Eugene Linden
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Time Warp on Climate Change

 

In yesterday's New York Times, there were two articles on climate change. The first was a front page piece about how President Obama will try to end-run Congressional paralysis on dealing with climate change by seeking to update the existing Kyoto treaty in ways that comm...
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The Ragged Edge of the World
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Winds of Change
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Afterword to the softbound edition.


The Octopus and the Orangutan
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The Future In Plain Sight
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The Parrot's Lament
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Silent Partners
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Affluence and Discontent
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The Alms Race
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Apes, Men, & Language
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TheOctopusandtheOrangutan

Buy The Octopus and the Orangutan at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, or BookSense. THE OCTOPUS AND THE ORANGUTAN From the publisher's press release: Award-winning writer Eugene Linden returns to the animal kingdom in this eagerly-awaited follow-up to The Parrot's Lament. In The Octopus and the Orangutan, Eugene Linden takes readers on another unforgettable journey into the minds and hearts of animals. The Parrot's Lament, his acclaimed previous book, explored the animal intelligence revealed as different creatures negotiated with, fooled, and teased zookeepers, trainers, and each other. Now, in a wide-ranging collection of real-life anecdotes that offer further compelling evidence of animals' higher mental capabilities and their awareness of the needs and feelings of others, Linden goes beyond these everyday encounters and takes us deeper into their minds through this new window on intelligence. The Octopus and the Orangutan finds intelligent behavior in surprising new places, ranging from the octopus' garden to the crow's nest. Amazing feats of stealth, deception, and larceny are balanced with unexpected acts of kindness and friendship. Animals show they are cagey bargainers and tough negotiators both with their human keepers and with one another. And, for the first time, we observe an astonishing new behavior previously thought to be exclusively human. The animals themselves are our guides in this fresh look at the question of animal intelligence. From the beloved pets we think we know to the remarkable creatures in the wild, Eugene Linden once again shares his wonder and joy at the infinite variety of animal behavior that continues to inform, amaze, and touch us all. The author will donate a portion of his royalties to the Humane Society of the United States and to Traffic, a branch of the World Wildlife Fund dedicated to stopping the trade in endangered species. Eugene Linden is an award-winning journalist and the author of The Parrot's Lament, The Future in Plain Sight, Silent Partners, and other books on animals and the environment. He has consulted for the U.S. State Department, the UN Development Program, and he is a widely traveled speaker and lecturer. In 2001, Yale University named Linden a Poynter Fellow in recognition of his writing on the environment. He lives in Nyack, New York. Buy The Octopus and the Orangutan at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, or BookSense.

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Short Take

When Richard Nixon resigned forty years ago I was in Lesotho, a tiny, mountainous, eroded and overpopulated Kingdom that is entirely surrounded by South Africa. The project that brought me to Lesotho was my book, The Alms Race, which tried to answer the question of why attempts to help the developing world continually repeated the mistakes of the past [the answer is that many of the projects that were abject failures from the recipients point of view actually were successes in terms of the donor's objectives]. I was interviewing a couple of officials from the Ministry of Education when the news came through that Nixon had resigned. The bureaucrats were in the process of trying to devise a curriculum that would convey to bright-eyed students that Lesotho had a rational system of government, when in fact, at that time, the country was ruled by a strongman.

At one point the delicate question came up of how to discuss the fact that the Prime Minister, Chief Leabua Jonathan, had suspended the constitution a few years earlier and that nothing had replaced it. One of the officials, a glib, rising star in the Ministry, had a ready answer. Alluding to Nixon's misdeeds he said that the needs of a developing country are somewhat different than those of Great Britain or the United States, and that there were countries with law that were lawless, like the United States, and there were countries without constitutions that we're law abiding, e.g. Lesotho.

At this, another official, a decent, educated man, had had enough. Risking his career, he said, "Didn't Watergate show that the United States is not a lawless country, and, in fact, didn't Watergate show the strengths of a constitutional system?" I felt like applauding.

One other note on Nixon. If someone had told me back then that Richard Nixon would be our greatest President in terms of pushing through  environmental legislation protecting air, water and endangered species I would have laughed outright. Nor would I have believed it, if someone had predicted that no environmental law passed during the subsequent 40 years would be anywhere near as significant as the landmark acts of Nixon's administration. But it's true, and it's worth reflecting on what it means that this legislation, that materially changed the face of America for the better, came from a most unlikely champion.



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