Descripción de editorial
In humanity’s more than 100,000 year history, we have evolved from vulnerable creatures clawing sustenance from Earth to a sophisticated global society manipulating every inch of it. In short, we have become the dominant animal. Why, then, are we creating a world that threatens our own species? What can we do to change the current trajectory toward more climate change, increased famine, and epidemic disease?
Renowned Stanford scientists Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich believe that intelligently addressing those questions depends on a clear understanding of how we evolved and how and why we’re changing the planet in ways that darken our descendants’ future. The Dominant Animal arms readers with that knowledge, tracing the interplay between environmental change and genetic and cultural evolution since the dawn of humanity. In lucid and engaging prose, they describe how Homo sapiens adapted to their surroundings, eventually developing the vibrant cultures, vast scientific knowledge, and technological wizardry we know today.
The Ehrlichs also explore the flip side of this triumphant story of innovation and conquest. As we clear forests to raise crops and build cities, lace the continents with highways, and create chemicals never before seen in nature, we may be undermining our own supremacy. The threats of environmental damage are clear from the daily headlines, but the outcome is far from destined. Humanity can again adapt—if we learn from our evolutionary past.
Those lessons are crystallized in The Dominant Animal. Tackling the fundamental challenge of the human predicament, Paul and Anne Ehrlich offer a vivid and unique exploration of our origins, our evolution, and our future.
Since the 1968 publication of Paul and Anne Ehrlich's The Population Bomb, they have played a major role in generating awareness of looming ecological crisis. While their more dire predictions (millions dead in famines before the end of the 20th century) have not come to pass, the correctness of their fundamental thesis-that we are in danger of undermining "the ability of Earth's environment to support much of life-including our own," is now widely accepted. Forty years later, they consider scientific, technical and cultural developments (especially in the fields of genetics and information technology), and how they've raised the stakes, perhaps "putting all of humanity on a course resembling the fate of ancient civilizations that collapsed." They argue clearly and convincingly the pressing need for a global shift away from the ever-expanding siren call of consumerism, the culpability of corporate interests that have promoted resource-draining suburban sprawl, and the self-serving wastefulness of "the most affluent fifth of the U.S. population." Tough hopeful that such widespread transformation is possible, the Ehrlichs contend that it's only the encroaching crisis that will inspire it-unless, that is, this fascinating, inspiring book gets the wide audience it deserves.