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Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils

Category: Book
By (author): Farrier, David
Subject:  NATURE / Ecology
  NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
  SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Ecology
  TRAVEL / Essays & Travelogues
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published: March 2020
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 320
Size: 8.25in x 5.37in
Our Price:
$ 38.00
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

A profound meditation on climate change and the Anthropocene and an urgent search for the fossils-industrial, chemical, geological-that humans are leaving behind

What will the world look like in ten thousand years-or ten million? What kinds of stories will be told about us?

In Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils, the award-winning author David Farrier explores the traces we will leave for the very distant future. Modern civilization has created objects and landscapes with the potential to endure through deep time, whether it is plastic polluting the oceans and nuclear waste sealed within the earth or the 30 million miles of roads spanning the planet. Our carbon could linger in the atmosphere for 100,000 years, and the remains of our cities will still exist millions of years from now as a layer in the rock. These future fossils have the potential to reveal much about how we lived in the twenty-first century.

Crossing the boundaries of literature, art, and science, Footprints invites us to think about how we will be remembered in the myths and stories of our distant descendants. Traveling from the Baltic Sea to the Great Barrier Reef, and from an ice-core laboratory in Tasmania to Shanghai, one of the world's biggest cities, Farrier describes a world that is changing rapidly, with consequences beyond the scope of human understanding. As much a message of hope as a warning, Footprints will not only alter how you think about the future; it will change how you see the world today.

Review Quote*

"Darkly, exquisitely, oh-so-carefully, David Farrier lays out the future we can see from here: the ice singing its own dissolution, the plastic without a memory that will last for eternity, the deepest ocean and the highest air which will remember our carbon traces millions of years to come. Farrier is an exacting dissector of human culture and natural history; his book is a brilliant and surprising beautiful requiem for what we have lost, but also, crucially, what we might save from the wreckage." -Philip Hoare, author of Risingtidefallingstar

"What have we done, what are we doing, and in what sort of state are we leaving our home? David Farrier's natural history of the junkyard Anthropocene is devastating in its answers to these questions. Since the prognosis is not good, this deep-time almanac reads as a precocious elegy. It is a mind-bender that will make you cry like any new born baby. Farrier has terrifyingly and superbly mapped the darkness." -Tim Dee, author of A Year on the Wing

"A signal book, and a profoundly significant one, of warnings and prophecies, of explorations and discoveries. With wry, persuasive intelligence it surveys the landscapes and cityscapes, the art and the literature, of this pivotal moment in the Anthropocene. From ocean to icecap, outfalls to landfill, it seeks answers to the defining question of our times: ‘How can we be better ancestors?'" -Gavin Francis, author of Shapeshifters: A Journey Through the Changing Human Body

Biographical NoteDavid Farrier teaches at the University of Edinburgh. In 2017, Footprints won the Royal Society of Literature's Giles St Aubyn Award for Non-Fiction. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.