Saturday, May 16, 2015

the last book I ever read (Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction, excerpt five)

from the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner for General Nonfiction The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert:

By the time Cohn-Haft and I got back to Camp 41, several other people had arrived, including Cohn-Haft’s wife, Rita Mesquita, who’s an ecologist, and Tom Lovejoy, who was in Manaus attending a meeting of a group called the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation. Now in his early seventies, Lovejoy is credited with having put the term “biological diversity” into general circulation and with having conceived of the idea of the “debt-for-nature swap.” Over the years, he has worked for the World Wildlife Fund, the Smithsonian, the United Nations Foundation, and the World Bank, and in good part owing to his efforts something like half the Amazon rainforest is now under some form of legal protection. Lovejoy is the rare sort of person who seems equally comfortable slogging through the forest and testifying in front of Congress. He is always looking for ways to drum up support for Amazon conservation, and while we were sitting around that evening, he told me he’d once brought Tom Cruise to Camp 41. Cruise, he said, has seemed to enjoy himself, but, unfortunately, had never taken up the cause.

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