Becoming Earth: How Our Planet Came to Life (Hardcover)

Becoming Earth: How Our Planet Came to Life By Ferris Jabr Cover Image

Becoming Earth: How Our Planet Came to Life (Hardcover)


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A vivid account of a major shift in how we understand Earth, from an exceptionally talented new voice. Earth is not simply an inanimate planet on which life evolved, but rather a planet that came to life.

One of humanity’s oldest beliefs is that our world is alive. Though once ridiculed by some scientists, the idea of Earth as a vast interconnected living system has gained acceptance in recent decades. We, and all living things, are more than inhabitants of Earth—we are Earth, an outgrowth of its structure and an engine of its evolution. Life and its environment have coevolved for billions of years, transforming a lump of orbiting rock into a cosmic oasis—a planet that breathes, metabolizes, and regulates its climate.

Acclaimed science writer Ferris Jabr reveals a radical new vision of Earth where lush forests spew water, pollen, and bacteria to summon rain; giant animals engineer the very landscapes they roam; microbes chew rock to shape continents; and microscopic plankton, some as glittering as carved jewels, remake the air and sea.

Humans are one of the most extreme examples of life transforming Earth. Through fossil fuel consumption, agriculture, and pollution, we have altered more layers of the planet in less time than any other species, pushing Earth into a crisis. But we are also uniquely able to understand and protect the planet’s wondrous ecology and self-stabilizing processes. Jabr introduces us to a diverse cast of fascinating people who have devoted themselves to this vital work.

Becoming Earth is an exhilarating journey through the hidden workings of our planetary symphony—its players, its instruments, and the music of life that emerges—and an invitation to reexamine our place in it. How well we play our part will determine what kind of Earth our descendants inherit for millennia to come.
Ferris Jabr is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine. He has also written for The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and Scientific American. He is the recipient of a Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction Grant and fellowships from UC Berkeley and MIT. His work has been anthologized in several editions of Best American Science and Nature Writing. Ferris Jabr lives in Portland, Oregon, with his husband, Ryan, their dog, Jack, and more plants than they can count.

Product Details ISBN: 9780593133972
ISBN-10: 0593133978
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: June 25th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English
“With the curiosity of a reporter, the mind of a scientist, and the lyricism of a poet, Jabr explores the extraordinary tapestry of life.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A glorious paean to our living world.”—Ed Yong, Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author of An Immense World

“A remarkable achievement.”—Ben Goldfarb, award-winning author of Crossings

“Astonishing.”—Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes

“Fascinating, thought-provoking . . ., inspiring.”—Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sixth Extinction

“Quite simply, a work of genius.”—Robert Moor, bestselling author of On Trails: An Exploration

“Mesmerizing . . . I found myself gasping at revelations on every page.”—Sabrina Imbler, author of How Far the Light Reaches

“A candy store of mind-blowing facts and fascinating anecdotes.”—Kate Marvel, climate scientist and author

“Wow. This wondrous book reveals our living planet for the miracle that it is.“—Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words

“Gorgeously written and brimming with fascinating science and provocative ideas.”—Dan Fagin, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Toms River

“A compelling argument that Earth is a living planet.”—James Kasting, professor of geosciences, Penn State University

“Beautiful and insightful.”—Deborah Blum, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Poison Squad

“Thrilling . . . More than excellent science journalism—it evokes wonder.”—Tyler Volk, Earth system scientist, New York University, and author of Gaia’s Body

”A fresh and mesmerizing meditation on what it means to be alive.”—Andrew Revkin, renowned environmental journalist and author

”A story so important and compelling that I am going to be recommending it for years.”—Hank Green, New York Times bestselling author and science communicator