industrial pollution, and the principles of sustainable city design--all in the space of 150 pages. This slender, well-written volume serves as a welcome brush-up course for environmental activists and as an introduction for beginning students of the ways of the physical world. --Gregory McNamee