R. S. Deese

 

We Are Amphibians tells the fascinating story of two brothers who changed the way we think about the future of our species. As a pioneering biologist and conservationist, Julian Huxley helped advance the “modern synthesis” in evolutionary biology and played a pivotal role in founding UNESCO and the World Wildlife Fund. His argument that we must accept responsibility for our future evolution as a species has attracted a growing number of scientists and intellectuals who embrace the concept of Transhumanism that he first outlined in the 1950s. Although Aldous Huxley is most widely known for his dystopian novel Brave New World, his writings on religion, ecology, and human consciousness were powerful catalysts for the environmental and human potential movements that grew rapidly in the second half of the twentieth century. While they often disagreed about the role of science and technology in human progress, Julian and Aldous Huxley both believed that the future of our species depends on a saner set of relations with each other and with our environment. Their common concern for ecology has given their ideas about the future of Homo sapiens an enduring resonance in the twenty-first century. The amphibian metaphor that both brothers used to describe humanity highlights not only the complexity and mutability of our species but also our ecologically precarious situation.

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Environmental Histories of the Cold War explores the links between the Cold War and the global environment, ranging from the environmental impacts of nuclear weapons to the political repercussions of environmentalism. Environmental change accelerated sharply during the Cold War years, and so did environmentalism as both a popular movement and a scientific preoccupation. Most Cold War history entirely overlooks this rise of environmentalism and the crescendo of environmental change. These historical subjects were not only simultaneous but also linked together in ways both straightforward and surprising. The contributors to this book present these connected issues as a global phenomenon, with chapters concerning China, the USSR, Europe, North America, Oceania, and elsewhere. The role of experts as agents and advocates of using the environment as a weapon in the Cold War or, contrastingly, of preventing environmental damage resulting from Cold War politics is also given broad attention.