March 07, 2008
I’m relieved we’ve been spared reviewing American Earth: Environmental Writing since Thoreau, as John Derbyshire has done an excellent job in The New Criterion.
Although it seems to contain a great deal of purple prose, including quotations from the little green book of Chairman Gore, and scandalously omits Ortega Y Gassett’s On Hunting, it does include this luminous passage from my favorite environmentalist-biological, the great E.O.Wilson :
“After the sun?s energy is captured by the green plants, it flows through chains of organisms dendritically, like blood spreading from the arteries into networks of microscopic capillaries?During the long span of evolution the species divided the environment among themselves…Through repeated genetic changes they side-stepped competitors and built elaborate defenses against the host of predator species that relentlessly tracked them through matching genetic counter-moves. The result was a splendid array of specialists, including moths that live in the fur of three-toed sloths.”
There’s more on E.O. Wilson in the archives of my blog, .Adamant
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