The Big Ratchet by Ruth DeFries audiobook

The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis

By Ruth DeFries
Read by Pam Ward

Highbridge Audio, HighBridge 9780465044979

Unabridged

Format : Library CD (In Stock)
  • ISBN: 9781665156769

  • ISBN: 9781665156745

  • ISBN: 9781665156752

Runtime: 7.24 Hours
Category: Nonfiction/Science
Audience: Adult
Language: English

Summary

Summary

The Big Ratchet is the story of the ratchets: the technologies and innovations, big and small, that propelled our species from hunters and gatherers on the savannahs of Africa to shoppers in the aisles of the supermarket.

Our species long lived on the edge of starvation. Now we produce enough food for all 7 billion of us to eat nearly 3,000 calories every day. This is such an astonishing thing in the history of life as to verge on the miraculous. The Big Ratchet is the story of how it happened.

The Big Ratchet itself came in the twentieth century, when a range of technologies—from fossil fuels to scientific plant breeding to nitrogen fertilizers—combined to nearly quadruple our population in a century, and to grow our food supply even faster. To some, these technologies are a sign of our greatness; to others, of our hubris. MacArthur fellow and Columbia University professor Ruth DeFries argues that the debate is the wrong one to have. Limits do exist, but every limit that has confronted us, we have surpassed. That cycle of crisis and growth is the story of our history; indeed, it is the essence of The Big Ratchet. Understanding it will reveal not just how we reached this point in our history, but how we might survive it.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Engaging and optimistic.” Wall Street Journal
“DeFries unpicks the historical patterns to parse the uneasy equation of people and food—our most powerful link with nature.” Nature
“[The Big Ratchet] survey[s] the technological innovations that transformed humans from nomadic hunter-gatherers threatened with starvation into farmers and then into urban-dwelling specialists whose sustenance is usually produced far away by a relative few…DeFries sums up the cycle in the pithy catchphrase ‘ratchet, hatchet, pivot.’” Science News
“At its heart, The Big Ratchet is a food book, deserving a place on the shelf alongside work by the likes of Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, and Marion Nestle that criticize our modern system of industrial agriculture.” Johns Hopkins Magazine
“DeFries places her faith in human creativity as a primary means to our survival, an appealing point of view for the hopeful but concerned reader.” Publishers Weekly
“An admirable history of human ingenuity that does not claim it will overcome such looming crises as overpopulation and global warming.” Kirkus Reviews
“Pam Ward’s delivery is always clear and well paced. She’s at home with the pronunciation of scientific terms and place names from around the world.” AudioFile

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Ruth DeFries

Author Bio: Ruth DeFries

Ruth DeFries is a Denning family professor of sustainable development and chair of the department of ecology, evolution, and environmental biology at Columbia University. She is a recipient of a 2007 MacArthur fellowship, and she lives in New York City.

Titles by Author

Details

Details

Available Formats : CD, Library CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/Science
Runtime: 7.24
Audience: Adult
Language: English