Second nature Scenes from a world remade

Nathaniel Rich, 1980-

Book - 2021

"From the author of Losing Earth, a deeply reported and beautifully told exploration of how we live in a post-natural world"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : MCD / Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2021.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
288 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780374106034
0374106037
Main Author
Nathaniel Rich, 1980- (author)
  • Introduction: Strange victory
  • Crime scene. Dark waters ; The wasting ; Here come the warm jets
  • Season of disbelief. Frankenstein in the lower ninth ; Chickens without their heads cut off ; Aspen saves the world
  • As gods. Pigeon apocalypse. Bayou bonjour: Oil and water is the fabric of your town; Barataria; The forest machine ; The immortal jellyfish ; Green rabbit.
Review by Booklist Reviews

In his new book Rich (Losing Earth, 2019) updates articles previously published in such venues as the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Vice, and the New Republic to create a collective reflection on the romantic ideal of the "natural world." Rich's argument—bolstered by forays into such topics such as DuPont's chemical contamination of West Virginia waters (see Robert Bilott's Exposure, 2019), the 2015 SoCalGas natural gas leak near Los Angeles, and efforts to re-engineer Louisiana's coastline—is that nature has been so extensively tampered with by man that there is no "returning" it to a long gone, sublime, original state. Rich sees the present era as one of "terrible responsibility," and the stories he collects here of scientists, lawyers, community organizers, and "average people" at the center of so many storms are composed to evoke concern while also presenting the ethical questions at the heart of our complex, in-flux times. Nature is still with us, Rich asserts, it just doesn't look like what we remember or even ever knew. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

In his new book Rich (Losing Earth, 2019) updates articles previously published in such venues as the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Vice, and the New Republic to create a collective reflection on the romantic ideal of the "natural world." Rich's argument—bolstered by forays into such topics such as DuPont's chemical contamination of West Virginia waters (see Robert Bilott's Exposure, 2019), the 2015 SoCalGas natural gas leak near Los Angeles, and efforts to re-engineer Louisiana's coastline—is that nature has been so extensively tampered with by man that there is no "returning" it to a long gone, sublime, original state. Rich sees the present era as one of "terrible responsibility," and the stories he collects here of scientists, lawyers, community organizers, and "average people" at the center of so many storms are composed to evoke concern while also presenting the ethical questions at the heart of our complex, in-flux times. Nature is still with us, Rich asserts, it just doesn't look like what we remember or even ever knew. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Humans have irrevocably altered nature, warns New York Times Magazine writer-at-large Rich (Losing Earth) in this vividly reported survey. The challenge now, he writes, is to harness those changes and conserve the parts of nature that are "beautiful and free and sacred, those that we want to carry with us into the future." Rich tells the story of Robert Bilott, a lawyer who defended chemical companies until he took the case of a cattle farmer whose herd was dying because of pollution runoff from a DuPont landfill; Nate Park, whose work creating plant-based meat is a source of pride and bafflement for his butcher father; and Shin Kubota, a Japanese scientist who believes a jellyfish called Turritopsis, about which he writes rhapsodic songs, holds the key to immortality. These profiles highlight "people who ask difficult questions about what it means to live in an era of terrible responsibility" as humans' impact on the natural world evolves. Rich suggests, "It is impossible to protect all that we mean by ‘natural' against the ravages of climate change, pollution, and psychopathic corporate greed, unless we understand that the nature we fear losing is our own." Frightening but with an undercurrent of humor, Rich's study is packed with moving insight. Agent: Elyse Cheney, the Cheney Agency. (Apr.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The author of Losing Earth presents a deeply reported exploration of the post-natural world that examines humanity’s interference in nearly every essential ecosystem while considering our responsibility for urgently needed next steps. 50,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"From the author of Losing Earth, a deeply reported and beautifully told exploration of how we live in a post-natural world"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

From the author of Losing Earth, a beautifully told exploration of our post-natural world that points the way to a new mode of ecological writing.We live at a time in which scientists race to reanimate extinct beasts, our most essential ecosystems require monumental engineering projects to survive, chicken breasts grow in test tubes, and multinational corporations conspire to poison the blood of every living creature. No rock, leaf, or cubic foot of air on Earth has escaped humanity's clumsy signature. The old distinctions—between natural and artificial, dystopia and utopia, science fiction and science fact—have blurred, losing all meaning. We inhabit an uncanny landscape of our own creation. In Second Nature, ordinary people make desperate efforts to preserve their humanity in a world that seems increasingly alien. Their stories—obsessive, intimate, and deeply reported—point the way to a new kind of environmental literature, in which dramatic narrative helps us to understand our place in a reality that resembles nothing human beings have known.From Odds Against Tomorrow to Losing Earth to the film Dark Waters (adapted from the first chapter of this book), Nathaniel Rich’s stories have come to define the way we think of contemporary ecological narrative. In Second Nature, he asks what it means to live in an era of terrible responsibility. The question is no longer, How do we return to the world that we’ve lost?It is, What world do we want to create in its place?

Review by Publisher Summary 4

From the author of Losing Earth, a beautifully told exploration of our post-natural world that points the way to a new mode of ecological writing.