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Earth and Mars
A Reflection
Stephen E. Strom and Bradford A. Smith
University of Arizona Press, 2015
Nearly five billion years ago, Earth and Mars were born together as planetary siblings orbiting a young, emerging Sun. Yet today, one planet is water rich and life bearing, while the other is seemingly cold, dry, and forbidding.

Earth and Mars is a fusion of art and science, a blend of images and essays celebrating the successful creation of our life-sustaining planet and the beauty and mystery of Mars. Through images of terrestrial landscapes and photographs selected from recent NASA and European Space Agency missions to Mars, Earth and Mars reveals the profound beauty resulting from the action of volcanism, wind, and water. The accompanying text provides a context for appreciating the role of these elemental forces in shaping the surfaces of each planet, as well as the divergent evolutionary paths that led to an Earth that is teeming with life, and Mars that is seemingly lifeless.

Earth and Mars inspires reflection on the extraordinarily delicate balance of forces that has resulted in our good fortune: to be alive and sentient on a bountiful blue world.
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Earth, Ice, Bone, Blood
Permafrost and Extinction in the Russian Arctic
Charlotte Wrigley
University of Minnesota Press, 2023

Exploring one of the greatest potential contributors to climate change—thawing permafrost—and the anxiety of extinction on an increasingly hostile planet

 

Climate scientists point to permafrost as a “ticking time bomb” for the planet, and from the Arctic, apocalyptic narratives proliferate on the devastating effects permafrost thaw poses to human survival. In Earth, Ice, Bone, Blood, Charlotte Wrigley considers how permafrost—and its disappearance—redefines extinction to be a lack of continuity, both material and social, and something that affects not only life on earth but nonlife, too.

Earth, Ice, Bone, Blood approaches the topic of thawing permafrost and the wild new economies and mitigation strategies forming in the far north through a study of the Sakha Republic, Russia’s largest region, and its capital city Yakutsk, which is the coldest city in the world and built on permafrost. Wrigley examines people who are creating commerce out of thawing permafrost, including scientists wishing to recreate the prehistoric “Mammoth steppe” ecosystem by eventually rewilding resurrected woolly mammoths, Indigenous people who forage the tundra for exposed mammoth bodies to sell their tusks, and government officials hoping to keep their city standing as the ground collapses under it. Warming begets thawing begets economic activity— and as a result, permafrost becomes discontinuous, both as land and as a social category, in ways that have implications for the entire planet. Discontinuity, Wrigley shows, eventually evolves into extinction.

Offering a new way of defining extinction through the concept of “discontinuity,” Earth, Ice, Bone, Blood presents a meditative and story-focused engagement with permafrost as more than just frozen ground.

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Earth in Mind
On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect
David W. Orr
Island Press, 2004

In Earth in Mind, noted environmental educator David W. Orr focuses not on problems in education, but on the problem of education. Much of what has gone wrong with the world, he argues, is the result of inadequate and misdirected education that:

  • alienates us from life in the name of human domination
  • causes students to worry about how to make a living before they know who they are
  • overemphasizes success and careers
  • separates feeling from intellect and the practical from the theoretical
  • deadens the sense of wonder for the created world
The crisis we face, Orr explains, is one of mind, perception, and values. It is, first and foremost, an educational challenge.

The author begins by establishing the grounds for a debate about education and knowledge. He describes the problems of education from an ecological perspective, and challenges the "terrible simplifiers" who wish to substitute numbers for values. He follows with a presentation of principles for re-creating education in the broadest way possible, discussing topics such as biophilia, the disciplinary structure of knowledge, the architecture of educational buildings, and the idea of ecological intelligence. Orr concludes by presenting concrete proposals for reorganizing the curriculum to draw out our affinity for life.

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Earth in Our Care
Ecology, Economy, and Sustainability
Maser, Chris
Rutgers University Press, 2009
"What about the twenty-first century? Will we finally accept our responsibilities as guardians of planet Earth, the biological living trust, for the beneficiaries, the children of today, tomorrow, and beyond? Or, will it too be a century of lethal, economic struggle among the polarized positions of the supremely dysfunctional among us? Are they—once again—to be allowed to determine the legacy we, as a society, as a nation, bequeath those who follow us? The choice is ours, the adults of the world. How shall we choose?"

So writes Chris Maser in this compelling study of three interactive spheres of the ecosystem: atmosphere (air), litho-hydrosphere (rock that comprises the restless continents and the water that surrounds them), and biosphere (all life sandwiched in between).

Rich in detail and insightful analogies, Earth in Our Care addresses key issues including land-use policies, ecological restoration, forest management, local living, and sustainability thinking. Exploring our interconnectedness with the Earth, Maser examines today's problems and, more importantly, provides solutions for the future.

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The Earth
Natural Resources and Human Intervention
Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek
Haus Publishing, 2009
Population growth mainly occurs in fast-developing, and developing nations. Can earth sustain this growth? How will the power shift? This book offers prospects on causes and effects of population growth and the age-ing population in industrialised countries.
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Earth on Earth
Bin Ramke
Omnidawn, 2021
Poems that personally engage with the materiality and danger of earth.
 
A kind of translation of the thousand-year-old poem “Earth Took of Earth,” this book is an attempt to restate in personal, emotional terms a sense of both the danger of and the consolation given by earth itself. Many of these poems arose during a collaboration with the ecologist-ceramicist Mia Mulvey: her work with earth, clay often extruded through digitally guided machinery, echoes Ramke’s attempts to understand damages done to and celebrate the facts of earth—for instance, that geosmin, the scent of wet soil, is so powerfully recognizable even in trace amounts. The title of this book is also a play on the phrase “heaven on earth,” turning this idea around and encouraging us to instead turn our hopes toward earth on earth.
 
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The Earth on Show
Fossils and the Poetics of Popular Science, 1802-1856
Ralph O'Connor
University of Chicago Press, 2007
At the turn of the nineteenth century, geology—and its claims that the earth had a long and colorful prehuman history—was widely dismissedasdangerous nonsense. But just fifty years later, it was the most celebrated of Victorian sciences. Ralph O’Connor tracks the astonishing growth of geology’s prestige in Britain, exploring how a new geohistory far more alluring than the standard six days of Creation was assembled and sold to the wider Bible-reading public.

Shrewd science-writers, O’Connor shows, marketed spectacular visions of past worlds, piquing the public imagination with glimpses of man-eating mammoths, talking dinosaurs, and sea-dragons spawned by Satan himself. These authors—including men of science, women, clergymen, biblical literalists, hack writers, blackmailers, and prophets—borrowed freely from the Bible, modern poetry, and the urban entertainment industry, creating new forms of literature in order to transport their readers into a vanished and alien past.

In exploring the use of poetry and spectacle in the promotion of popular science, O’Connor proves that geology’s success owed much to the literary techniques of its authors. An innovative blend of the history of science, literary criticism, book history, and visual culture, The Earth on Show rethinks the relationship between science and literature in the nineteenth century.
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Earth, Water, and Sky
A Naturalist's Stories and Sketches
By Paul A. Johnsgard
University of Texas Press, 1999

"As I write this, I am sitting in a cabin at Cedar Point Biological Station in southwestern Nebraska.... The glorious elemental mixture of earth, water, and sky around me is the home of nearly three hundred species of birds, and comprises one of my favorite places in the world. Here no radio stations blare out the most recent results of meaningless sports events ... no traffic noises confound the senses. Instead the wind is the unquestioned dominating summer influence. The prairie grasses bend willingly and gracefully before it, and the leaves of the cottonwood trees convert its breezes into soft music."

Paul Johnsgard is one of America's most prominent ornithologists and a world authority on waterfowl behavior. In these popularly written, often lyrical essays, he describes some of his most fascinating encounters with birds, from watching the annual mating displays of prairie-chickens on a hilltop in Pawnee County, Nebraska, to attempting to solve some of the mysteries surrounding Australia's nearly flightless musk duck.

Reflecting his worldwide interests and travels, the birds Johnsgard describes inhabit many parts of the globe. Grouping the birds by the element they frequent most—earth, water, or sky—he weaves a wealth of accurate natural history into personal stories drawn from a lifetime of avian observation. And, as a bonus, Johnsgard's lovely pen-and-ink drawings illustrate each species he describes.

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Ecological Governance
Toward a New Social Contract with the Earth
Bruce Jennings
West Virginia University Press, 2016

As our economic and natural systems continue on their collision course, Bruce Jennings asks whether we have the political capacity to avoid large-scale environmental disaster. Can liberal democracy, he wonders, respond in time to ecological challenges that require dramatic changes in the way we approach the natural world? Must a more effective governance be less democratic and more autocratic? Or can a new form of grassroots ecological democracy save us from ourselves and the false promises of material consumption run amok?

Ecological Governance is an ethicist’s reckoning with how our political culture, broadly construed, must change in response to climate change. Jennings argues that during the Anthropocene era a social contract of consumption has been forged. Under it people have given political and economic control to elites in exchange for the promise of economic growth. In a new political economy of the future, the terms of the consumptive contract cannot be met without severe ecological damage. We will need a new guiding vision and collective aim, a new social contract of ecological trusteeship and responsibility.


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Elemental Ecocriticism
Thinking with Earth, Air, Water, and Fire
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen
University of Minnesota Press, 2015

For centuries it was believed that all matter was composed of four elements: earth, air, water, and fire in promiscuous combination, bound by love and pulled apart by strife. Elemental theory offered a mode of understanding materiality that did not center the cosmos around the human. Outgrown as a science, the elements are now what we build our houses against. Their renunciation has fostered only estrangement from the material world.

The essays collected in Elemental Ecocriticism show how elemental materiality precipitates new engagements with the ecological. Here the classical elements reveal the vitality of supposedly inert substances (mud, water, earth, air), chemical processes (fire), and natural phenomena, as well as the promise in the abandoned and the unreal (ether, phlogiston, spontaneous generation).

Decentering the human, this volume provides important correctives to the idea of the material world as mere resource. Three response essays meditate on the connections of this collaborative project to the framing of modern-day ecological concerns. A renewed intimacy with the elemental holds the potential of a more dynamic environmental ethics and the possibility of a reinvigorated materialism.


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Emergence of Life on Earth
A Historical and Scientific Overview
Fry, Iris
Rutgers University Press, 2000
How did life emerge on Earth? Is there life on other worlds? These questions, until recently confined to the pages of speculative essays and tabloid headlines, are now the subject of legitimate scientific research. This book presents a unique perspective--a combined historical, scientific, and philosophical analysis, which does justice to the complex nature of the subject. The book's first part offers an overview of the main ideas on the origin of life as they developed from antiquity until the twentieth century. The second, more detailed part of the book examines contemporary theories and major debates within the origin-of-life scientific community.
Topics include:
  • Aristotle and the Greek atomists' conceptions of the organism
  • Alexander Oparin and J.B.S. Haldane's 1920s breakthrough papers
  • Possible life on Mars?
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front cover of Emergence of Life on Earth
Emergence of Life on Earth
A Historical and Scientific Overview
Fry, Iris
Rutgers University Press, 2000
How did life emerge on Earth? Is there life on other worlds? These questions, until recently confined to the pages of speculative essays and tabloid headlines, are now the subject of legitimate scientific research. This book presents a unique perspective--a combined historical, scientific, and philosophical anaylsis, which does justice to the complex nature of the subject. The book's first part offers an overview of the main ideas on the origin of life as they developed from antiquity until the twentieth century. The second, more detailed part of the book examines contemporary theories and major debates within the origin-of-life scientific community.
Topics include:
  • Aristotle and the Greek atomists' conceptions of the organism
  • Alexander Oparin and J.B.S. Haldane's 1920s breakthrough papers
  • Possible life on Mars?
[more]

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The Ends of the Earth
Roger Willemsen
Haus Publishing, 2010
An author, foreign correspondent, academic, and television personality, Roger Willemsen is a familiar figure in Germany, and The Ends of the Earth offers English-language readers a chance to engage with his uniquely astute take on the world. Consisting of twenty-two essays recounting and reflecting on a lifetime of travel to the far and forgotten corners of our planet, the book offers remarkable encounters and mysterious entanglements in locations as diverse as a Kamchatkan volcano, a Burmese railway station, an Arctic icebreaker, and a Minsk hospital ward. Willemsen is the perfect companion, reveling in the strange and unlovely, and tracing unexpected connections among places, times, and peoples.
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Ends of the Earth
Poems
Kate Partridge
University of Alaska Press, 2017
Ends of the Earth uses the landscape of Alaska as a testing ground for love and elegy. It is a poetry collection that contains both lyric responses to the urban Alaska environment and extended sequences that cycle between autobiography, mythic allusion, and the literary archive. In her work, Kate Partridge combines the fresh perspective of a newcomer with explorations of the landscape and lifestyles through allusions to classic literature.

While the poems turn an inquisitive, contemporary lens to the subject of Alaska, elements throughout the book are influenced by twentieth-century writers like Elizabeth Bishop and Marianne Moore. The manuscript also combines personal experience with collaged material from the Epic of Gilgamesh, Walt Whitman's notebooks, and other classic sources, to investigate the ideas of love, isolation, and location. Through humor and observation, Partridge takes a new look at what it means to live in urban Alaska and the world at large.
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Environmental Restoration
Science And Strategies For Restoring The Earth
Edited by John Berger
Island Press, 1990

Environmental Restoration is the product of a ground-breaking conference on ecological restoration, held in January 1988 at the University of California, Berkeley. It offers an overview from the nation's leading experts of the most current techniques of restoration, including examples of the complex and subtle biological interactions we must understand to ensure success.

Chapters cover restoration of agricultural lands, barrens, coastal ecosystems, prairies, and range lands. Additional sections address temperate forests and watersheds, mined lands, soil bioengineering, urban issues including waste treatment and solid, toxic, and radioactive waste management. The book also covers restoration of aquatic systems, includes chapters on strategic planning and land acquisition, and provides examples of successful projects.

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Every River on Earth
Writing from Appalachian Ohio
Neil Carpathios
Ohio University Press, 2015

Every River on Earth: Writing from Appalachian Ohio includes some of the best regional poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction from forty contemporary writers, both established and up-and-coming. The wide range of material from authors such as David Baker, Don Bogen, Michelle Burke, Richard Hague, Donald Ray Pollock, and others, offers the reader a window into daily life in the region. The people, the landscape, the struggles, and the deepest undercurrents of what it means to be from and of a place are revealed in these original, deeply moving, and sometimes shocking pieces.

The book is divided into four sections: Family & Folks, The Land, The Grind, and Home & Away, each of which explores a different aspect of the place that these authors call home. The sections work together beautifully to capture what it means to live, to love, and to die in this particular slice of Appalachia. The writing is accessible and often emotionally raw; Every River on Earth invites all types of readers and conveys a profound appreciation of the region’s character.

The authors also offer personal statements about their writing, allowing the reader an intimate insight into their processes, aesthetics, and inspirations. What is it to be an Appalachian? What is it to be an Appalachian in Ohio? This book vividly paints that picture.


Every River on Earth
David Lee Garrison

I look out the window and see
through the neighbor’s window

to an Amish buggy
where three children are peeping back,

and in their eyes I see the darkness
of plowed earth hiding seed.

Wind pokes the land in winter,
trying to waken it,

and in the melting snow
I see rainbows and in them

every river on earth. I see all the way
to the ocean, where sand and stones

embrace each falling wave
and reach back to gather it in.

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