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RenTheWriter

Tea, Cats, and Books

A book is best read with tea in your hand and a cat on your lap. 

24-year-old English Major that currently works in an indie bookshop and at a local publishing house. Reviews and other bookish things. 

The Sixth Extinction: A brief history of how people have been fucking up the world

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History - Elizabeth Kolbert

Okay, so that title doesn't sound super positive. But let's not sugar coat it, humans are a disease on this planet. As much as we are a natural product of biology and evolved like every other living thing on the planet, we are one of the most destructive things to have ever existed. For being the "most intelligent" animal (and yes, we are animals, lest we forget) we sure have done and continue to do some pretty stupid shit no matter how much we learn or discover. 

 

Enough of my soap-boxing, let us get to the book. 

 

I read Elizabeth Kolbert's Field Notes from a Catastrophe back in college, a book that focused on the effects of climate change. I got very much the same feeling from that book as I did The Sixth Extinction. A dull, throbbing hopelessness settled deep in my stomach. The Sixth Extinction travels backwards and forwards between the time of Darwin and when the word 'extinction' first began to attract major attention from the scientific community. Kolbert takes you on her own adventures in the present day tracking down elusive, likely extinct species of frog and counting ever dwindling numbers of bats. She does a very good job of showing the effects humans are having in all areas of the planet and on all its various inhabitants. 

 

Kolbert's writing is easy to read and she does a good job of not overwhelming the reader with scientific jargon and tons of history and facts. The book is as informative as it is emotional. Kolbert also doesn't shy away or completely ignore opposing side of things. She acknowledges they are they but doesn't spend much time delving into them. I really appreciated that she ended the book on a positive note, as positive as she could be in light of all the terrible things happening. After reading the book, one could certainly feel that things are indeed hopeless, that we will never turn things around and soon Earth will be a barren and bland wasteland where many of the plants and animals we know today will have long since vanished. But there is still hope. There are still people out there working tirelessly to change their behavior, show others the error of their ways and make a difference in our future. 

 

I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in history, biology and who has a desire to help save our planet from the bleak future we are currently headed towards.

 

~Ren