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Elizabeth Kolbert / The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
Hillside Club
2286 Cedar Street
Berkeley CA 94709

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five major mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. And this time around, the cataclysm is us. With her uniquely engaging prose, New Yorker staff writer and author of Field Notes From A Catastrophe, Elizabeth Kolbert offers a startling look at the mass extinction currently unfolding before our eyes in THE SIXTH EXTINCTION.

"The sixth mass extinction is the biggest story on Earth, period, and Elizabeth Kolbert tells it with imagination, rigor, deep reporting, and a capacious curiosity about all the wondrous creatures and ecosystems that exist, or have existed, on our planet. The result is an important book full of love and loss." -- David Quammen, author of The Song of the Dodo and Spillover

Blending intellectual and natural history with field reporting, Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study ancient oceans, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef, and more. Kolbert also introduces us to a dozen fascinating species -- some already gone, others facing extinction -- including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides an eye-opening account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy, urging us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human and compelling us to consider the future of life on Earth.

This evening's program includes a visual presentation. If you read the New Yorker, you're familiar with Kolbert's stunning journalism. Don't miss this opportunity to meet, hear, and talk with this most socially responsible reporter.

Berkeley Arts & Letters at the Hillside Club (2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley)

Tickets $35 (one seat, one book), $45 (two seats, one book), at Brown Paper Tickets in advance; $20 at the door if space available
Added to the calendar on Mon, Jan 27, 2014 1:17PM
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