The Light Eaters
How the Unseen World of Plant Intelligence Offers a New Understanding of Life on Earth
by Zoë Schlanger
You must sign in to see if this title is available for request. Sign In or Register Now
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add firstname.lastname@example.org as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 07 May 2024 | Archive Date 02 Jul 2024
“A masterpiece of science writing.” –Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass
“Mesmerizing, world-expanding, and achingly beautiful.” –Ed Yong, author of An Immense World
“Rich, vital, and full of surprises. Read it!” –Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Under a White Sky and The Sixth Extinction
“A brilliant must-read. This book shook and changed me.” –David George Haskell, author of Sounds Wild and Broken, The Songs of Trees, and The Forest Unseen
Award-winning Atlantic environment and science reporter Zoë Schlanger delivers a groundbreaking work of popular science that probes the hidden world of the plant kingdom and reveals the astonishing capabilities of the green life all around us.
It takes tremendous biological creativity to be a plant. To survive and thrive while rooted in a single spot, plants have adapted ingenious methods of survival. In recent years, scientists have learned about their ability to communicate, recognize their kin and behave socially, hear sounds, morph their bodies to blend into their surroundings, store useful memories that inform their life cycle, and trick animals into behaving to their benefit, to name just a few remarkable talents.
The Light Eaters is a deep immersion into the drama of green life and the complexity of this wild and awe-inspiring world that challenges our very understanding of agency, consciousness, and intelligence. In looking closely, we see that plants, rather than imitate human intelligence, have perhaps formed a parallel system. What is intelligent life if not a vine that grows leaves to blend into the shrub on which it climbs, a flower that shapes its bloom to fit exactly the beak of its pollinator, a pea seedling that can hear water flowing and make its way toward it? Zoë Schlanger takes us across the globe, digging into her own memories and into the soil with the scientists who have spent their waking days studying these amazing entities up close.
What can we learn about life on Earth from the living things that thrive, adapt, consume, and accommodate simultaneously? More important, what do we owe these life forms once we come to understand their rich and varied abilities? Examining the latest epiphanies in botanical research, Schlanger spotlights the intellectual struggles among the researchers conceiving a wholly new view of their subject, offering a glimpse of a field in turmoil as plant scientists debate the tenets of ongoing discoveries and how they influence our understanding of what a plant is.
We need plants to survive. But what do they need us for—if at all? An eye-opening and informative look at the ecosystem we live in, this book challenges us to rethink the role of plants—and our own place—in the natural world.