Tuesday, May 06, 2014

E.O. Wilson On Humanity, Survival, and Nature - His New Book about Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique

From NPR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning biologist and proponent of sociobiology, E.O. Wilson was this week's guest on the show. Wilson discusses his new book, A Window On Eternity: A Biologist’s Walk Through Gorongosa National Park. The images available of Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique that are available in Google Images are stunning - this is certainly one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

This is the publisher's ad copy for the book:
A Window on Eternity is a stunning book of splendid prose and gorgeous photography about one of the biologically richest places in Africa and perhaps in the world. Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique was nearly destroyed in a brutal civil war, then was reborn and is now evolving back to its original state. Edward O. Wilson’s personal, luminous description of the wonders of Gorongosa is beautifully complemented by Piotr Naskrecki’s extraordinary photographs of the park’s exquisite natural beauty. A bonus DVD of Academy Award–winning director Jessica Yu’s documentary, The Guide, is also included with the book. 
Wilson takes readers to the summit of Mount Gorongosa, sacred to the local people and the park’s vital watershed. From the forests of the mountain he brings us to the deep gorges on the edge of the Rift Valley, previously unexplored by biologists, to search for new species and assess their ancient origins. He describes amazing animal encounters from huge colonies of agricultural termites to spe­cialized raider ants that feed on them to giant spi­ders, a battle between an eagle and a black mamba, “conversations” with traumatized elephants that survived the slaughter of the park’s large animals, and more. He pleads for Gorongosa—and other wild places—to be allowed to exist and evolve in its time­less way uninterrupted into the future. 
As he examines the near destruction and rebirth of Gorongosa, Wilson analyzes the balance of nature, which, he observes, teeters on a razor’s edge. Loss of even a single species can have serious ramifications throughout an ecosystem, and yet we are carelessly destroying complex biodiverse ecosystems with unknown consequences. The wildlands in which these ecosystems flourish gave birth to humanity, and it is this natural world, still evolving, that may outlast us and become our leg­acy, our window on eternity.
Great conversation with an always entertaining and thoughtful man. There is also an excerpt from the book and links to a few articles/excerpts published in other magazines (The Atlantic, Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal).

E.O. Wilson On Humanity, Survival, and Nature

Famed biologist E.O. Wilson says the way to save mankind is for the Age of Man to come to a close with a new respect for the rest of life. He joins us.

May 5, 2014
With guest host Jessica Yellin.

A giant spider in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park. (Piotr Naskrecki)

Imagine wandering into a house overrun with fang-toothed spiders. Riding a helicopter deep into an unexplored gorge of granite and limestone to find new species. World-famous naturalist and biologist E.O. Wilson did all that — in his 80s. In one of Africa’s most biologically diverse nature preserves in Mozambique. And he says the wilfife there has powerful lessons for us humans. This hour, On Point, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning biologist E.O. Wilson on what he learned about mankind in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park.


E.O. Wilson, biologist, researcher and naturalist. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Author of many books, including the new A Window On Eternity: A Biologist’s Walk Through Gorongosa National Park.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic: E. O. Wilson’s Theory of Everything — “If one had to give E. O. Wilson a single label, evolutionary biologist would be as good as any. Sociobiologist, lifelong naturalist, prolific author, committed educator, and high-profile public intellectual might all also serve. But amidst his astonishing range and volume of intellectual output, Wilson’s reputation, and most of his big ideas, have been founded primarily on his study of ants, most famously his discoveries involving ant communication and the social organization of ant communities. ”

Christian Science Monitor: A Window on Eternity — “Wilson tells the story of Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, which boasts one of the densest wildlife populations in Africa. During a civil war that lasted from 1978 to 1992, much of the park ecosystem was destroyed, and its future seemed bleak. Some animal populations within the park declined by 90 percent or more. But then a wealthy American entrepreneur, Gregory C. Carr, launched an audacious effort to bring the park back to life. Slowly, the park is returning to its original state.”

The Wall Street Journal: E.O. Wilson Tells It Like It Is — “Dr. Wilson has a boy’s enthusiasm, and he revels in discovering new species at Gorongosa. But as the power of science and technology grows exponentially, he worries that people are giving up on preserving nature. Many seem to have resigned themselves to the idea that ‘we’ve already overrun the world,’ he says.”

Read An Excerpt Of “A Window On Eternity” By E.O. Wilson

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