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Winner of the 2011 George Orwell Award. One of The Atlantic's top psychology books of 2011. As human beings, we've always told stories: stories about who we are, where we come from, and where we're going. Now imagine that one of those stories is taking over the others, narrowing our diversity and creating a monoculture. Because of the rise of the economic story, six areas of your world - your work, your relationships with others and the environment, your community, your physical and spiritual health, your education, and your creativity - are changing, or have already changed, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. And because how you think shapes how you act, the monoculture isn't just changing your mind - it's changing your life. In Monoculture, F.S. Michaels draws on extensive research and makes surprising connections among disciplines to take a big-picture look at how one story is changing everything. Her research and writing have been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Killam Trusts, and regional and municipal arts councils. Michaels has an MBA, and lives and writes in British Columbia.
Vandana Shiva has established herself as a leading independent thinker and voice for the South in that critically important nexus where questions of development strategy, the environment and the posititon of women in society coincide. In this new volume, she brings together her thinking on the protection of biodiversity, the implications of biotechnology, and the consequences for agriculture of the global pre-eminence of Western-style scientific knowledge.In lucid and accessible fashion, she examines the current threats to the planet's biodiversity and the environmental and human consequences of its erosion and replacement by monocultural production. She shows how the new Biodiversity Convention has been gravely undermined by a mixture of diplomatic dilution during the process of negotiation and Northern hi-tech interests making money out of the new biotechnologies. She explains what these technologies involve and gives examples of their impact in practice. She questions their claims to improving natural species for the good of all and highlights the ethical and environmental problems posed.Underlying her arguments is the view that the North's particular approach to scientific understanding has led to a system of monoculture in agriculture - a model that is not being foisted on the South, displacing its societies' ecologically sounder, indigenous and age-old experiences of truly sustainable food cultivation, forest management and animal husbandry. This rapidly accelerating process of technology and system transfer is impoverishing huge numbers of people, disrupting the social systems that provide them with security and dignity, and will ultimately result in a sterile planet in both North and South, In a policy intervention of potentially great significance, she calls instead for a halt, at international as well as local level, to the aid and market incentives to both large-scale destruction of habitats where biodiversity thrives and the introduction of centralised, homogenous systems of cultivation.
Buried in many people and operating largely outside the realm of conscious thought are forces inclining us toward liberal or conservative political convictions. Our biology predisposes us to see and understand the world in different ways, not always reason and the careful consideration of facts. These predispositions are in turn responsible for a significant portion of the political and ideological conflict that marks human history. With verve and wit, renowned social scientists John Hibbing, Kevin Smith, and John Alford—pioneers in the field of biopolitics—present overwhelming evidence that people differ politically not just because they grew up in different cultures or were presented with different information. Despite the oft-heard longing for consensus, unity, and peace, the universal rift between conservatives and liberals endures because people have diverse psychological, physiological, and genetic traits. These biological differences influence much of what makes people who they are, including their orientations to politics. Political disputes typically spring from the assumption that those who do not agree with us are shallow, misguided, uninformed, and ignorant. Predisposed suggests instead that political opponents simply experience, process, and respond to the world differently. It follows, then, that the key to getting along politically is not the ability of one side to persuade the other side to see the error of its ways but rather the ability of each side to see that the other is different, not just politically, but physically. Predisposed will change the way you think about politics and partisan conflict. As a bonus, the book includes a "Left/Right 20 Questions" game to test whether your predispositions lean liberal or conservative.
Focusing on the human relationship with plants, uses botany to explore four basic human desires--sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control--through of four plants that embody them: the apple, tulip, marijuana, and potato.
How should we respond to our converging crises of violent conflict, political corruption, and global ecological devastation? In this sweeping, big-picture synthesis, Louis G. Herman argues that for us to create a sustainable, fulfilling future, we need to first look back into our deepest past to recover our core humanity. Important clues for recovery can be found in the lives of traditional San Bushman hunter-gatherers of South Africa, the closest living relatives to the ancestral African population from which all humans descended. Their culture can give us a sense of what life was like during the tens of thousands of years when humans lived in wilderness, without warfare, walled cities, or slavery. Herman suggests we draw from the experience of the San and other earth-based cultures and weave their wisdom together with the scientific story of an evolving universe to help create something radically new — an earth-centered, planetary politics with the personal truth quest at its heart.
A Fast Food Nation for the foods we grow and depend on The bananas we eat today aren't your parents' bananas: We eat a recognizable, consistent breakfast fruit that was standardized in the 1960s from dozens into one basic banana. But because of that, the banana we love is dangerously susceptible to a pathogen that might wipe them out. That's the story of our food today: Modern science has brought us produce in perpetual abundance-once-rare fruits are seemingly never out of season, and we breed and clone the hardiest, best-tasting varieties of the crops we rely on most. As a result, a smaller proportion of people on earth go hungry today than at any other moment in the last thousand years, and the streamlining of our food supply guarantees that the food we buy, from bananas to coffee to wheat, tastes the same every single time. Our corporate food system has nearly perfected the process of turning sunlight, water and nutrients into food. But our crops themselves remain susceptible to the nature's fury. And nature always wins. Authoritative, urgent, and filled with fascinating heroes and villains from around the world, Never Out of Season is the story of the crops we depend on most and the scientists racing to preserve the diversity of life, in order to save our food supply, and us.
Stories pervade our daily lives, from human interest news items, to a business strategy described to a colleague, to daydreams between chores. Stories are what we use to make sense of the world. But how does this work? In Making Stories, the eminent psychologist Jerome Bruner examines this pervasive human habit and suggests new and deeper ways to think about how we use stories to make sense of lives and the great moral and psychological problems that animate them. Looking at legal cases and autobiography as well as literature, Bruner warns us not to be seduced by overly tidy stories and shows how doubt and double meaning can lie beneath the most seemingly simple case.

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