Just finished Elizabeth Kolbert's "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History". I can't recommend it enough. You will leave the pages of this book with such an appreciation for our natural world and the amazing great good fortune we have of living in this time and place... Very soon the world will be a different place, a far more barren place. In the lifetime of the children being born today Coral Reefs will become a memory. It just isn't possible to reverse the damage we have already wrought upon the oceans and seas of our world. And the trajectory of large mammal extinctions, coupled with the introduction of pathogenic organisms will see such a loss of other species from Rhinos and Elephants, to Tigers and Bears--yes, Bears. Presently Amphibians are disappearing to the point of being completely absent from large swaths of Central, South and even western North America--and bats, precious bats are racing toward extinction by the thousand upon thousands all across North America. It's not an easy book to read. But it's profoundly important to have an understanding of the crisis our world is in from a scientific vantage point. And paradoxically, it renewed my utter amazement at LIFE itself and our planet home in particular. Because while we are not the first species to destroy the balance of life on it (mosses seem to have accomplished this 440 million years ago or so!); the planet is resilient. And the next chapter may take it 50 million years to set right again (the average recover interval), but until the sun implodes there will be a next chapter.
If you don't read another book this summer, please read this one.