As Diane Ackerman writes in her brilliant new book, The Human Age, “our relationship
with nature has changed…radically, irreversibly, but by no means all for the
bad. Our new epoch is laced with invention. Our mistakes are legion, but our
talent is immeasurable.”
Ackerman is justly celebrated for her unique insight into
the natural world and our place in it. In this landmark book, she confronts the
unprecedented reality that one prodigiously intelligent and meddlesome
creature, Homo sapiens, is now the
dominant force shaping the future of planet Earth.
Humans have “subdued 75 percent of the land surface,
concocted a wizardry of industrial and medical marvels, strung lights all
across the darkness.” We tinker with nature at every opportunity; we
garden the planet with our preferred species of plants and animals, many of
them invasive; and we have even altered the climate, threatening our own
extinction. Yet we reckon with our own destructive capabilities in
extraordinary acts of hope-filled creativity: we collect the DNA of vanishing
species in a “frozen ark,” equip orangutans with iPads, and create
wearable technologies and synthetic species that might one day outsmart us.
With her distinctive gift for making scientific discovery intelligible to the
layperson, Ackerman takes us on an exhilarating journey through our new
reality, introducing us to many of the people and ideas now creating—perhaps
saving—our future and that of our fellow creatures.
A beguiling, optimistic engagement with the changes
affecting every part of our lives, The
Human Age is a wise and beautiful book that will astound, delight, and
inform intelligent life for a long time to come. Download and start listening now!