In his new book, Wisdom for a Livable Planet (Trinity University Press, April 2005), Carl McDaniel provides an introduction to many of today’s critical environmental issues, including toxic waste, biodiversity, globalization, population, economic justice, climate change, and environmental education. McDaniel is professor of biology at Rensselaer.
The book examines environmental issues through the life and work of eight individuals who have worked toward improving the ecological health of their communities and the world beyond. Organized topically, each chapter of the book summarizes one person’s persistence, creativity, and dedication in the face of challenging environmental issues, according to McDaniel.
The profiled individuals are: Terri Swearingen, nurse, mother, and environmental advocate; Dave Foreman, co-founder of the Wildlands Project; Wes Jackson, geneticist and co-founder of the Land Institute; Helena Norberg-Hodge, founder of the International Society for Ecology and Culture; Werner Fornos, president of the Population Institute; Herman Daly, University of Maryland professor and past World Bank economist; Stephen Schneider, Stanford University climate expert; and, David Orr, professor of environmental studies at Oberlin College.
McDaniel avows that a durable, healthy society begins with the work of individuals who take action. He writes in the last chapter, “My hope is that if we all fully grasp the stories that express our connection to the rest of life and our absolute dependence on the bugs and the weeds of the world and we tell these stories they will become part of humanity’s sacred beliefs and lay the foundation for a future of continuous progress. Through the actions of each one of us, global culture can embrace an urgently needed ecologically centered pattern of living.”
McDaniel is co-author, with Rensselaer economics professor John Gowdy, of Paradise for Sale: A Parable of Nature (University of California, 2000). He joined Rensselaer in 1975, where he teaches environmental and introductory biology courses.
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