Against Ecological Sovereignty is a passionate defense of radical ecology that speaks directly to current debates concerning the nature, and dangers, of sovereign power. Engaging the work of Bataille, Arendt, Levinas, Nancy, and Agamben, among others, Mick Smith reconnects the political critique of sovereign power with ecological considerations, arguing that ethical and political responsibilities for the consequences of our actions do not end with those defined as human.
Against Ecological Sovereignty is the first book to turn Agamben’s analysis of sovereignty and biopolitics toward an investigation of ecological concerns. In doing so it exposes limits to that thought, maintaining that the increasingly widespread biopolitical management of human populations has an unrecognized ecological analogue—reducing nature to a “resource” for human projects. Smith contends that a radical ecological politics must resist both the depoliticizing exercise of sovereign power and the pervasive spread of biopolitics in order to reveal new possibilities for creating healthy human and nonhuman communities.
Presenting a stinging critique of human claims to sovereignty over the natural world, Smith proposes an alternative way to conceive of posthumanist ecological communities—one that recognizes the utter singularity of the beings in them.
Michael R. Jeffords and Susan L. Post have circled the globe--and explored their neighborhood--collecting images of the natural world. This book opens their personal cabinet of curiosities to tell the stories of the pair's most unusual encounters. From the "necking" battles of mate-hungry giraffes to the breathtaking beauty of millions of monarch butterflies at rest, Jeffords and Post share 200 stunning photographs and their own insightful essays to guide readers on a spectacular journey. Their training as entomologists offers unique perspectives on surprise stag beetle swarms and spider hunting habits. Their photographic eye, honed by decades of observation, finds expression in once-in-a-lifetime images. The result is an eyewitness collection of startling and unusual phenomena that illuminates the diverse life inhabiting our planet.
In the modern world, the public looks to scientists and scholars for their expertise on issues ranging from the effectiveness of vaccines to the causes of natural disasters. But for early Americans, whose relationship to nature was more intimate and perilous than our own, personal experience, political allegiances, and faith in God took precedence over the experiments of the learned.
In Everyday Nature, Sara Gronim shows how scientific advances were received in the early modern world, from the time Europeans settled in America until just before the American Revolution. Settlers approached a wide range of innovations, such as smallpox inoculation, maps and surveys, Copernican cosmology, and Ben Franklin’s experiments with electricity, with great skepticism. New Yorkers in particular were distrustful because of the chronic political and religious factionalism in the colony. Those discoveries that could be easily reconciled with existing beliefs about healing the sick, agricultural practices, and the revolution of the planets were more readily embraced.
A fascinating portrait of colonial life, this book traces a series of innovations that were disseminated throughout the Atlantic world during the Enlightenment, and shows how colonial New Yorkers integrated new knowledge into their lives.
“How do you thank the person who gave you a vantage from which to see the world?” This question is more than the opening statement of Father Nature: Fathers as Guides to the Natural World—it is the resounding theme that runs through each of the essays in this tribute to fathers and fathering and to nature, the connection that ties them together.
In addition to the editors, the contributors include Lorraine Anderson, John Bower, Brain Doyle, John Elder, Mark Harfenist, Bernd Heinrich, ted Kooser, Gretchen Legler, Charles W. Luckmann, Stephen J. Lyons, Jessica Maxwell, James McKean, Mark Menlove, John Rember, Scott Russell Sanders, David Sobel, and Frank Stewart.
Both poignant and entertaining, Father Nature is an inspiring tribute to fathers who shared one gift that can be passed down for generations—a profound love and respect for the natural world.
While a number of gases are implicated in global warming, carbon dioxide is the most important contributor, and in one sense the entire phenomena can be seen as a human-induced perturbation of the carbon cycle. The Global Carbon Cycle offers a scientific assessment of the state of current knowledge of the carbon cycle by the world's leading scientists sponsored by SCOPE and the Global Carbon Project, and other international partners. It gives an introductory over-view of the carbon cycle, with multidisciplinary contributions covering biological, physical, and social science aspects. Included are 29 chapters covering topics including: an assessment of carbon-climate-human interactions; a portfolio of carbon management options; spatial and temporal distribution of sources and sinks of carbon dioxide; socio-economic driving forces of emissions scenarios.
Throughout, contributors emphasize that all parts of the carbon cycle are interrelated, and only by developing a framework that considers the full set of feedbacks will we be able to achieve a thorough understanding and develop effective management strategies.
The Global Carbon Cycle edited by Christopher B. Field and Michael R. Raupach is part of the Rapid Assessment Publication series produced by the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), in an effort to quickly disseminate the collective knowledge of the world's leading experts on topics of pressing environmental concern.
Scientists, theologians, and the spiritually inclined, as well as all those concerned with humanity's increasingly widespread environmental impact, are beginning to recognize that our ongoing abuse of the earth diminishes our moral as well as our material condition. Many people are coming to believe that strengthening the bonds among spirituality, science, and the natural world offers an important key to addressing the pervasive environmental problems we face.The Good in Nature and Humanity brings together 20 leading thinkers and writers -- including Ursula Goodenough, Lynn Margulis, Dorion Sagan, Carl Safina, David Petersen, Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams, and Barry Lopez -- to examine the divide between faith and reason, and to seek a means for developing an environmental ethic that will help us confront two of our most imperiling crises: global environmental destruction and an impoverished spirituality. The book explores the ways in which science, spirit, and religion can guide the experience and understanding of our ongoing relationship with the natural world and examines how the integration of science and spirituality can equip us to make wiser choices in using and managing the natural environment. The book also provides compelling stories that offer a narrative understanding of the relations among science, spirit, and nature.Grounded in the premise that neither science nor religion can by itself resolve the prevailing malaise of environmental and moral decline, contributors seek viable approaches to averting environmental catastrophe and, more positively, to achieving a more harmonious relationship with the natural world. By bridging the gap between the rational and the religious through the concern of each for understanding the human relation to creation, The Good in Nature and Humanity offers an important means for pursuing the quest for a more secure and meaningful world.
Naturalist and philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore meditates on connection and separation in these twenty-one elegant, probing essays. Using the metaphor of holdfasts—the structures that attach seaweed to rocks with a grip strong enough to withstand winter gales—she examines our connections to our own bedrock.
“When people lock themselves in their houses at night and seal the windows shut to keep out storms, it is possible to forget, sometimes for years and years, that human beings are part of the natural world,” she writes. Holdfast passionately reclaims an awareness of the natural world, exploring the sense of belonging fostered by the communal howls of wolves; the inevitability of losing children to their own lives; the fear of bears and love of storms; the sublimity of life and longing in the creatures of the sea; her agonizing decision when facing her father’s bone-deep pain. As Moore travels philosophically and geographically—from Oregon’s shores to Alaska’s islands—she leaves no doubt of her virtuosity and range.
The new afterword is an important statement on the new responsibilities of nature writers as the world faces the consequences of climate change.
The construction of the Three Gorges Dam on China's Yangtze River. The transformation of the Amazon into a site for huge cattle ranches and aluminum smelters. The development of Nevada's Yucca Mountain into a repository for nuclear waste. The extensive irrigation networks of the Grand Coulee and Kuibyshev Dams. On the face of it, these massive projects are wonders of engineering, financial prowess, and our seldom-questioned ability to modify nature to suit our immediate needs. For nearly a century we have relied increasingly on science and technology to harness natural forces, but at what environmental and social cost?In Industrialized Nature, historian Paul R. Josephson provides an original examination of the ways in which science, engineering, policy, finance, and hubris have come together, often with unforeseen consequences, to perpetuate what he calls "brute-force technologies"—the large-scale systems created to manage water, forest, and fish resources. Throughout the twentieth century, nations with quite different political systems and economic orientations all pursued this same technological subjugation of nature. Josephson compares the Soviet Union's heavy-handed efforts at resource management to similar projects undertaken in the United States, Norway, Brazil, and China. He argues that brute-force technologies require brute-force politics to operate. He shows how irresponsible—or well-intentioned but misguided—large-scale manipulation of nature has resulted in resource loss and severe environmental degradation.Josephson explores the ongoing industrialization of nature that is happening in our own backyards and around the world. Both a cautionary tale and a call to action, Industrialized Nature urges us to consider how to develop a future for succeeding generations that avoids the pitfalls of brute-force technologies.
The Natural World as a Philosophical Problem
Jan Patocka, edited by Ivan Chvatík and Lubica Ucnik, translated by Erika Abrams, foreword by Ludwig Landgrebe Northwestern University Press, 2016 Library of Congress BD516.P3713 2016 | Dewey Decimal 113
The first text to critically discuss Edmund Husserl’s concept of the "life-world," The Natural World as a Philosophical Problem reflects Jan Patocka's youthful conversations with the founder of phenomenology and two of his closest disciples, Eugen Fink and Ludwig Landgrebe. Now available in English for the first time, this translation includes an introduction by Landgrebe and two self-critical afterwords added by Patocka in the 1970s. Unique in its extremely broad range of references, the work addresses the views of Russell, Wittgenstein, and Carnap alongside Husserl and Heidegger, in a spirit that considerably broadens the understanding of phenomenology in relation to other twentieth-century trends in philosophy. Even eighty years after first appearing, it is of great value as a general introduction to philosophy, and it is essential reading for students of the history of phenomenology as well as for those desiring a full understanding of Patocka’s contribution to contemporary thought.
On their journey westward, Lewis and Clark demonstrated an amazing ability to identify the new plants and animals they encountered, and their observations enriched science’s understanding of the trans-Mississippi West. Others have written about their discoveries and have faithfully cataloged their findings; now a twenty-first-century biologist reexamines some of those discoveries in the light of modern science to show for the first time their lasting biological significance.
The Natural World of Lewis and Clark interprets the expedition’s findings from a modern perspective to show how advances such as DNA research, modern understanding of proteins, and the latest laboratory methods shed new light on them. David Dalton recounts the expedition’s observations and, in clear, readily accessible terms, relates them to principles of ecology, genetics, physiology, and even animal behavior.
Writing in informal language with a bit of wry humor, Dalton invites readers to imagine the West that Lewis and Clark found, revealing the dynamic features of nature and the dramatic changes that earlier peoples brought about. He explains surprising facts, ranging from why Indians used cottonwood bark as winter feed for horses to why the explorers experienced gastric distress with some foods, and even why the Expedition’s dog would have been well-advised to avoid a diet of salmon.
Dalton introduces the tools and techniques of today’s science in a way that won’t intimidate nonspecialist readers. Throughout the book he expertly balances botanical and zoological information, with coverage ranging from the extinction of large animals in North America a few thousand years ago to the expected effects of invasive species and climate change in the coming centuries.
Enhanced with unusual and informative illustrations—not only nature photography but also historical images—this book will fascinate any reader with an interest in the natural history of the American West as well as broader issues in conservation and ecology. The Natural World of Lewis and Clark tells the story behind the story of this remarkable expedition and shows that its legacy extended not only across a continent but also into our own time.
Cartographers have known for decades that maps are far from objective representations of the world; rather, every map reflects the agendas and intentions of its creators. Yet that understanding has had almost no effect on the way maps are viewed and used by the general public. In The Natures of Maps, cartographers Denis Wood and John Fels present a compelling exploration of a wide range of maps to answer the question of, as they put it, why maps have “gotten away with it.”
To answer that question, the authors turn to a category of maps with a particularly strong reputation for objectivity: maps of nature. From depictions of species habitats and bird migrations to portrayals of the wilds of the Grand Canyon and the reaches of the Milky Way, such maps are usually presumed—even by users who should know better—to be strictly scientific. Yet by drawing our attention to every aspect of these maps’ self-presentation, from place names to titles and legends, the authors reveal the way that each piece of information collaborates in a disguised effort to mount an argument about reality. Without our realizing it, those arguments can then come to define our very relationship to the natural world—determining whether we see ourselves as humble hikers or rampaging despoilers, participants or observers, consumers or stewards.
Richly illustrated, and crafted in vivid and witty prose, The Natures of Maps will enlighten and entertain map aficionados, scholars, and armchair navigators alike. You’ll never be able to look at Google Maps quite the same way again.
Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman are widely acknowledged as two of America’s foremost nature poets, primarily due to their explorations of natural phenomena as evocative symbols for cultural developments, individual experiences, and poetry itself. Yet for all their metaphorical suggestiveness, Dickinson’s and Whitman’s poems about the natural world neither preclude nor erase nature’s relevance as an actual living environment. In their respective poetic projects, the earth matters both figuratively, as a realm of the imagination, and also as the physical ground that is profoundly affected by human action. This double perspective, and the ways in which it intersects with their formal innovations, points beyond their traditional status as curiously disparate icons of American nature poetry. That both of them not only approach nature as an important subject in its own right, but also address human-nature relationships in ethical terms, invests their work with important environmental overtones.
Dickinson and Whitman developed their environmentally suggestive poetics at roughly the same historical moment, at a time when a major shift was occurring in American culture’s view and understanding of the natural world. Just as they were achieving poetic maturity, the dominant view of wilderness was beginning to shift from obstacle or exploitable resource to an endangered treasure in need of conservation and preservation.
A Place for Humility examines Dickinson’s and Whitman’s poetry in conjunction with this important change in American environmental perception, exploring the links between their poetic projects within the context of developing nineteenth-century environmental thought. Christine Gerhardt argues that each author's poetry participates in this shift in different but related ways, and that their involvement with their culture’s growing environmental sensibilities constitutes an important connection between their disparate poetic projects. There may be few direct links between Dickinson’s “letter to the World” and Whitman’s “language experiment,” but via a web of environmentally-oriented discourses, their poetry engages in a cultural conversation about the natural world and the possibilities and limitations of writing about it—a conversation in which their thematic and formal choices meet on a surprising number of levels.