Energy in Nature and Society is a systematic and exhaustive analysis of all the major energy sources, storages, flows, and conversions that have shaped the evolution of the biosphere and civilization. Vaclav Smil uses fundamental unifying metrics (most notably for power density and energy intensity) to provide an integrated framework for analyzing all segments of energetics (the study of energy flows and their transformations).
Food is essential to our sense of place and our sense of self, but today—as fast food nation meets the slow food movement and eating locally collides with on-demand arugula—our food habits are shifting. Food examines and imagines these changes, with projects by writers and artists that explore the cultural and emotional resonance of food, from the "everyday Dada" of mashed potatoes and Jell-O to the rocket science of food eaten by astronauts in space.
In Frontiers, Michael Redclift examines the relationship between nature and society in frontier areas—contested zones in which rival versions of civil society vie with one another, often over the definition and management of nature itself.
The island of Borneo is a place of great natural beauty and rich biodiversity. From the peaks of the majestic Mount Kinabalu to the enchanting coral-fringed islands that lie offshore, with vast tracts of lush rainforest in between, Borneo's landscape is as varied as it is magnificent. In Wild Borneo, author Nick Garbutt embarks upon a fascinating investigation into the wonders of this island, exploring every aspect of Borneo's terrain, from its rainforest-covered lowland areas to its mountain ranges, highland areas, and winding rivers.
The early modern genre of historia connected the study of nature and the study of culture from the early Renaissance to the eighteenth century. The ubiquity of historia as a descriptive method across a variety of disciplines—including natural history, medicine, antiquarianism, and philology—indicates how closely intertwined these scholarly pursuits were in the early modern period.
Seen from space, the earth is blue. That luminous blueness is water—the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Antarctic oceans. Seventy percent of what we call "earth" is under water. Life began in the ocean, and the ocean still plays a vital role in our lives and the earth's ecosystem. More than half the world's population lives within a few miles of the sea; we're drawn to it to swim, surf, sail, or simply gaze out across the waves.
Amidst city concrete and suburban sprawl, Americans are discovering new ways to reconnect with the natural world. From community gardens in New York's Lower East Side to homeless shelters in California, the search for a more sustainable future has led grassroots groups to a profound reconnection to place and to the natural world.
Trees capture our imagination because they are rooted solidly in the earth but point ethereally toward the sky. They occupy a dimension that has as much to do with time and patience as with place and landscape. They are vertical beings to whom we attribute qualities both divine and human. Since 1991, photographer Barbara Bosworth has been on a quest to photograph America's "champion" trees—trees that are the biggest of their species, as recorded in the National Register of Big Trees, a list established and maintained by the nonprofit conservation organization American Forests.
Throughout much of human history, changes to forest ecosystems have come about through natural climatic changes occurring over long periods of time. But scientists now find changes in forest cover dramatically accelerated by such human activities as large-scale agriculture, the building of dams and roads, and the growth of cities with vast areas of asphalt. Changes that once took centuries now take only decades. Seeing the Forest and the Trees examines changes in land cover and land use in forested regions as major contributors to global environmental change.
Whales, dolphins, and porpoises have fascinated humankind for centuries. Amazingly diverse, they have evolved specializations that allow them, despite being air-breathing mammals, to exploit habitats ranging from surface waters to ocean depths. Whales and Dolphins of the World is a celebration of the variety (more than 80 species), behavior, and natural history of these remarkable animals.