Elizabeth Kolbert

The Sixth Extinction

Elizabeth Kolbert

Talk: The Sixth Extinction

In "The Sixth Extinction", Pulitzer Prize winner and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

Elizabeth Kolbert

Elizabeth Kolbert is an American journalist and author and professor at Williams College. She is best known for her 2006 book Field Notes from a Catastrophe, and as an observer and commentator on environmentalism for The New Yorker magazine.

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.

Find out more