Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature is Thriving in an Age of Extinction
It is accepted wisdom today that human beings have irrevocably damaged the natural world. We have altered our climate, acidified our oceans, and we are in the process of causing the sixth mass extinction. Yet what if this gloomy narrative obscures a more hopeful truth? In Inheritors of the Earth, renowned ecologist and environmentalist Chris D. Thomas overturns this loss-only view of the world's biodiversity, revealing how many animals and plants have benefited from the human-altered planet. Our actions have even raised the rate at which new species are formed to possibly the highest level in our planet's history. From Costa Rican tropical forests to Pacific archipelagos to the thoroughly transformed British landscape, nature is coping surprisingly well in the human era. In Inheritors of the Earth, Thomas takes us on a round-the-world journey to meet the enterprising animals and plants that are thriving in the Anthropocene, from York's ochrecoloured comma butterfly to hybrid American bison and the scarlet-beaked New Zealand pukeko. In so doing, he questions why we resist the success of so-called 'invasive species', and why we see human activities as fundamentally unnatural. Combining a naturalist's eye for wildlife with an ecologist's wide lens, Chris Thomas forces us to re-examine humanity's relationship with nature, and reminds us that the story of life is the story of change.
Chris D. Thomas is an ecologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of York and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He has received the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London, the President's Medal of the British Ecological Society, the Marsh Award for Conservation Biology, and the Marsh Award for Climate Change Research. This is his first book. ______________________________________________________________________