Or click here to order: Elemental
Interviews and writing about the book
American Scientist recently published my essay Sustainability Simplified, which is a riff on the themes in Elemental.
Science Friday interviewed me about Elemental – NPR royalty Ira Flatow asked big questions about Snowball Earth.
The “Not old, better” podcast, in collaboration with Smithsonian Associates, hosted Stephen for a conversation about Elemental.
Stephen gave talk based on the book at the Lifelong Learning Collaborative
Stephen discussed Elemental with Krys Boyd on the THINK podcast
Chris Voss Show’s YouTube Channel dove into a conversation with Stephen about life’s essential elements.
A conversation about Elemental with Sam Hankin at Wellington Books
A conversation about Elemental with Andrew Keen on his podcast KeenOn
Praise for Elemental:
“Brown University ecologist Porder debuts with a probing exploration of how carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorous have shaped life on Earth. . . . It’s an illuminating account of how these elements and the organisms that rely on them have influenced the course of life.”—Publishers Weekly
“[Porder] takes the time to explain considerable data to skeptics. . . . And this scientific information is made even more accessible because of Porder’s engaging storytelling and views of different milieus like farms to illustrate what more sustainable alternatives could look like.”—Joseph S. Pete, Foreword Reviews
“Porder writes with precision, style, clarity and logic. . . . [He] offers a way forward, filled with optimism and driven by consumers of energy, by regular folks, by you and me.”—David Gascoigne, Travels with Birds
“Entertaining and enlightening, Elemental reframes the history of life and today’s environmental challenges through the basic building blocks of life’s formula—a mind-expanding treat.”—David R. Montgomery, coauthor of The Hidden Half of Nature and What Your Food Ate
“Elemental is both a history of life and a glimpse into the future. Stephen Porder offers a fascinating new perspective on why the planet’s in trouble and what we can do about it.”—Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
“Porder’s accessible prose guides us through our planet’s intricate, elegant cycling of five life-sustaining elements. Through the lens of geologic time, humans’ capacity to alter these cycles is not unique, but our ability to shape the future is in our hands. Porder provides a critical, can-do perspective amidst the angst about the current climate emergency.”—Ruth DeFries, author of What Would Nature Do? A Guide for Our Uncertain Times
“In Elemental, Stephen Porder explains why humans are both part and parcel of an Earth system that has endured for billions of years and a rare departure from the norm. His engaging, accessible, and ultimately optimistic account illuminates the remarkable innovations of modern humans, their consequences for the Earth as a whole, and what we can do to safeguard our environmental future.”—Andrew H. Knoll, author of A Brief History of Earth: Four Billion Years in Eight Chapters
“Stephen Porder has written an accessible primer on the deep origins of Earth’s carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorous cycles—the remarkable but under-appreciated system of checks and balances that makes the world habitable. Elemental is essential reading for anyone who eats, breathes, or requires water, and a civics lesson on how we can all become better biogeochemical citizens.”—Marcia Bjornerud, author of Timefulness: How Thinking like a Geologist Can Help Save the World
“What makes life on Earth possible? A simple question, but as Stephen Porder shows us, the answer is fascinating, complex, and absolutely vital. Part engaging tour through science at the intersection of biology and chemistry, part deep history that gives us tools for the future, Elemental gives us a lively look at the stuff of life itself.”—Bathsheba Demuth, author of Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait