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The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  90 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In humanity’s more than 100,000 year history, we have evolved from vulnerable creatures clawing sustenance from Earth to a sophisticated global society manipulating every inch of it. In short, we have become the dominant animal. Why, then, are we creating a world that threatens our own species? What can we do to change the current trajectory toward more climate change, inc ...more
Hardcover, 440 pages
Published June 30th 2008 by Island Press
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Heidi Lovett
Aug 07, 2008 Heidi Lovett marked it as to-read

What the World Is Coming To

By Michael Ruse, co-editor of the forthcoming "Evolution: The First Four Billion Years"
Thursday, August 7, 2008; C02


Human Evolution and the Environment

By Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich

Island Press/Shearwater. 428 pp. $35

Canadians joke that, given their vile winters, they are the only people in the world who welcome global warming. But some things are too serious for humor. The world is in a crisis because of rising t
Richard Reese
Paul and Anne Ehrlich are respected thinkers in the modern environmental movement. Paul achieved infamy in 1968, following the publication of his book, The Population Bomb. It made dire predictions, warning of mass starvation in the 1970s and 1980s, and won him the intense and enduring hatred of every fiend suffering from a loony obsession with perpetual growth.

The predictions probably would have come true, but Ehrlich’s timing could not possibly have been more unlucky. He was blindsided by the
Very broad and diverse topics covered, from the evolution of life and the human family tree, to the subsequent rapid development of society leading to the all too familiar resultant mess we made of the world especially since the 2nd half of 20th C. While useful as a basic introduction to environmental science, I am surprised it barely addressed what I believe is THE crux of all our ecological woes - namely the overarching goal and culture of growing material consumption, and how to address it.
Martin Lesser
Im in the midst of reading the Ehrlich's book and finding it quite stimulating. It is intersting to compare with some of the books of Steven Pinker, especially the "Blank Slate". It appears that there is some disagreement on the subject of heredity. Pinker argues that much of our behavior is determined and pretty much convinced me of this in his book. On the other hand the Ehrlichs make a very interesting case for culture overcoming heredity. Their argument is based on the amount of information ...more
Oct 11, 2010 Kirsten rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People wanting an introduction to current environmental topics
I think this book would make an excellent freshman colloquium book. It didn't really go into detail about any one topic, but I think the book did a great job introducing a lot of very important concepts that sometimes get glossed over or skipped. The authors also did a good job connecting everything together. It was a book I didn't struggle to finish, and it was broken up nicely. It also references a lot of other really good books that go into much greater detail about given topics, so for peopl ...more
A really good summary of the overall environmental problems that are threatening the planet. Our loss of natural capital and ecosystem services are a vague idea to most, but this book puts them in perspective. By writing in mostly "plain-language" while also using the most current science, it should be accessible to most of the general public. I would recommend to anyone who wants a scientific perspective on the role a habitable Earth plays in our species future (hint: its a big one).

My only det
William Boyle
Do you need to read this book? - Yes, you do!
this book covers a lot of ground and is a great read for people just getting into environmental issues. there is good coverage of biological concepts that are essential for understanding our enviro dilemmas. for people who have already read a lot in this realm, this book might seem a bit repetitive. overall, though, they (the ehrlichs) make some great points and have compiled a lot of thorough research.
An overarching look at humans and our impact on the planet. This book covered many different subjects relating to human dominance. I wished that the authors had just picked two or three themes and explored them more in depth.
Great information on how genetic and cultural evolution has gotten us to where we are and some of the consequences of where we are. However it was a little 'text bookish' for me.
This reminded me of a Seth Godin book. It's too broad, lacks depth and you walk away wondering if you really learned anything. Some of the factoids are mildly interesting though.
Stephanie Estrada
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Paul Ralph Ehrlich is an American biologist and educator who is the Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and president of Stanford's Center for Conservation Biology. By training he is an entomologist specializing in Lepidoptera (butterflies), but he is better known as an ecologist and a demographer, specifically for his warnings about ...more
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