Dancing at the Dead Sea

Tracking the World’s Environmental Hotspots

Alanna Mitchell

Dancing at the Dead Sea

Alanna Mitchell

239 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2004
Cloth $25.00 ISBN: 9780226532004 Published May 2005 For sale in USA only
One hundred and fifty years after the publication of On the Origin of Species, award-winning environmental reporter Alanna Mitchell set out to retrace the idea of evolution and grapple with the fact that a massive extinction of the planet’s species was well under way. So began a three-year odyssey in which Mitchell picked up where Darwin left off, examining not just the origin but also the ultimate fate of our world.

Combining scientific curiosity with travel and adventure, Dancing at the Dead Sea takes the reader on an intimate tour through the world’s environmental hotspots. Readers join Mitchell as she tracks the spectacular biodiversity of regions as extraordinary as the island of Madagascar, the rain forests of Suriname, the parched oases of Jordan, the Arctic desert of Banks Island, the volcanic crests of Iceland, and, ultimately, the Galapagos archipelago, where Darwin conducted his famous research. Along the way, Mitchell introduces us to the numerous scientists and conservationists who are working to protect these endangered places. She also chronicles the courageous efforts of everyday men and women in these regions as they try to convince governments to turn the world’s hotspots into environmentally protected areas.

Ultimately, Mitchell’s travels around the world compel her to ponder our shelf life as a species in the grand evolutionary scheme of the planet. She wonders what Darwin would make of the profound ecological destruction she witnesses. Is the human race suicidal? What can help our species avert extinction? Posing tough and cutting questions such as these, Dancing at the Dead Sea is a must-read for aficionados of good science writing and travel literature alike.
Introduction: Dancing at the Dead Sea
1. The Devil’s Chaplain
2. In Search of Lemurs
3. Reading the Secrets of the Fossils
4. Parched Oasis
5. Sunken Graves of the High Arctic
6. Where the Rainforest Goes On Forever
7. Iceland’s New Power
8. Ocean’s End
Selected References
Review Quotes
Publishers Weekly

“The itinerary of this winning pilgrimage is well-chosen to illustrate contemporary environmental crises.”

"Well written and inspiring. . . . Should help awaken environmental awareness."
Audobon Magazine
“A lively, impassioned ecological travelogue.”
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