The Illustrated Atlas of Wildlife

When Jasmin wrote her post No Kidding, One in Three Children Fear Earth Apocalypse, over two hundred commenters accused environmentalists of "scaring kids with doom and gloom stories in the classroom, on the TV, and afterschool programs."

But in fact, kids are naturally sensitive to the plight of wildlife and nature and can't get enough of the subject, whether apocalyptic or not. Any trip to a museum or review of a good book on nature will teach them that many species have or are going extinct, whatever the cause. It has nothing to do with brainwashing and indoctrination, it is reality that goes back a lot further than the dinosaurs.

No matter what your politics, anyone who looks at the new Illustrated Atlas of Wildlife will come away as a bit of an environmentalist.
scan of just a portion of a page

The internet is a great thing, but somehow putting it all together between the covers of a well-designed and comprehensive book is more effective. It can take you places that you didn't know you wanted to go. This big and beautiful atlas is affordable at forty bucks, but packs in 288 pages of colour, maps and tables and takes you everywhere. It is divided up into eight geographic areas with a definite Cute Overload factor.

But it also explores the impact of humans on complex ecosystems, showing how through habitat loss, excessive hunting, toxins and yes, even climate change, we are losing them.

Any comprehensive look at life on this planet is going to show both the wonder of it and the damage that is being done to it from whatever cause. Everyone should be concerned about the fate of mountain gorillas, Mediterranean monk seals, desert frogs and amphibians everywhere-this has nothing to do with politics. After spending a few hours with the Illustrated Atlas of Wildlife, it is hard to imagine anyone being anything but an environmentalist.

More at the University of California Press

About the authors:

Dr. Channa Bambaradeniya is the Coordinator of the Asia Regional Species and Biodiversity Programme at the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Cinthya Flores is an international social communications consultant and journalist. Dr. Joshua Ginsberg is Vice President for Global Programs at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Dwight Holing is the author of many books on rain forests, coral reefs, and wilderness in Europe and western America. Dr. Susan Lumpkin is a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoological Parks. George McKay chairs the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council, Australia. Dr. John Musick is Marshall Acuff Professor Emeritus in Marine Science at the College of William and Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Dr. Patrick Quilty is Honorary Research Professor in Earth Sciences at the University of Tasmania. Dr. Bernard Stonehouse is an environmental biologist with the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, and the Maritime Historical Studies Centre, University of Hull. Dr. Eric John Woehler is an expert on antarctic and subantarctic birds. Dr. David Woodruff is Professor of Biology at the University of California, San Diego.

Tags: Animals | Books | Education

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