Eugene Linden
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Lastest Musing
The Pope Moves the Church

[This essay appeared in the Financial Times on July 3, 2015]
  Free market conservatives hate it, it fails to address the threat of overpopulation, and it dismisses carbon credits as a way to combat global warming. Nonetheless Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si&...

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The Ragged Edge of the World
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endangered animals
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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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Silent Partners
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Affluence and Discontent
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 the ragged edge of the worldThe Ragged Edge of the World

 
A species nearing extinction, a tribe losing the last traces of an accumulation of centuries of knowledge,  a tract of forest virtually untouched since prehistoric times facing the first incursions of humansóhow can we begin to assess the cost of the increasing disappearance of so much of our natural and cultural legacy? While these losses occasionally garner headlines, the pressures on earthís remaining wildlands and tribal peoples are unremitting and mounting.
 
For forty years Eugene Linden has explored environmental issues in a series of critically acclaimed books and in articles for publications ranging from National Geographic and Time to Foreign Affairs. His diverse assignments have frequently taken him to the very sites where tradition, wildlands and the various forces of modernity collide. In The Ragged Edge of the World, he recounts his adventures at this volatile frontier, where he has witnessed the dramatic transformations that follow in the wake of money, development and ideas as they make their way into the worldís last wild places.
 
Linden tells this story through encounters at this movable frontier. He takes us from Vietnam where exciting new species are being discovered near the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail to New Guinea and Borneo; from pygmy forests to Machu Picchu; from the Antarctic, where the entire ecosystem is changing, to the Ndoki, long celebrated as the most pristine rainforest in the Congo, which, even though it now has protection, suffers impacts from the outside world as dust, a portent of an ominous drying, blows in from the north. Even in the face of so much harm, however, many efforts at preservation have succeeded, and Linden charts the pioneering projects the protection of Midway Atollís vast albatross colony and Cubaís vigilant guardianship of its spectacularly beautiful landscape.
 
An elegy for what has been lost and a celebration of those cultures resilient enough to maintain their vibrancy and integrity, The Ragged Edge of the World captures the world at a turning point with a compelling immediacy that brings alive the people, animals and landscapes on the front lines, as change continues its remorseless march.

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Short Take

Some years ago the great biologist E.O. Wilson said that humanity was the first species to become a geophysical force. Indeed, we've become so consequential a presence on the planet that we now have to watch what we think lest our superstitions, fashions, or fads lead to the extinction of one of our fellow species. The belief in the oil rich Middle East that rhino horn enhances virility has driven the white rhino to the brink of extinction; Asian superstitions about the powers of tiger parts have contributed to a plunge in their numbers throughout Asia; a tast for blue fin tuna in sushi emporiums around the world has stripped the oceans of the giant fish; the prestige and comfort of a shatoosh shawl has led to slaughter of Tibetan Chiru.

Not a moment too soon, Pope Francis' encyclical recognizes the connection between what goes on in our heads and the fate of the earth. 



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