Scatter, Adapt, Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction

Annalee Newitz. Doubleday, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-53591-5
"Earth has been many different planets with dramatically different climates and ecosystems," says Newitz, journalist and founding editor of io9.com. Finding a common ground between climate change arguments Newitz found a thread of hope while researching mass extinctions: that life has survived at least six such events thus far. Without addressing the cause of the current shift, she cites data that indicates we may already be in the midst of another period of mass extinction. Guiding readers through the science of previous mass extinctions, Newitz summarizes the characteristics that enabled species to survive: variable diet and habitat, and ability to learn from the past. "The urge to survive, not just as individuals but as a society and an ecosystem, is built into us as deeply as greed and cynicism are." She reviews theories of how Homo sapiens survived while Neanderthals did not, discusses how science may one day enable a disaster-proof city, and advocates geoengineering and research for eventual moves to other planets. "We'll strike out into space.... And eventually we'll evolve into beings suited to our new habitats among the stars." Newitz voice is fervent and earnest, and despite her gloomy topic, she leaves readers with hope for a long future. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/13/2013
Release date: 05/14/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 328 pages - 978-0-14-318288-7
Paperback - 305 pages - 978-0-307-94942-4
Ebook - 259 pages - 978-0-385-53592-2
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-86395-603-1
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-7-5478-2256-2
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-670-06649-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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