THIS BOOK JUST MIGHT SAVE THE PLANET
“When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago. The second best time? Today.” — Chinese proverb
Twenty years ago, David Milarch, a northern Michigan nurseryman with a penchant for hard living, had a vision: angels came to tell him that the earth was in trouble. Its trees were dying, and without them, human life was in jeopardy. The solution, they told him, was to clone the champion trees of the world—the largest, the hardiest, the ones that had survived millennia and were most resilient to climate change—and create a kind of Noah’s ark of tree genetics. Without knowing if the message had any basis in science, or why he’d been chosen for this task, Milarch began his mission of cloning the world’s great trees. Many scientists and tree experts told him it couldn’t be done, but, twenty years later, his team has successfully cloned some of the world’s oldest trees—among them giant redwoods and sequoias. They have also grown seedlings from the oldest tree in the world, the bristlecone pine Methuselah.
When New York Times journalist Jim Robbins came upon Milarch’s story, he was fascinated but had his doubts. Yet over several years, listening to Milarch and talking to scientists, he came to realize that there is so much we do not yet know about trees: how they die, how they communicate, the myriad crucial ways they filter water and air and otherwise support life on Earth. It became clear that as the planet changes, trees and forest are essential to assuring its survival. The Man Who Planted Trees is both a fascinating investigation into the world of trees and the inspiring story of one man’s quest to help save the planet. This book’s hopeful message of what one man can accomplish against all odds is also a lesson about how each of us has the ability to make a difference.
Becoming Good Ancestors: How We Balance Nature, Community, and Technology - David Ehrenfeld (Author)
A brilliant writer and gifted "big picture" thinker, David Ehrenfeld is one of America's leading conservation biologists. Becoming Good Ancestors unites in a single, up-to-date framework pieces written over two decades, spanning politics, ecology, and culture, and illuminating the forces in modern society that thwart our efforts to solve today's hard questions about society and the environment.
The book focuses on our present-day retreat from reality, our alienation from nature, our unthinking acceptance of new technology and rejection of the old, the loss of our ability to discriminate between events we can control and those we cannot, the denial of non-economic values, and the decline of local communities. If we are aware of what we are losing and why we are losing it, the author notes, all of these patterns are reversible. Through down-to-earth examples, ranging from a family canoe trip in the wilderness to the novels of Jane Austen to Chinese turtle and tiger farms, Ehrenfeld shows how we can use what we learn to move ourselves and our society towards a more stable, less frantic, and far more satisfying life, a life in which we are no longer compelled to damage ourselves and our environment, in which our children have a future, and in which fewer species are endangered and more rivers run clean. In the final chapter, he offers a dramatic view of the possibilities inherent in a fusion of the best elements of conservatism and liberalism. Our society has an inherent sense of what is right, says Ehrenfeld, and the creativity and persistence to make good things happen. It is now time to apply our intelligence, guided by our moral judgment, to the very large problems we all face. This book is an important first step.