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Island Press Staff Picks - Evolution in a Toxic World

Today's pick, Evolution in a Toxic World, comes from our Marketing Assistant, Meghan Bartels. When we started preparing for the Spring 2012 season, I was excited to dive into Emily Monosson’s Evolution in a Toxic World. As I read, I encountered countless topics with which I was familiar—the first days of oxygen, how antibiotic resistance develops, what goes wrong inside a cancer cell, and many more—but Monosson’s writing was the first time I found such diverse topics connected in a coherent way. She made me realize why it was a big deal that the first plants started producing a bunch of oxygen in a way that gave me not only a much better understanding of how life evolved but also a deeper appreciation for plants and animals alike. But chapter 9, in which she discusses contemporary evolution, was one of my favorites. It’s so easy to fall into thinking that evolution is a slow process that takes hundreds of generations—not something we can see in our lifetimes except in bacteria. Monosson shows that, while the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria is certainly worth worrying about, it’s hardly the only example of evolutionary changes we can observe. Evolution in a Toxic World shines a fascinating, if concerning, light on this new field of scientific research. Get Evolution in a Toxic World for 50% off at islandpress.org. Offer valid until October 28th!