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Eco-Geography: What We See When We Look at Landscapes (Renewal in Science) First Edition Edition

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0940262997
ISBN-10: 0940262991
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Editorial Reviews


Reviewed by Dennis Patrick Slattery
From Parabola Magazine: Myth, Tradition & the Search for Meaning

This is a fascinating book about the relationship between organisms (both animal and vegetable), ecosystems, and cultural emergence. Andreas Suchantke, trained in botany and zoology, taught science for two decades at the Waldorf School in Zurich. His primary mentors, besides the natural order, are Goethe and Rudolph Steiner, from whom he gleaned the truth of 'the exactness of the imagination,' as translator Norman Skillen writes in a superb introduction....

His main point is that there are formative principles at work in the world's diverse environments that override the expression of traits in individual species. We consumers of nature must learn to imagine these formative principles and not continue using nineteenth-century industrial models to deal with the natural landscapes.... Numerous drawings of landscapes, birds, animals, insects, succulents and ferns — indeed, all forms of vegetation — are beautifully rendered and add much to the book's overall effect. Finally, Suchantke's fourteen-page listing of references is truly superb and offers further reading on nature and psyche for years to come.

About the Author

Andreas Suchantke was born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1933. He was trained in zoology and botany at the universities of Munich and Basel and taught natural sciences for nineteen years in the Waldorf school in Zurich. He has worked extensively in Waldorf teacher training programs around the world. Andreas Suchantke describes himself as a "freelance ecologist," and works especially in Israel in cooperation with the Society for the Protection of Nature.

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Product Details

  • Series: Renewal in Science
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Lindisfarne Books; First Edition edition (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940262991
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940262997
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,815,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Aydin Orstan on January 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
The back cover of Eco-Geography identifies the author Andreas Suchantke in his own words as a "freelance ecologist" with backgrounds in zoology and botany. I happened upon this book in the used bookstore and thought I'd give it a try. Suchantke has an easy to read style and the book was well-translated from German by Norman Skillen.

Eco-Geography is a collection of loosely connected essays on animal and plant ecology, the place of humans in nature and evolution. The emphasis is on African habitats, but there is also a chapter on New Zealand. Suchantke appears to be a follower of Rudolf Steiner, whose name occasionally shows up in the book. I am not familiar at all with Steiner's ideas, so I can't tell how much influence they may have had on Suchantke's thinking.

Suchantke has some valuable ideas, for example, when he is discussing the interconnectedness of predators and prey and the plants the latter feed on. A problem about the way he presents his ideas, however, is that he has a tendency to stray off from the main topic into marginally relevant fields. For example, the chapter titled "Africa: Three Landscapes as a Single Organism" starts off with the application of the "organism concept" to the landscapes of Africa. But in the middle of the chapter, this discussion is more or less interrrupted by a 5-page digression, first, about the Pygmy anatomy and then about western industrial cultures. I suspect those are the parts where Rudolf Steiner's philosophy enters the discussion.
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