Wildlife in the Balance

Why Animals are Humanity's Best Hope

Wildlife in the Balance
Simon Mustoe
NZ$ 52.00
Our Price:
NZ$ 41.60
Not defined - 345pg
11 Oct 2022 AU
Out Of Stock
Currently no stock in-store, stock is sourced to your order
Why do you think animals exist? What purpose do they serve and why do we need them? Wildlife in the Balance is the untold story of how animals are essential for a habitable planet. Earth' s function only starts to make sense when you realise that humans are another animal and wildlife conservation is the missing link in ecosystem stability. Today, we' re deforesting primary wildlife-rich ecosystems faster than ever, and they are being replaced with regrowth and empty vegetation. But without wildlife, the science simply doesn' t add-up - we just haven' t worked this out yet. Wildlife in the Balance offers a new perspective, a sly glance from the side, an initial dose of cynicism and preparation to rethink what you may have learnt about concepts like natural selection, evolution, ecosystems and conservation. Things don' t quite work like you were taught at school or led to believe by decades of popular science. Immutable laws of nature would see Earth descend into chaos, unfit for human life, if it weren' t for the world' s colourful and abundant wildlife. Animals turn nature' s infinite power back on itself. It' s the sheer magnitude of animal impact, the interminable amplification, concentration and transfer of energy and nutrients at every scale, that makes our lives possible. All animals - humans included - constantly dig, break things, construct and recycle. Successful animals communicate with each other to avoid competition, creating harmony between animals and maximising the efficiency of planet-stabilising work. When we take a fresh look at the origin of our own species, we realise this is the reason behind our rise as one of the latest and most successful animals. It' s why we must learn from our ancient ancestors and Indigenous relatives. The impact of all animals working together adds up to the services we need to exist on Earth, but we still need a system to network with each other. This is where culture and intelligence comes in. It relates directly to our food security, disease resilience and even our climate. Wildlife protects us from the solar system' s violent attacks, cushions us from the storms, gives us air to breathe and stocks Earth' s pantry with food to eat. We have eroded these systems and failed to value them to our peril. We may have just a few generations left before the next mass extinction, and that gives us mere decades to do something about it. But protecting animals is a simple, achievable and rewarding objective we can all get behind to secure our fragile existence on Earth. Conservation can solve most of the world' s problems. As we enter a new phase of human existence, one of self-preservation, saving animals is the only thing that will work, because only animals can rebuild the complex life-supporting ecosystems we need. To restore humanity and create a new path for human survival means giving animals room to recolonise and sharing our planet with them. This means inspiring a global change in human values to wildlife, one in which we treat animals equally, because all animals have an equal role to play in each other' s future. Animals aren' t commodities; they are the sole mechanism that delivers human life support. Even conservation can' t thrive until everyone learns this. The critical importance of wildlife for a habitable planet is perhaps the greatest untold story of our generation. And their extinction will become the greatest challenge we face, even greater than climate change.
You know how when looking at an optical illusion, you can look and look and then suddenly, with the same visual input, you see it - or when you are shown a camouflaged gecko on bark and see only bark until you notice the eye, then suddenly it becomes clear and you wonder why you couldnt see it before? Reading Wildlife in the Balance is like seeing one gecko after another as patterns of life fall into place. Not only is it a readable romp through diverse areas of natural history, physics and philosophy, it strings together theories and facts with a rare clarity. The reader emerges with an understanding of nature and the forces that shape the biosphere, our only home, and how we are a part of it and dependent on it. Conservation of animals cannot just be about preventing extinction - our future depends on wild animals thriving, not just surviving, eventually recovering in number to provide the ecosystem services on which we depend. Wildlife in the Balance is perhaps the most important book of our time. - Ian Redmond OBEI have spent every day as an adult in the company of animals, from shy echidnas to raucous parrots: they are our culture if only you look. We can' t exist without wildlife and the time has come to make sure, WITHOUT FAIL, we don' t lose them. This book shows how it can be done. - Robyn Williams AO, ABC Science Show Visionary, insightful, and full of original observations, ' Wildlife in the Balance' provides an accessible and utterly compelling overview of the importance of animals in the functioning of the living world, the fight against climate breakdown and, ultimately, our own survival. I' ve been a conservation scientist for 25 years but still learnt enormously from almost every page, and the book has helped me see nature in new ways. This is a hugely important book, and the more widely it is read the better our futures will be! - Dr Charlie Gardner, Associate Senior Lecturer, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (University of Kent)This delightfully evocative yet sobering book is the strongest of clarion calls as to why, with the utmost urgency, we must nourish nature and change our destructive ways. For our very lives, and that of our sustaining planet, depends on we humans nourishing diversity. This book is a rich primer and wondrous feast of information and conceptual clarity that will help people fall in love with nature. - Dr. Charles Massy best-selling author, Call of the Reed-Warbler' Ranging in scope from single units of energy to planetary-scale ecosystem processes, never dry, never less than enthusiastic, fizzing with original ideas, packed with references, full of Now I get it! moments, ' Wildlife in the Balance' pulls together thousands of threads into a dizzying but utterly coherent narrative that explains in terms even the most ardent industrialist will understand how animals are critical - not just to their own survival, but to our survival too. From Blue Whales to termites, from seabird colonies to aerial plankton, wild animals of all sizes and complexity have shaped and created the world we live in, a world we evolved into, and a world we are systematically dismantling. Can we put things right? Not on our own and not without animals, and perhaps counter-intuitively the author suggests the solutions lie in NOT doing something. Hes right, but you really need to read this deeply-thoughtful book to understand why. Actually, if you want to understand why wildlife matters and has more impact in more ways than youve ever thought possible, you really need to read this book full-stop. - Charlie Moores, Unleashed Podcast A single life is finite and mortal. But, Life, as such, continues exactly because the many lives do not and cannot just live for themselves. As Mustoe clearly explains, humans cannot live without wild-life, for we are all subject to the same universal laws of dynamic interdependence and needing each other to survive . . . isnt this true joy de vivre? ! - Professor Richard Banati, University of SydneyThis book makes it clear that we have to value and respect the role of animals in creating a habitable planet. - Leif Cocks, The Orangutan FoundationThis is an important book to read and, more critically, respond to and act upon. At Plantlife International we strive for a world rich in plants and fungi, but we know this cannot happen without a world rich in wildlife. This richness needs to be both in diversity and abundance - and there is no doubt that securing this for the future is in the balance. Astutely pulling together a complex web of facts, theories and stories, Mustoe conveys just how critically important it is that all parts of the wonderous ecosystems on which we, and all planetary species depend, are able to thrive. To do so we, humans, must embrace the call to action so ably represented by ' Wildlife in the Balance' . - Ian Dunn, CEO Plantlife International - The Wild Plant Conservation CharityWhat would our planet be like without animals? Mustoe' s lively and passionate book highlights the extent to which wildlife drive ecological processes-indeed, how animals, birds and insects create and maintain a livable world. Through research and reminiscence he shows how wildlife are essential to the cycling and conveying of energy, nutrients, and information, and why a vibrant future depends on thriving, abundant fauna. - Judith Schwartz, author of ' The Reindeer Chronicles' A remarkable new look at a story older than time! ' Wildlife in the Balance' captures the science in a way never offered before, exposing stunning and critical revelations relevant to both the layman and learned scientists alike - David Casselman, Ecoflix Foundation
Simon Mustoe has worked all over the world as an ecologist, expeditioner and conservationist. He' s tumbled in boats amid frigid north Atlantic storms, trekked solo into Madagascar' s remote dry forests, discovered unknown species of seabird in Australia' s tropical ocean territories and recorded previously unseen whales in West Papua. His thirty years as a researcher, communicator, expert witness and consultant for industry, governments and conservation groups have offered many oblique views of our interaction with nature and candid examples of our failure to protect it and ourselves. Telling the story about our relationship with and dependence on wildlife is Simon' s passion. He co-produced Australia' s National Landscapes Nature Series, sends his online magazine Wildiaries to a quarter of a million Australians, and illustrates his own blog, Animal Impact. Meanwhile, Simon continues to play an active role as adviser to important ecosystem restoration initiatives.

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