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Leopold’s Shack and Ricketts’s Lab

The Emergence of Environmentalism

Michael Lannoo (Author)


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Aldo Leopold and Ed Ricketts are giants in the history of environmental awareness. They were born ten years and only about 200 miles apart and died within weeks of each other in 1948. Yet they never met and they didn't read each other's work. This illuminating book reveals the full extent of their profound and parallel influence both on science and our perception of natural world today. In a lively comparison, Michael J. Lannoo shows how deeply these two ecological luminaries influenced the emergence both of environmentalism and conservation biology. In particular, he looks closely at how they each derived their ideas about the possible future of humanity based on their understanding of natural communities. Leopold and Ricketts both believed that humans cannot place themselves above earth's ecosystems and continue to survive. In light of climate change, invasive species, and collapsing ecosystems, their most important shared idea emerges as a powerful key to the future.


Chapter 1: Out of the Midwest
Chapter 2: From Forester to Professor
Chapter 3: From Businessman to Sage
Chapter 4: Game Management
Chapter 5: Between Pacific Tides

Intercalary I
Chapter 6: The Shack
Chapter 7: The Lab

Intercalary II
Chapter 8: A Sand County Almanac
Chapter 9: Sea of Cortez

Intercalary III
Chapter 10: Daily Lives and Professional Expectations
Chapter 11: From Natural History to Ecology
Chapter 12: Leopold’s Approach
Chapter 13: Ricketts’s Approach
Chapter 14: Shared and Complementary Perspectives

Intercalary IV
Chapter 15: Transcendence
Chapter 16: Ethic and Engagement
Chapter 17: Where Their Spirit Lives On

The Shack and the Lab

Michael Lannoo, Professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine, is the author of Malformed Frogs: The Collapse of Aquatic Ecosystems and the editor of Amphibian Declines: The Conservation Status of United States Species (both from UC Press), among other books.
“Heavily referenced and annotated, this book is highly recommended to all.”—Chicago Botanic Garden
“Charming little book.”—Ecology
“A short and entertaining read, a book that fans of both Leopold and Ricketts will appreciate.”—Thomas D. Sisk Bioscience
“Charming little book.”—Philip Cafaro Ecology
"Leopold's Shack and Ricketts's Lab brings fresh insight to the fertile ideas and writings of two innovators of early twentieth century ecology. In this insightful and important book, Michael J. Lannoo enriches the legacies of Leopold and Ricketts as early conservation-minded environmentalists and suggests that there is still much to be learned from them."—Katharine A. Rodger, editor of Breaking Through: Essays, Journals, and Travelogues of Edward F. Ricketts

"Lannoo creatively explores an important story of compelling historical characters with a clear vision of their significance for today's readers.”—Curt Meine, author of Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work

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