Swimming Lessons: Keeping Afloat in the Age of Technology

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Oxford University Press, 2002 - Nature - 249 pages
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Never in history has life been so complicated and full of sudden changes. Technology, the environment, and the way we work and relate to one another are all in upheaval. With wit, humor, a calm voice, and great authority, Swimming Lessons gives a clear view of what our world has become - not just our successes, but also the destruction set loose by our own genius and inventions. In addition, it offers practical, non-utopian suggestions for keeping afloat in the dangerous waters of the 21st century's globalized civilization.
Whether it is describing a comical brainstorming session in a Washington boardroom or a close encounter with an Alaskan grizzly and her cubs, Swimming Lessons is a delight to read. Trained in history, medicine, and zoology, David Ehrenfeld brings a grand perspective to his challenging task. He writes not just as a scientist, but as one who values and understands the social sciences and humanities as well. In the first half of Swimming Lessons, we learn to recognize the lies we live: about education, new military weapons systems, biotechnology, electronic pseudocommunities, and accelerated obsolescence. We also learn about the deadly corporate economics that affect every aspect of our lives, even environmental conservation. The second half reveals the pitfalls and opportunities in the main tasks we face: relating to nature in a manmade world and restoring our damaged communities.
 

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Contents

Nothing Simple
17
Rejecting Gifts
31
Pseudocommunities
44
Deadly Economics
65
Spending Our Capital
76
The Gingko and the Stump
102
Relating to Nature in a Manmade World
115
Scientific Discoveries and Natures Mysteries
130
Teaching Field Ecology
147
Degrees of Intimacy
161
Traditions
176
An Invalids Guide
194
Bibliography and Suggested Readings
211
Index
233
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About the author (2002)

David Ehrenfeld is at Rutgers University.

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