Extraction to Extinction

Rethinking our Relationship with Earth's Natural Resources

David Howe author



Published:2nd Sep '21


Available to order, but very limited on stock - if we have issues obtaining a copy, we will let you know.

Extraction to Extinction cover

Fascinating ‘big picture’ popular science from an outstanding communicator and former academic whose career spans both natural and social science; Will appeal to fans of Jared Diamond and Bill Bryson, looking at interdisciplinary topics in an accessible way; With the UK hosting COP26 this year there is increased discussion on our environmental impact.

Tracing our environmental impact through time, David Howe demonstrates how humanity’s exploitation of the Earth’s natural resources has pushed our planet to its limit and asks: what’s next for our depleted planet?

Everything we use started life in the earth, as a rock or a mineral vein, a layer of an ancient seabed, or the remains of a long-extinct volcano.

Humanity’s ability to fashion nature to its own ends is by no means a new phenomenon. Silica-rich rocks have been flint-knapped by Stone Age people, transformed into stained glass in medieval times, and made into silicon chips for computers in the Digital Age. Our trick of turning rocks rich in malachite and chalcopyrite into copper has taken us from Bronze Age Minoan vases to the wiring that powers modern-day machinery.

Today, we mine, quarry, pump, cut, blast and crush the Earth’s resources at an unprecedented rate. We shift many times more rock, soil and sediment each year than the world’s rivers and glaciers, wind and rain combined. Plastics alone now weigh twice as much as all the marine and terrestrial animals around the globe. We have become a dominant, even dangerous, force on the planet.

In EXTRACTION TO EXTINCTION, David Howe traces our environmental impact through time to unearth how our obsession with endlessly producing and throwing away more and more stuff has pushed the planet to its limit. And he considers the question: what does the future look like for our depleted world?

“A lyrical and questing narrative of how humans have used and abused natural resources down the ages … long-brewed technical knowledge combined with an easy story-teller’s acumen, fluency and wisdom.” -- Michael Leeder, Professor Emeritus at UEA Norwich and author of the recent Measures for Measure: Geology and the Industrial Revolution (Dunedin)

ISBN: 9781913393274

Dimensions: unknown

Weight: unknown

288 pages