British science writer Tudge, author of Engineer in the Garden , wants us to see human history in its entirety and in terms of its often overlooked connections to the earth and our fellow species. Tudge begins by discussing the workings of the earth's grand ecological systems, then moves on to lively explanations of the mechanism of evolution. Philosophical, conversational, and frequently witty, Tudge offers fresh and stimulating perspectives on such aspects of life as how climate and plate tectonics influence evolution and how crucial our manual and verbal dexterities have been to our becoming the "all-purpose animal that in principle can solve any problem." Tudge hastens to say that this adaptability and power do not give us the right to destroy other species, but much of his history of humanity analyzes the negative impact we've had on the earth ever since we mastered fire and agriculture, from the depletion of the ozone layer to the pollution of the oceans and the decimation of numerous animal species. An invigoratingly syncretic look at five million years of human life.
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