Life is Good: Conservation in an Age of Mass Extinction

by Jeremy Hance, writer for

Color edition - Click to enlarge


Introduction: the life emergency
1. Meeting Tam in Borneo: our last chance to save the world’s smallest rhino
2. Will jellyfish take over the world?
3. Why top predators matter
4. The camera trap revolution: how a simple device is shaping research and conservation worldwide
5. Nature’s greatest spectacle faces extinction
6. The penguin problem, or stop eating our fish!
7. What about the ugly ones?
8. Zoos: why a revolution is necessary to justify them
9. The end of the oceans: from bounty to empty
10. Language and conservation: why words matter
11. Saving the world’s weirdest mammal
12. Shifting baselines: forgetting the lost
13. Gone: extinction over the past decade
14. The anaconda and the fer-de-lance: one day on Suriname’s jungle coast
About the Author

Publication DateJan 22 2012
Page Count214
Trim Size5.25" x 8"
Although a young philosophy, conservation has had notable successes, including setting aside vast tracts of wilderness for posterity and saving a selection of beloved species from oblivion. Yet, today conservation faces its greatest test: saving our planet--and ourselves--from a sixth mass extinction. In this age of climate change, vast forest destruction, and marine degradation, scientists are increasingly convinced that without rapid action and societal change, many of the world's species--great and small, ugly and beautiful--will be condemned to early extinction.

In a series of essays, Jeremy Leon Hance, environmental reporter with, explores the challenge of mass extinction and the different ways conservationists, with limited support and funds, are rising to meet it. The essays focus on a wide-variety of topics including efforts to save long-ignored endangered species, such as an ancient venomous rodent; recent research vindicating long-reviled predators, like wolves and lions, as key to an ecosystem's harmony; the rise of the camera trap, a humble new tool that's photographing rarely seen species; and a new theory on how humans view, and even forget, wilderness.

This thought-provoking book raises the question: as the biodiversity crisis spreads from the rainforest canopy to the deepest ocean, how will the world's cleverest species act?

Update: In 2012, Life is Good earned a starred review from Publisher's Weekly, a top book reviewer for the publishing industry.


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Jeremy Leon Hance has been writing for since 2007. He graduated from Macalester College with a major in English and from St. John’s College in Santa Fe with a Masters Degree in ‘the Great Books’. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife, Tiffany; his daughter, Aurelia; and his miniature Schnauzer, Oz.


“Mongabay is the pre-eminent, go-to website for rainforest issues. The articles are always well-researched, well-written, and insightful. Whether you are doing research for a school research paper, looking for cool info on weird jungle creatures, or investigating a corporation that might be harming the tropical environment, Mongabay is ALWAYS the place to start!”
    Mark J. Plotkin, Ph.D., L.H.D.
    President Amazon Conservation Team
    Author, “Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice”
“I have conducted research in the tropics for over three decades, and I can tell you that Mongabay is THE best source for important, cutting-edge news about rainforests and their imperiled wildlife. If you want to know about rainforests and nature conservation, Mongabay is hands down the best place to look.”
    William F. Laurance, Ph.D.
    Distinguished Research Professor & Australian Laureate
    Prince Bernhard Chair in International Nature Conservation
    Centre for Tropical Environmental & Sustainability Science,
    School of Marine & Tropical Biology, James Cook University


Life is Good is printed on-demand, meaning books are only produced as they are ordered, which reduces excess production and waste. Life is Good is printed on acid-free paper stock supplied by an FSC-certified provider. In order to reduce its ecological footprint, Life is Good does not use glossy paper for interior pages.