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Green Equilibrium: The Vital Balance of Humans and Nature Hardcover – March 22, 2013


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*Starred Review* In his latest popular science book, an encompassing work of fresh and realigning perspectives and discoveries enlivened by his wildlife photographs, Wills explores how ecosystems are shaped by evolution and how we are shaped by evolution and the ecosystems we inhabit. To define his concept of “green equilibrium,” Wills describes how one such “ecological balancing act” in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater went awry when park rangers suppressed grassland fires: disease-bearing ticks thrived, killing many of the big cats. Wills explores other precarious green equilibriums in California, Guyana, Thailand, New Guinea, and the Himalayas as well as Pacific coral reefs. In each ecosystem, he takes a multidimensional view, analyzing astonishingly intricate “webs of associations” among predators and prey, plants, insects, and microorganisms and digging deeply into the underlying “genetic equilibrium” as he illuminates “the complexity of gene-environment interactions” and even how green equilibriums drive cultural advances. Demanding science alternates with anecdotal profiles of local people, park rangers, and scientists and cautionary tales of tragedies and triumphs, paradoxes and ironies. After unfurling a uniquely honed and eye-opening history of human evolution (especially of the brain), migration, and adaptation, Wills asserts that as “Earth’s ruling predator” we must become fluent in green equilibriums, learn to be “less exploitive,” and “harness the accumulated knowledge” of indigenous people to restore and protect the living world. --Donna Seaman

Review


"In his latest popular science book, an encompassing work of fresh and realigning perspectives and discoveries enlivened by his wildlife photographs, Wills explores how ecosystems are shaped by evolution and how we are shaped by evolution and the ecosystems we inhabit." --Booklist


"The author argues that human beings not only shape ecosystems, but are shaped by them. Thus, he writes, while we have pushed the green equilibrium out of balance in many places, making them unsustainable and threatening our own existence, the evolution of our species has given us 'pretty good brains,' with the ability to understand the problems we have created and the power to solve them. Wills is both a skilled storyteller and a talented photographer and he provides an eye-opening account of the long history of human migrations out of Africa and into Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas."
--Kirkus Reviews



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