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Available audio: Dialogue radio interview ( see # 675 -- 12/29/03-1/4/04)
Two global trends that will dominate the 21st century are the explosive growth of the human population and the mass extinction befalling countless species of the plant and animal kingdoms. Anthropologist Jeffrey K. McKee explores the cause-and-effect relationship between these two trends, demonstrating that nature is too sparing to accommodate both a richly diverse living world and rapidly expanding numbers of people. The author probes the past to find that humans and their ancestors have had negative impacts on species biodiversity for nearly two million years, and that extinction rates have accelerated since the origins of agriculture.
Today entire ecosystems are in peril due to the relentless growth of the human population. McKee gives a guided tour of the interconnections within the living world to reveal the meaning and value of biodiversity, making the maze of technical research and scientific debates accessible to the general reader. It turns out that conserving biodiversity is critical to the health of our planet and to the future of humanity. Whereas conservation is viewed as an immediate goal, it is all too clear that human priorities change with time, and so do conservation values. Thus the greatest conservation measure to save earth’s biodiversity is to halt the growth of the human population.
Sparing Nature concludes with an objective look at the means to stem the growth of human populations by decreasing fertility rates, as well as a defense of the notion that population growth must stop if biodiversity is to be saved. By conscientiously becoming more responsible about our reproductive habits and our impact on other living beings, we can ensure that nature’s services make our lives not only supportable, but sustainable for this century and beyond.
Comments from the experts:
“Jeff McKee is bringing to Sparing Nature the same graceful writing style combined with the insights of a fine scientist that I found in The Riddled Chain. Furthermore, his timing is exquisite, since the close relationship of human population growth and the decay of biodiverisity has not been brought to popular audiences in far too long.”—Paul Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University
"Jeffrey McKee leads us on an engaging yet unblinking exploration of the shadow that looms, largely unconfronted, over efforts to save room and resources for the other creatures with whom we share this planet -- the shadow of relentless human population growth. Even our best efforts to conserve biodiversity and step more lightly on the planet that sustains us are ultimately futile if we continue to add 200,000 people each day to the human population." -- Yvonne Baskin, author of A Plague of Rats & Rubbervines
"McKee's Sparing Nature will exceed all your expectations ... His book never flags, and is broken into highly digestible sections ... McKee's book is replete with telling and up-to-date examples culled from the scientific literature, leavened with plenty of personal examples from his native Ohio and from South Africa, where he conducts his research." -- NewScientist
"With an elegant and earnest writing style more common among nature writers than academics, McKee tallies the value of a balanced ecosystem." -- The Nation
News about Sparing Nature and related topics:
Brother, Can You Spare a Species? The Reporter, Spring, 2004. (link to PDF file)
|Mr. Jeff Goes to Washington 10/31/03|
|People and the Planet 10/2/03|
|Population Boom Threatens Wildlife 7/25/03|
|Anthropologist Predicts Major Threat to Species Within 50 Years 6/10/03|
|Anthropologist Pleads for Fewer Humans, More Saved Species 5/5/03|
|Now Available: Dialogue radio interview|
Jeffrey K. McKee's Home Page