The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter
This event includes a book signing
July 31, 2018
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes award-winning environmental journalist BEN GOLDFARB for a discussion of his latest book, Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter.
In Eager, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America’s lakes and rivers. The consequences of losing beavers were profound: streams eroded, wetlands dried up, and species from salmon to swans lost vital habitat. Today, a growing coalition of “Beaver Believers”—including scientists, ranchers, and passionate citizens—recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier, for humans and non-humans alike than those without them. From the Nevada deserts to the Scottish highlands, Believers are now hard at work restoring these industrious rodents to their former haunts.
Eager is a powerful story about one of the world’s most influential species, how North America was colonized, how our landscapes have changed over the centuries, and how beavers can help us fight drought, flooding, wildfire, extinction, and the ravages of climate change. Ultimately, it’s about how we can learn to coexist, harmoniously and even beneficially, with our fellow travelers on this planet.
“Eager is a revelation! If we only let them live, beavers are the solution to many of our nation’s ecological problems. Ben Goldfarb’s wonderful book will make you an even bigger fan of these intelligent, inventive, resilient rodents than (if you have any sense) you are already―and might just tail-slap a politician or two into realizing how much we need them to restore our critical wetlands.” ―Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus and coauthor of Tamed and Untamed
“Beavers are easy to caricature, and they’re a bit comical. But they’ve got their serious side, too. European settlers who cut, plowed, and shot their way west also trapped the country nearly clean of mammals. Almost killing off beavers―the continent’s major water engineers and dam builders―caused widespread problems for wildlife and people. Now, though, beavers are on the rebound, and the how and who of that story, as told in Eager, will give you a new and completely different concept of the continent.” ―Carl Safina, author of The View From Lazy Point and Beyond Words
“This witty, engrossing book will be a classic from the day it is published. No one who loves the landscape of America will ever look at it quite the same way after understanding just how profoundly it has been shaped by the beaver. And even the most pessimistic among us will feel strong hope at the prospect that so much damage can be so easily repaired if we learn to live with this most remarkable of creatures.” ―Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Radio Free Vermont
“Eager brilliantly presents the role of the American beaver in shaping the landscape of our continent and preserving its ecological integrity and diversity―and does so in clear, readable prose. My Native ancestors―before the cultural disruptions of the fur trade―saw the beaver people as a nation worthy of the greatest respect. I believe that any thoughtful person who reads this book will come away with a much deeper appreciation of this sacred being’s place in the America of the past and, we hope, the future.”―Joseph Bruchac, coauthor of Keepers of the Earth
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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