Sweet in Tooth and Claw
What if Nature is more cooperative, and less competitive, than we think?
A follow-up to Kristin Ohlson’s previous book, The Soil Will Save Us (Rodale 2014), Sweet in Tooth and Claw extends the concept of cooperation in nature to the life-affirming connections among microbes, plants, fungi, insects, birds, and animals – including humans—in ecosystems around the globe.
For centuries, people have debated whether nature is mostly competitive -- as Darwin theorized and the poet Tennyson described as “red in tooth and claw”—or innately cooperative, as many ancient and indigenous peoples believed. In the last 100 or so years, a growing gang of scientists have studied the mutually beneficial interactions that are believed to benefit every species on earth. This book is full of stories of generosity – not competition -- in nature. It is a testament to the importance of a healthy biodiversity, and dispels the widely accepted premise of survival of the fittest.
Ohlson tells stories of trees and mushrooms, beavers and bees. There are chapters on a wide variety of ecosystems and portraits of the people who learn from them: forests (the work of Suzanne Simard); scientists who study the interaction of bees and flowers in the Rocky Mountains; the discovery of bacteria and protozoa in the mid-1600s by Dutch scientist Antoni von Leeuwenhoek; ranchers, government agency personnel, and scientists working together to restore wetlands from deserts in northeastern Nevada; and more. It is a rich and fascinating book full of amazing stories, sure to change your perspective on the natural world.
SKU 7770, Copyright 2022, 393 pages, hardcover.
About the Author:
Kristin Ohlson is a writer based in Portland, OR. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Salon, Discover, and elsewhere. Her article about burning coal mines was collected in Best American Science Writing 2011. She is also the author of Stalking the Divine, which won the American Society of Journalists and Authors' 2004 Best Nonfiction Book award, and coauthor of New York Times bestseller Kabul Beauty School.