Foreword Reviews

The New Ecology

Rethinking a Science for the Anthropocene

Featuring novel ideas communicated clearly, this book is likely to have broad appeal.

Human impact on the environment has become a certainty. However, the idea that humans are a force separate from the environment may be a harmful one. This book proposes that humans integrate themselves and their activity into a natural ecological niche, striving to control their impact on the natural environment by understanding and engineering their place in it.

Unlike many of its contemporaries, The New Ecology does not call for absolute change, such as the cessation of mining or carbon fuel use by a certain date. Instead, it encourages a holistic approach to ecology, as well as an acceptance that, yes, humans are indeed going to continue changing the world around them. Instead of opting for a zero-impact approach, this book calls for active stewardship and understanding of humans as part of an ecosystem—a very influential part. It also acknowledges economic and social realities that many activists simply decry outright.

The New Ecology is persuasive in its argument that conscientious stewardship is more productive than an attempt to separate humans from the environment completely. However, though the author states repeatedly and plainly that harmful human activity must be checked, there is some danger of the message of this book being misinterpreted as license to alter the environment. Part of this is because the book takes a while to establish its central point. Reading past the first few chapters proves rewarding, however. Conversational in tone, non-ecologists will comprehend the book easily, and ecologists will be interested in the fresh concepts.

Reviewed by Anna Call

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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