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Invisible Nature: Healing the Destructive Divide Between People and the Environment Kindle Edition

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Length: 396 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

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When pressed on the issue, most will readily proclaim they are pro-environment and antipollution, although lately only scant gains have been made in counteracting rapidly escalating climate change and damage to ocean habitats. In this incisive analysis of modern society’s detrimental impact on global ecology, University of California environmental studies professor Worthy attributes this inconsistency between good intentions and dismal results to civilization’s built-in dissociation from nature. When the food we eat and clothes we wear are produced in remote farms and factories, our connection with the natural world from which they spring becomes just as remote and inevitably neglected. In eight sweeping chapters filled with sobering examples, Worthy traces the origins of this environmental disconnect to the industrial world’s idea of nature as a collection of separate parts requiring careful supervision. He then offers a variety of prescriptions, including growing food locally, for reestablishing awareness of the interconnectedness of nature and our utter dependence on it. Worthy’s book is a superbly written clarion call to reformat our lifestyles and embrace a deeper connection with the living world. --Carl Hays


"Required reading for all who want a path to a new future."
—Carolyn Merchant, author of The Death of Nature

"Indispensible.... I've read few books that make such a thoroughgoing case for ecological awakening.... I have seldom come across the whole story of how we came to be so hopelessly severed from the sources of life... told with such detail and eloquence.... A necessary book."  
—Times Higher Education

“A superbly written clarion call to reformat our lifestyles and embrace a deeper connection with the living world.”

“Finally there is a book that connects the dots between environmental degradation and all the disconnectedness in modern lives. Invisible Nature offers a coherent way to understand how the breaking of our bonds with nature and each other leads to environmental ruin. This volume gives me hope that in its decoding of our precarious predicament, we will find a way to weave back together all the right pieces.”
David Evan Harris, research director at the Institute for the Future, and founder of the Global Lives Project
The broadest inquiry yet into the origins of our global environmental crisis. By turning his lens on how Western ideas have resulted in the fragmentation of human experience and understanding, Worthy reveals a world in which ethics have become unseated as people have trouble responding to their own environmental values. His examination of how dissociated lives lead to environmental destruction is innovative and eye-opening. A must-read for a fuller understanding of the human predicament and the future of life on earth.”
Richard B. Norgaard, University of California, Berkeley, author of Development Betrayed

“Worthy shows how fragmentation and disassociation are at the heart of the ecological crisis. He also reveals how association and connection can help heal the planet and transcend eco-apartheid—the separation of humans from nature—by making us aware of how our everyday life choices impact the fragile web of life and how we can take small steps to make big shifts.”
Dr. Vandana Shiva, Navdanya/Research Foundation for Science, Technology & Ecology

“A tour de force, Invisible Nature is the most sustained and multifaceted deconstruction of the deepest and most destructive flaw of the modern  worldview...."
J. Baird Callicott, University Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies, University of North Texas

Product Details

  • File Size: 1430 KB
  • Print Length: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (August 6, 2013)
  • Publication Date: August 6, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #950,906 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Kenneth Worthy (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley) is a lecturer and research associate at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a lecturer at St. Mary's College of California and the University of California, Berkeley.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By shawn rowland on August 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
Invisible Nature: Healing the Destructive Divide Between People and the EnvironmentThis is an amazing book. I've been thinking along these lines for a while...why does it seem like no matter what we do, environmental problems just keep on getting worse, and new ones keep popping up, like tar sands oil and fracking? It's so frustrating. The problems seem so "out there," except the news keeps bringing them back. This book taught me how decisions I make in my own life are connected to problems like superfund sites and people working in cell phone and computer factories getting cancer and having oppressive jobs. I was deeply touched by the observation that our ability to follow our own ethics has been taken away by corporations, governments, and others who stand between us and nature.
I don't know any book, environmental or otherwise, that does a better job of merging all sorts of fields and disciplines to give a truly encompassing perspective on a problem, like this one does for the environmental crisis. The author presents a lot of shocking information about the toxic pollution from high-tech electronics, and ties that in to the psychology of decision making and how not seeing the damages we create greases the skids to more destruction. There's also philosophy and phenomenology and geography and anthropology, explaining how fragmented thinking is embedded in Western culture. Most of it is pretty engaging, too, though some people might want to skip some of the philosophy, which should work fine.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mimi Prather on August 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
I feel the first reviewer had an incomplete understanding of the underlying thesis, to the extent of demonstrating the dissociative thinking described in the later chapters. This makes me question if he actually read the entire book.

I never felt the author was advocating doing away with all modern conveniences or technology. Only asking us to become more aware of what impact our use is having on nature (which includes we humans).

Drawing from history, science, philosophy, and personal experience the book was easily readable explaining the concepts in a clear and interesting manner. I recommend reading it.

Healing the destructive way of thinking, that is this book's subject, might save the earth, your mind, and best of all; your soul.
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Format: Paperback
If you’ve been feeling despondent about how we seem to be lurching unstoppably towards a 21st century planetary crisis of climate chaos, toxic pollution, and oceanic collapse, and wondering what could possibly inspire a shift in attitudes and action, then you will want to read this book.

Recent massive oil spills, in the Gulf of Mexico (2010) and in Santa Barbara (2015), which have forced us to confront the reality of toxic pollution up-close, have spurred much hand-wringing and heartache across the country. More commonly, toxic outcomes of the modern production system are hidden from us, and sent to distant places—where powerless, poor people, whom we never encounter, handle them.

Dissociation from the destructive consequences of our lives and actions on nature; hence, ‘Invisible Nature,’ is the brilliant crux of this book.

I found a fresh, unique, voice in ‘Invisible Nature’ which focuses, as surprisingly few other books on the environment do, on human beings as the key players in a destructive enterprise of planet-domination. Human ingenuity has created and positioned us squarely within gargantuan systems of technology and economic organization that have reshaped not only the planet, but also, ourselves.

Kenneth Worthy puts a mirror on the modern soul, torn as it were between (1) a historical context as one of many species which have evolved together on the planet, intertwined in nature, and (2) a contemporary existence removed from nature and situated amidst bureaucratic, technological, urban, and economic systems through which societies are run. We surely can’t return to a pure, unadulterated Eden, but does our technologically-driven planetary domination have to be so devastating?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Byrne on January 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an environmental educator and sustainability advocate, I have read a lot of books about environmental problems, solutions and human-environment relationships. Often, books on these topics give slightly different takes on the same issues and rehash the same basic statistics and concerns. Rarely, after one reads a few of these, is it possible to come across an author that provides a whole new take on the issues.
Thankfully, Kenneth Worthy has accomplished some very novel and thought-provoking analysis and commentary on human-nature relations. I highly recommend this book as an introduction to the issues but also as an advanced treatise for those who are already well versed on sustainability thinking.
The book contains a lot of unique perspectives and is well grounded in historical references. It is written very well and accessible, especially for a text that is generally philosophical rather than scientific in its approach (I have read other environmental philosophy books that were so dense as to be unreadable for anyone without a PhD in philosophy).
I cam away with a set of new valuable concepts to discuss environmental issues with including slow violence, fields of force, invisible others, and, the main focus of Worthy's thesis, dissociation. Although these are seemingly "jargony", this book is not heavy with jargon. Rather, Worthy uses these phrases effectively to encompass complicated ideas and issues which he then explains well.
My only critique of the book is that the subtitle's focus ("healing the destructive divide between people and the environment") was only the focus of the last chapter; it would have been nice to expand more on this healing with more chapters. All the other chapters dealt with explaining the historical causes of the divide (i.e.
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