New Book Compiles Bill Schlesinger’s Writings on Contemporary Environmental Issues

September 28, 2017

Tim Lucas (919) 613-8084


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DURHAM, N.C. – More than 100 of the most timely and thought-provoking essays on environmental issues by William H. Schlesinger, dean emeritus of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, are compiled in a new book published this month by the International Ecology Institute.

“Translational Ecology: Collected Writings on Contemporary Environmental Issues” offers Schlesinger’s informed – but always concise and highly readable – takes on a wide range of pressing topics, including climate change, energy, air pollution, biodiversity, water resources, marine conservation, recycling, food production, population growth, and environmental impacts on human health. 

Also included are his writings on the far-ranging and often unforeseeable impacts consumer choices have on our planet; his essays about environmental success stories we should all celebrate; and his eloquent and urgent “Open Letter to Donald Trump.” 

Many of the essays collected into the new book originated as posts on Schlesinger’s widely read Citizen Scientist blog, posted on the Nicholas School’s website. Others are adapted from editorials, articles, speeches and radio scripts he has written.

Schlesinger is one of the world’s leading ecologists and earth scientists and a passionate advocate for translating science for lay audiences. 

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, his career has focused on studies of environmental chemistry—biogeochemistry—particularly on soils and global element cycles. His textbook, Biogeochemistry, co-written with Duke faculty member Emily S. Bernhardt, is now in its third edition and is used in classrooms worldwide. 

In addition to being a former dean of the Nicholas School, Schlesinger is the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Biogeochemistry at Duke and president emeritus of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y.

His new book is the 29th in the Excellence in Ecology series authored by recipients of the International Ecology Institute Prize. Schlesinger received the award in 2014.