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The Human Age: The World Shaped By Us [Kindle Edition]

Diane Ackerman

Kindle-Preis: EUR 16,58 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

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As Diane Ackerman writes in her brilliant new book, The Human Age, "our relationship with nature has changed…radically, irreversibly, but by no means all for the bad. Our new epoch is laced with invention. Our mistakes are legion, but our talent is immeasurable."

Ackerman is justly celebrated for her unique insight into the natural world and our place in it. In this landmark book, she confronts the unprecedented reality that one prodigiously intelligent and meddlesome creature, Homo sapiens, is now the dominant force shaping the future of planet Earth.

Humans have "subdued 75 percent of the land surface, concocted a wizardry of industrial and medical marvels, strung lights all across the darkness." We tinker with nature at every opportunity; we garden the planet with our preferred species of plants and animals, many of them invasive; and we have even altered the climate, threatening our own extinction. Yet we reckon with our own destructive capabilities in extraordinary acts of hope-filled creativity: we collect the DNA of vanishing species in a "frozen ark," equip orangutans with iPads, and create wearable technologies and synthetic species that might one day outsmart us. With her distinctive gift for making scientific discovery intelligible to the layperson, Ackerman takes us on an exhilarating journey through our new reality, introducing us to many of the people and ideas now creating—perhaps saving—our future and that of our fellow creatures.

A beguiling, optimistic engagement with the changes affecting every part of our lives, The Human Age is a wise and beautiful book that will astound, delight, and inform intelligent life for a long time to come.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Diane Ackerman has been the finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Non-fiction in addition to many other awards and recognitions for her work, which include the international bestsellers The Zookeeper's Wife and A Natural History of the Senses. She lives with her husband Paul West in Ithaca, New York.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 862 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 350 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 0755364988
  • Verlag: W. W. Norton & Company; Auflage: 1 (3. September 2014)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00J8R3M4C
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #323.419 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.8 von 5 Sternen  26 Rezensionen
30 von 33 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen A passionate, if unfocused, argument for a more nature-focused world view 28. August 2014
Von Michael J. Edelman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Diane Ackerman is concerned about how humans, after living at the mercery of the natural world for millions of years, have for the past century few centuries changed the world in radical ways. We are no longer at the mercy of weather, the tides, the winds, or even evolution, as our technology, and our hubris, have advanced through the years. Ackerman thinks we need to change how we look at the world, and concentrate more on using science to live in harmony with nature, rather than as a tool to overcome it.

That's certainly not a new thesis, of course. Aldo Leopold was writing about the need to live in harmony with nature in a modern, technological, world back in the 1920s, and there have been many since then. What Ackerman brings to the debate is a collection of of stories regarding how humans have used technology to replace, supplant, or in some case, work with nature. She talks about the military use of dolphins, aquaculture, artificial intelligence, evolution, biomass, solar energy, 3-D printing and dozens of other topics. Her range is great, and so is her passion, but in that range sometimes her focus is hard to perceive. What, exactly, Ackerman thinks the role of technology should be, beyond the fact that it shouldn't be harmful, is a bit vague.

Ackerman is a good writer, if a bit florid at times ("we not only bespangle the night, we broadloom the day") but for a science writer she's sometimes remarkably unfamiliar with science, and often speaks with just one person on any given topic. She doesn't seem to do any fact checking, either, otherwise she'd know arrows do not ricochet, and no one has made 3-D printed brass knuckles (although a plastic model has been made). Ackerman also tends to neglect the economics of the policies she or her interviewees propose. The idea that we could all grow much of our fruit and vegetables has a seductive, utopian allure, (Ackerman lives in a rural area, bordered by cornfields, she tells us, which may shape her thinking here) but there's a very good reason that most people stopped growing their own food. It's not terribly productive, either on a personal or a societal level, for a surgeon or an engineer to spend an hour a day tending a vegetable garden rather than doing something they're far more productive at. It's also not necessarily the most efficient use of space in a city in which the infrastructure of power, light, and sewage has to be maintained whether a block is used for housing, industry, or a bean field.

Even so, Ackerman does a good job of presenting a number of stories of technologies, projects, and areas of research that most readers may well be unfamiliar with, and for that reason I think it's worth reading. But it should be read with a critical eye.
20 von 25 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Welcome to the Anthropocene Era 3. August 2014
Von Nancy Famolari - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Apes playing with iPads, Japanese tourists visiting industrial sites, the great black marble that is the earth ringed with lights at night: all these are manifestations of the Anthropocene Era, the era in which man is the dominant force shaping the world.

The book is a series of essays each in a separate chapter ranging from nature to technology to the human body. I found each chapter well written, almost poetic. Whether you agree with her position that the way man has used and abused the environment is remediable not necessarily by using more technology but by modifying our behavior, including industrial and social behavior, she makes interesting points.

The ending chapters on the human body, particularly the factors we are beginning to understand in how our DNA influences what we become and the role played by the environment, were my favorite chapters, but there are other excellent sections ranging from the sea to outer space.

I highly recommend this book if you're interested in science, technology and the study of the human body. It's not a text book. It's an enjoyable read that gives you ideas to challenge the way you view the world.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Powerful And Tender 6. September 2014
Von Wilhelmina Zeitgeist - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
"The Human Age: The World Shaped By Us" by Diane Ackerman contains beautifully, almost poetic essays on the treatment of the earth and all its creatures by humankind. I found myself thoroughly engaged with the author's writing drinking in the words like cool water on a long hike. Each essay caused me to pause in thought over what I had just read. Not thinking if I agreed or disagreed with the author but, what did I think?

My favorite essay was "Nature, Pixilated." I was beautifully crafted with vivid description so well worded I could see, feel, and hear what I was reading. Seeing the frozen landscape as my exposed skin catches the deep chill of winter. Hearing my footsteps making crisp, crunching sounds as I walk across the snow covered in a thin icy layer.

Imaginative words are interwoven with facts to present the aching world to us in a powerful yet tender way. Ackerman makes us care about our planet and its inhabitants. Not through force or anger but, she shows us with a love for all that we have the power to preserve or destroy.
15 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen The Human Age refreshes rather than redefines sustainability for elites more than everyone else. 31. Juli 2014
Von Mark P. McDonald - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
The Human Age by Diane Ackerman provides an artistic and insightful view of humans and how we are changing the world. Ackerman describes a new epoch for the planet she dubs the Anthropocene to describe a world shaped by human action and behavior. Ackerman lays out this world in 31 vignettes exploring specific issues. At about the length of a long blog post, each tells a story about a particular aspect of your impact on the non-human world. The result is a set of interesting

Overall, Ackerman seeks to lend a sense of Malcolm Gladwell-esque to re-imagine sustainability arguments. Ackerman wraps traditional environmental facts and figures into stories that capture your imagination and spark new conversations. I believe that is Ackerman’s point, to continue to advance these arguments into a new socially conscious lexicon.

The book is very effective at telling stories that harness the reader’s interest without haranguing them with environmental messages. Well written, it is easy to find yourself reading three and four stories as Ackerman draws you into a different view of the world.

Ackerman recognizes and embraces our impact on the planet as reality and recognition of the possibilities for change. In Ackerman’s view, the very forces and technologies that changed the planet can also remake those changes. Ackerman’s argument does not suggest that we must fight technology’s environmental impact with technology, but rather recognizing the essential elements of that impact to reorganize society, industry and our individual behavior.

The book is long on artistic description and lighter on actions and direction beyond calls for government action for renewable energy, green building and other often stated actions. In this regard, The Human Age refreshes rather than redefines the sustainability and climate change arguments.

I am sure that Akerman and others will brand 'Anthropocene' as a new construct in the sustainability discussion. Likewise the book is full of memes that will work their way into the lexicon like black marble or the orangutan with an iPad. The chapters come back to these meme themes repeatedly which detracts from the overall argument as it makes the reader feel like the author knows we will not understand what she is saying unless she repeats it multiple times. Kind of like the reality shows who recap the story after every commercial break.

This is a five star book for those who are already engaged and enthusiastic about environmental and sustainability issues. This book gives a new voice and new content to the discussion. For those with new interest in the issues and wanting to be engaged, the book comes off as elitist in tone, intellectual in approach that makes it distant from the people in society who are impacted most by climate change. For those people, the book is more like 3 stars, which is my final rating as all of us, not just elites, need to act to address and redress our shared world together.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Is Nature "Natural" Anymore? 31. August 2014
Von Epilady - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
"We're asking ourselves how far are we willing to engineer the world and ourselves?" - In The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us, Diane Ackerman writes about the technological innovations that are altering our lives on a daily basis. She covers topics such as chimeras (blends of human/animals), robots, artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, tablets, food production, greenhouse gases...just to touch the surface. She asks the question: is nature "natural" anymore, and what does that mean. One item she mentions, regarding robots and AI, is that any trauma they experience, they don't have the ability to forget. It's tidibts of information like that that shed a different perspective on some of the chapters.

The topics could quickly get dry but Ackerman writes fluidly, and it's an interesting read, and could stimulate some fun discussions over dinner or at a cocktail party. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is interested in technology, how technology shapes lives, holistic topics, the changing world, and people who are fans of Michael Pollan.
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