Great Overview

atlas1As a systematician, I like the big picture. I like to see how all the individual pieces fit into the entire picture. It helps me to grasp—as much as I can—what’s going on. That’s partly why the field of ecology intrigues me as well. I bring this up because at times I find that it is all too easy easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the individual “green” issues that come at us on a daily basis. Water issues. Food issues. Over fishing the ocean issues. Pollution issues. Energy issues. Climate issues. Biodiversity issues. Economic issues. Buy this product to be green. Buy that product to be green. Use these bags not those. These bulbs and not those. The list goes on and on. It can all be a bit too much.   Which are the really “big issues”? Does it matter? How do they relate to each other?

That is one reason that I really like The Atlas of Global Conservation: Changes, Challenges, and Opportunities to Make a Difference, published the University of California Press in conjunction with the Nature Conservancy.  It addresses all of the issues that I mentioned above and does so in a comprehensive yet comprehendable (not sure if that’s a word) manner. To that end it provides many maps (I like maps), graphs, and images. The Atlas brings together everything that is currently known in a way that a novice like me can grasp yet allows the expert to dive deeper. One of the things that I really like is that it is not apocalyptic. It highlights the problems and challenges yet also the successes and possibilities.  Perhaps most importantly, it does not pit nature against humans. Instead, it shows how the well-being of both are mutually dependent.



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