Desert

Nature and Culture

Author: Roslynn D. Haynes

Publisher: Reaktion Books

ISBN: 1780231695

Category: Nature

Page: 245

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Desert takes a fresh look at one of the most significant natural aspects of our planet, as both a geographical feature and a cultural entity. It examines and often overturns our common notions about deserts, from the fear of desolation and death of thirst on the one hand, to the attraction of the exotic, adventure and freedom on the other. The book considers the immense geographical diversity of deserts from the Sahara to Antarctica, and describes how plants and animals have adapted to these hostile environments in intriguing and often bizarre ways. Diverse races have also inhabited deserts and evolved unique lifestyles and cultures in response to their environments. Desert also asks why all three of the world's great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, originated in the deserts of the Middle East, and traces the continuing connections between the minimal materialism of desert existence and the pursuit of a spiritual dimension. Deserts have also long exerted an allure on the West, leading to the impetus for exploration, the fascination with travellers' tales and the fashion for Orientalism in art, architecture and dress. Desert also reviews the significance of desolate landscapes in literature and film and looks at artists' responses to the desert, from seeing it as empty space, devoid of interest or perspective, to devising new visual techniques through which to 'see' it.

Nature and Madness

Author: Paul Shepard

Publisher: University of Georgia Press

ISBN: 9780820342337

Category: Nature

Page: 200

View: 7958

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Through much of history our relationship with the earth has been plagued by ambivalence--we not only enjoy and appreciate the forces and manifestations of nature, we seek to plunder, alter, and control them. Here Paul Shepard uncovers the cultural roots of our ecological crisis and proposes ways to repair broken bonds with the earth, our past, and nature. Ultimately encouraging, he notes, "There is a secret person undamaged in every individual. We have not lost, and cannot lose, the genuine impulse."

A Passion for This Earth

Writers, Scientists, and Activists Explore Our Relationship with Nature and the Environment

Author: Michelle Benjamin

Publisher: Greystone Books

ISBN: 1926685059

Category: Nature

Page: 192

View: 6705

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David Suzuki's lifelong work as an environmentalist, naturalist, and scientist have influenced countless others in their fight to save the planet, 20 such devotees of them have contributed to this inspiring collection. These journalists, scientists, writers and environmentalists have taken their enthusiasm for Suzuki's philosophy and funneled it into their own personal recollections, manifestos, and essays: Rick Bass describes his love for the Yaak Valley in Montana; Richard Mabey takes readers to a moonlit May evening in Suffolk; David Helvarg tells us of a stirring seaside memory from his childhood. No matter what journey these writers take us on, the unifying theme of their work is always the same: a deep and abiding love of nature — inspired and shared by David Suzuki.

The Face of the Earth

Natural Landscapes, Science, and Culture

Author: SueEllen Campbell

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520950712

Category: Nature

Page: 334

View: 8039

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This lively book sweeps across dramatic and varied terrains—volcanoes and glaciers, billabongs and canyons, prairies and rain forests—to explore how humans have made sense of our planet’s marvelous landscapes. In a rich weave of scientific, cultural, and personal stories, The Face of the Earth examines mirages and satellite images, swamp-dwelling heroes and Tibetan nomads, cave paintings and popular movies, investigating how we live with the great shaping forces of nature—from fire to changing climates and the intricacies of adaptation. The book illuminates subjects as diverse as the literary life of hollow Earth theories, the links between the Little Ice Age and Frankenstein’s monster, and the spiritual allure of deserts and their scarce waters. Including vivid, on-the-spot accounts by scientists and writers in Saudi Arabia, Australia, Alaska, England, the Rocky Mountains, Antarctica, and elsewhere, The Face of the Earth charts the depth and complexity of our interdependence with the natural world.

Meteorite

Nature and Culture

Author: Maria Golia

Publisher: Reaktion Books

ISBN: 178023547X

Category: Science

Page: 240

View: 7765

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Among the rarest things on earth, meteorites carry an air of mystery and drama while having left a pervasive, outsized mark on our planet and civilization. In Meteorite, Maria Golia tells the long history of our engagement with these sky-born space rocks. Arriving amid thunderous blasts and flame-streaked skies, meteorites were once thought to be messengers from the gods. Worshipped in the past, now scrutinized with equal zeal by scientists, meteorites helped sculpt Earth’s features and have shaped our understanding of the planet’s origins. Prized for their outlandish qualities, meteorites are a collectible and a commodity, objects of art and artists’ desires and a literary muse; and ‘meteorite hunting’ is an adventurous, lucrative profession for some and an addictive hobby for thousands of others. A richly illustrated, remarkably wide-ranging account of the culture and science surrounding meteorites, Golia’s book explores the ancient, lasting power of the meteorite to inspire and awe.

Sowing Seeds in the Desert

Natural Farming, Global Restoration, and Ultimate Food Security

Author: Masanobu Fukuoka

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

ISBN: 1603584196

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 216

View: 7881

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The earth is in great peril, due to the corporatization of agriculture, the rising climate crisis, and the ever-increasing levels of global poverty, starvation, and desertification on a massive scale. This present condition of global trauma is not "natural," but a result of humanity's destructive actions. And, according to Masanobu Fukuoka, it is reversible. We need to change not only our methods of earth stewardship, but also the very way we think about the relationship between human beings and nature. Fukuoka grew up on a farm on the island of Shikoku in Japan. As a young man he worked as a customs inspector for plants going into and out of the country. This was in the 1930s when science seemed poised to create a new world of abundance and leisure, when people fully believed they could improve upon nature by applying scientific methods and thereby reap untold rewards. While working there, Fukuoka had an insight that changed his life forever. He returned to his home village and applied this insight to developing a revolutionary new way of farming that he believed would be of great benefit to society. This method, which he called "natural farming," involved working with, not in opposition to, nature. Fukuoka's inspiring and internationally best-selling book, The One-Straw Revolution was first published in English in 1978. In this book, Fukuoka described his philosophy of natural farming and why he came to farm the way he did. One-Straw was a huge success in the West, and spoke directly to the growing movement of organic farmers and activists seeking a new way of life. For years after its publication, Fukuoka traveled around the world spreading his teachings and developing a devoted following of farmers seeking to get closer to the truth of nature. Sowing Seeds in the Desert, a summation of those years of travel and research, is Fukuoka's last major work-and perhaps his most important. Fukuoka spent years working with people and organizations in Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States, to prove that you could, indeed, grow food and regenerate forests with very little irrigation in the most desolate of places. Only by greening the desert, he said, would the world ever achieve true food security. This revolutionary book presents Fukuoka's plan to rehabilitate the deserts of the world using natural farming, including practical solutions for feeding a growing human population, rehabilitating damaged landscapes, reversing the spread of desertification, and providing a deep understanding of the relationship between human beings and nature. Fukuoka's message comes right at the time when people around the world seem to have lost their frame of reference, and offers us a way forward.

Inheritors of the Earth

How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction

Author: Chris D. Thomas

Publisher: PublicAffairs

ISBN: 1610397282

Category: Nature

Page: 320

View: 6484

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Human activity has irreversibly changed the natural environment. But the news isn't all bad. It's accepted wisdom today that human beings have permanently damaged the natural world, causing extinction, deforestation, pollution, and of course climate change. But in Inheritors of the Earth, biologist Chris Thomas shows that this obscures a more hopeful truth--we're also helping nature grow and change. Human cities and mass agriculture have created new places for enterprising animals and plants to live, and our activities have stimulated evolutionary change in virtually every population of living species. Most remarkably, Thomas shows, humans may well have raised the rate at which new species are formed to the highest level in the history of our planet. Drawing on the success stories of diverse species, from the ochre-colored comma butterfly to the New Zealand pukeko, Thomas overturns the accepted story of declining biodiversity on Earth. In so doing, he questions why we resist new forms of life, and why we see ourselves as unnatural. Ultimately, he suggests that if life on Earth can recover from the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, it can survive the onslaughts of the technological age. This eye-opening book is a profound reexamination of the relationship between humanity and the natural world.

Reinventing Eden

The Fate of Nature in Western Culture

Author: Carolyn Merchant

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136161244

Category: Nature

Page: 304

View: 1990

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This revised edition of Carolyn Merchant’s classic Reinventing Eden has been updated with a new foreword and afterword. Visionary quests to return to the Garden of Eden have shaped Western Culture. This book traces the idea of rebuilding the primeval garden from its origins to its latest incarnations and offers a bold new way to think about the earth.

Green Psychology

Transforming Our Relationship to the Earth

Author: Ralph Metzner

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1594775184

Category: Body, Mind & Spirit

Page: 240

View: 3375

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A visionary ecopsychologist examines the rift between human beings and nature and shows what can be done to bring harmony to both the ecosystem and our own minds. • Shows that the solution to our ecological dilemma lies in our own consciousnesses. It is becoming more and more apparent that the causes and cures for the current ecological crisis are to be found in the hearts and minds of human beings. For millennia we existed within a religious and psychological framework that honored the Earth as a partner and worked to maintain a balance with nature. But somehow a root pathology took hold in Western civilization--the idea of domination over nature--and this led to an alienation of the human spirit that has allowed an unprecedented destruction of the very systems which support that spirit. In Green Psychology Ralph Metzner explores the history of this global pathology and examines the ways that we can restore a healing relationship with nature. His search for role models takes him from shamanic ceremonies with the Lacandon Maya of Mexico to vision quests in the California desert, from the astonishing nature mysticism of Hildegard von Bingen to the Black Goddesses and Green Gods of our pagan ancestors. He examines the historical roots of the split between humans and nature, showing how first sky-god worshiping cultures, then monotheisms, and finally mechanistic science continued to isolate the human psyche from the life-giving Earth. His final chapters present a solution, showing that disciplines such as deep ecology and ecofeminism are creating a worldview in which the mind of humanity and the health of the Earth are harmoniously intertwined.

Apocalyptic Planet

Field Guide to the Future of the Earth

Author: Craig Childs

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307907813

Category: Nature

Page: 368

View: 5596

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The earth has died many times, and it always comes back looking different. In an exhilarating, surprising exploration of our planet, Craig Childs takes readers on a firsthand journey through apocalypse, touching the truth behind the speculation. Apocalyptic Planet is a combination of science and adventure that reveals the ways in which our world is constantly moving toward its end and how we can change our place within the cycles and episodes that rule it. In this riveting narrative, Childs makes clear that ours is not a stable planet, that it is prone to sudden, violent natural disasters and extremes of climate. Alternate futures, many not so pretty, are constantly waiting in the wings. Childs refutes the idea of an apocalyptic end to the earth and finds clues to its more inevitable end in some of the most physically challenging places on the globe. He travels from the deserts of Chile, the driest in the world, to the genetic wasteland of central Iowa to the site of the drowned land bridge of the Bering Sea, uncovering the micro-cataclysms that predict the macro: forthcoming ice ages, super-volcanoes, and the conclusion of planetary life cycles. Childs delivers a sensual feast in his descriptions of the natural world and a bounty of unequivocal science that provides us with an unprecedented understanding of our future.

The Bloomsbury Handbook of Religion and Nature

The Elements

Author: Laura Hobgood,Whitney Bauman

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1350046833

Category: Social Science

Page: 360

View: 1925

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Divided into four parts-Earth, Air, Fire, and Water-this book takes an elemental approach to the study of religion and ecology. It reflects recent theoretical and methodological developments in this field which seek to understand the ways that ideas and matter, minds and bodies exist together within an immanent frame of reference. The Bloomsbury Handbook of Religion and Nature focuses on how these matters materialize in the world around us, thereby addressing key topics in this area of study. The editors provide an extensive introduction to the book, as well as useful introductions to each of its parts. The volume's international contributors are drawn from the USA, South Africa, Netherlands, Norway, Indonesia, and South Korea, and offer a variety of perspectives, voices, cultural settings, and geographical locales. This handbook shows that human concern and engagement with material existence is present in all sectors of the global community, regardless of religious tradition. It challenges the traditional methodological approach of comparative religion, and argues that globalization renders a comparative religious approach to the environment insufficient.

Gathering the Desert

Author: Gary Paul Nabhan

Publisher: University of Arizona Press

ISBN: 0816535019

Category: Nature

Page: 221

View: 9947

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To the untrained eye, a desert is a wasteland that defies civilization; yet the desert has been home to native cultures for centuries and offers sustenance in its surprisingly wide range of plant life. Gary Paul Nabhan has combed the desert in search of plants forgotten by all but a handful of American Indians and Mexican Americans. In Gathering the Desert readers will discover that the bounty of the desert is much more than meets the eye—whether found in the luscious fruit of the stately organpipe cactus or in the lowly tepary bean. Nabhan has chosen a dozen of the more than 425 edible wild species found in the Sonoran Desert to demonstrate just how bountiful the land can be. From the red-hot chiltepines of Mexico to the palms of Palm Springs, each plant exemplifies a symbolic or ecological relationship which people of this region have had with plants through history. Each chapter focuses on a particular plant and is accompanied by an original drawing by artist Paul Mirocha. Word and picture together create a total impression of plants and people as the book traces the turn of seasons in the desert.

The Desert

Lands of Lost Borders

Author: Michael Welland

Publisher: Reaktion Books

ISBN: 1780233892

Category: Nature

Page: 232

View: 861

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From endless sand dunes and prickly cacti to shimmering mirages and green oases, deserts evoke contradictory images in us. They are lands of desolation, but also of romance, of blistering Mojave heat and biting Gobi cold. Covering a quarter of the earth’s land mass and providing a home to half a billion people, they are both a physical reality and landscapes of the mind. The idea of the desert has long captured Western imagination, put on display in films and literature, but these portrayals often fail to capture the true scope and diversity of the people living there. Bridging the scientific and cultural gaps between perception and reality, The Desert celebrates our fascination with these arid lands and their inhabitants, as well as their importance both throughout history and in the world today. Covering an immense geographical range, Michael Welland wanders from the Sahara to the Atacama, depicting the often bizarre adaptations of plants and animals to these hostile environments. He also looks at these seemingly infertile landscapes in the context of their place in history—as the birthplaces not only of critical evolutionary adaptations, civilizations, and social progress, but also of ideologies. Telling the stories of the diverse peoples who call the desert home, he describes how people have survived there, their contributions to agricultural development, and their emphasis on water and its scarcity. He also delves into the allure of deserts and how they have been used in literature and film and their influence on fashion, art, and architecture. As Welland reveals, deserts may be difficult to define, but they play an active role in the evolution of our global climate and society at large, and their future is of the utmost importance. Entertaining, informative, and surprising, The Desert is an intriguing new look at these seemingly harsh and inhospitable landscapes.

A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert

Author: Steven John Phillips,Patricia Wentworth Comus,Mark Alan Dimmitt,Linda M. Brewer

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520287479

Category: Nature

Page: 590

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"This book takes readers deep into the Sonoran Desert, looking closely at the relationships of plants and animals with the land and people, through time and across landscapes. Beginning with its deep biotic and geologic history, the text unveils fascinating ecological adaptations to this desert. The book focuses on the Arizona Upland Subdivision but also touches upon other subdivisions of the Sonoran Desert and associated biotic communities. In clearly accessible language, dozens of naturalists and/or scientists have spelled out the basic concepts of this desert's biodiversity, geology, weather, plants, and animals (from invertebrates to fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals). It explains phenomena of desert light, Sky Islands, and rainfall patterns, flowering and pollination, human impacts and much more. Details on the form, habits, and habitat for hundreds of Sonoran Desert species are presented in accounts covering nearly two-thirds of the volume's 600-plus pages. As in the original publication, the new edition includes color plates highlighting Sonoran Desert landscapes, as well as maps, figures, and more than 400 black and white illustrations. Chapters on when and where to watch the spectacular nature of the region have been updated in this edition for readers inspired to journey over its lands and waters to peruse it in three dimensions"--Provided by publisher.

Inhabiting Eden

Christians, the Bible, and the Ecological Crisis

Author: Patricia K. Tull

Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press

ISBN: 0664233333

Category: Religion

Page: 204

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In this thoughtful study, respected Old Testament scholar Patricia K. Tull explores the Scriptures for guidance on today's ecological crisis. Tull looks to the Bible for what it can tell us about our relationships, not just to the earth itself, but also to plant and animal life, to each other, to descendants who will inherit the planet from us, and to our Creator. She offers candid discussions on many current ecological problems that humans contribute to, such as the overuse of energy resources like gas and electricity, consumerism, food production systems--including land use and factory farming--and toxic waste. Each chapter concludes with discussion questions and a practical exercise, making it ideal for both group and individual study. This important book provides a biblical basis for thinking about our world differently and prompts us to consider changing our own actions. Visit inhabitingeden.org for links to additional resources and information.

Nature in Literary and Cultural Studies

Transatlantic Conversations on Ecocriticism

Author: Catrin Gersdorf

Publisher: Rodopi

ISBN: 9042020962

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 490

View: 1496

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Nature in Literary and Cultural Studies is a collection of essays written by European and North American scholars who argue that nature and culture can no longer be thought of in oppositional, mutually exclusive terms. They are united in an effort to push the theoretical limits of ecocriticism towards a more rigorous investigation of nature's critical potential as a concept that challenges modern culture's philosophical assumptions, epistemological convictions, aesthetic principles, and ethical imperatives. This volume offers scholars and students of literature, culture, history, philosophy, and linguistics new insights into the ongoing transformation of ecocriticism into an innovative force in international and interdisciplinary literary and cultural studies.

The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected

A Natural Philosopher's Quest for Trout and the Meaning of Everything

Author: Marcelo Gleiser

Publisher: University Press of New England

ISBN: 1611689406

Category: Science

Page: 192

View: 2533

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Marcelo Gleiser has had a passion for science and fishing since he was a boy growing up on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Now a world-famous theoretical physicist with hundreds of scientific articles and several books of popular science to his credit, he felt it was time to connect with nature in less theoretical ways. After seeing a fly-fishing class on the Dartmouth College green, he decided to learn to fly-fish, a hobby, he says, that teaches humility. In The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected, Gleiser travels the world to scientific conferences, fishing wherever he goes. At each stop, he ponders how in the myriad ways physics informs the act of fishing; how, in its turn, fishing serves as a lens into nature's inner workings; and how science engages with questions of meaning and spirituality, inspiring a sense of mystery and awe of the not yet known. Personal and engaging, The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected is a scientist's tribute to nature, an affirmation of humanity's deep connection with and debt to Earth, and an exploration of the meaning of existence, from atom to trout to cosmos.

Finding home

writing on nature and culture from Orion magazine

Author: Peter H. Sauer

Publisher: Beacon Pr

ISBN: N.A

Category: Nature

Page: 293

View: 1080

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Writing on Nature and Culture from Orion MagazineEdited and with an Introduction by Peter Sauer

Desert Kingdom

Author: Toby Craig Jones

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674059409

Category: History

Page: 320

View: 8932

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This is an environmental and political history of Saudi Arabia, revealing the power of the environment to shape and influence the political state. Jones traces the modernization of the Saudi state and its rich oil reserves that were developed with the help of U.S. expertise and a technocratic elite who managed not only the vast oil reserves and water supplies but also the growth of political institutions. From the time oil was discovered in the 1930s, its control has been at the center of Saudi political authority and of the modern state. In addition the state quickly learned to exploit access to water as a means of controlling the population. Jones demonstrates the power of the Saudi environment to influence its modern political institutions and ideologies over the last eighty years. It is a fascinating story that helps explain not only how the Saudi state was transformed but also how the U.S. was inextricably involved in its technological and political modernization from the beginning.

Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 1631490834

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 9886

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Half-Earth proposes an achievable plan to save our imperiled biosphere: devote half the surface of the Earth to nature. In order to stave off the mass extinction of species, including our own, we must move swiftly to preserve the biodiversity of our planet, says Edward O. Wilson in his most impassioned book to date. Half-Earth argues that the situation facing us is too large to be solved piecemeal and proposes a solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem: dedicate fully half the surface of the Earth to nature. If we are to undertake such an ambitious endeavor, we first must understand just what the biosphere is, why it's essential to our survival, and the manifold threats now facing it. In doing so, Wilson describes how our species, in only a mere blink of geological time, became the architects and rulers of this epoch and outlines the consequences of this that will affect all of life, both ours and the natural world, far into the future. Half-Earth provides an enormously moving and naturalistic portrait of just what is being lost when we clip "twigs and eventually whole braches of life's family tree." In elegiac prose, Wilson documents the many ongoing extinctions that are imminent, paying tribute to creatures great and small, not the least of them the two Sumatran rhinos whom he encounters in captivity. Uniquely, Half-Earth considers not only the large animals and star species of plants but also the millions of invertebrate animals and microorganisms that, despite being overlooked, form the foundations of Earth's ecosystems. In stinging language, he avers that the biosphere does not belong to us and addresses many fallacious notions such as the idea that ongoing extinctions can be balanced out by the introduction of alien species into new ecosystems or that extinct species might be brought back through cloning. This includes a critique of the "anthropocenists," a fashionable collection of revisionist environmentalists who believe that the human species alone can be saved through engineering and technology. Despite the Earth's parlous condition, Wilson is no doomsayer, resigned to fatalism. Defying prevailing conventional wisdom, he suggests that we still have time to put aside half the Earth and identifies actual spots where Earth's biodiversity can still be reclaimed. Suffused with a profound Darwinian understanding of our planet's fragility, Half-Earth reverberates with an urgency like few other books, but it offers an attainable goal that we can strive for on behalf of all life.