The plastic paradox, and how to regulate the seas: Books in brief


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Plastic Limitless

Alice Mah Polity (2022)

An extra of single-use plastics — accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic — is obvious to everybody. Additionally apparent is that “for the entire toxicity and air pollution related to plastic, it’s troublesome to think about residing with out it”, writes sociologist Alice Mah in her energetic and complex research. Chapters take care of plastic toxicity, marine waste, the local weather emergency, the pandemic and the cumulative plastics disaster. Nonetheless a lot people may scale back their private use, the foundation drawback stays the capitalist drive for limitless progress.

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Horizons

James Poskett Mariner (2022)

Science’s internationalism is nicely acknowledged. However scientists have a tendency to treat it as a current phenomenon that arose from the ‘huge science’ of the 20 th century, slightly than one with a historical past of greater than 500 years going again to the Islamic science that impressed astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, and past, observes historian James Poskett. His revisionary “international historical past” boldly rebuts this: “The parable that fashionable science was invented in Europe shouldn’t be solely false, additionally it is deeply damaging.”

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The Earth

Elsa Panciroli Greenfinch/Quercus (2022)

This extremely illustrated historical past of life by palaeontologist Elsa Panciroli vivifies 47 crops and animals, beginning 2.5 billion years in the past with early eukaryotes — the group that features most multicellular organisms — and ending with people. The reader meets corals and graptolites, earthworms and dinosaurs, ants and woolly mammoths. Fossils are key to understanding geological time, as are the age, composition and distribution of rocks, however these may be deceptive as a result of “in deep time, strong rock can circulate like water and crumple like paper”.

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The Poseidon Challenge

David Bosco Oxford Univ. Press (2022)

The traditional Greek god of the ocean was “unpredictable, nearly all the time in movement, and harmful”, notes international-relations specialist David Bosco. His satirically titled ebook is a fancy however readable research of ocean governance, starting from politics to science, beginning with Dutch lawyer Hugo Grotius’s 1609 defence of the liberty of the seas. The 1982 United Nations Conference on the Regulation of the Sea has but to attract on the planet’s main maritime energy, america. However, concludes Bosco, ocean regulation will improve.

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The Monster’s Bones

David Ok. Randall W. W. Norton (2022)

A monstrous, 66-million-year-old fossil of Tyrannosaurus rex symbolizes the American Museum of Pure Historical past in New York Metropolis, a lot because the Rosetta Stone does the British Museum in London. However few know the way it was discovered. Journalist David Randall’s entertaining ebook focuses on an intrepid fossil hunter backed by a privileged socialite, and contains robber barons, eugenicists and cowboys. “Somewhat than a mirror into the previous,” Randall says, “the creature proved to mirror the considerations of the current.”

Competing Pursuits

The writer declares no competing pursuits.

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