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Mark Lynas is a convert. He disparaged nuclear power in the past but now regards it as the ‘world’s most promising source of low-carbon power’
The Great Barrier Reef, writes Iain McCalman, has taken many shapes and forms in the human imagination: ‘A labyrinth of terror, a nurturing heartland, a scientific challenge, and a fragile global wonder’
The Longitude Act of 1714, offering £20,000 to anyone devising a method of calculating longitude at sea to an accuracy of one degree, was ‘an unprecedented moment when natural philosophers put a scientific problem on the political and national agenda’
In Germany, Frank Uekötter notes, environmentalism is so entwined with national identity it’s as if ‘Germans have finally found a type of patriotism that is truly safe’
There’s an Arab proverb: ‘When Allah created Hell, he thought he could improve on it, so he added flies and called it Mesopotamia.’ Much the same has been said about Baghdad, capital city of Mesopotamia, or Iraq as it became known
According to official figures, our windswept moorlands account for just six per cent of the UK’s total area, which, despite drainage, grazing, tourism and other development, is only slightly less than the statistic from the 19th century
Alastair Humphreys informs us that he has ‘visited almost half the countries on Earth’ and indulged in his share of epic exploits: ‘I have rowed and sailed across oceans, walked across deserts and cycled across continents’
Carefully selected from Pisani's years living and working in Indonesia, and also her more recent travels, the characters that populate Indonesia Etc are diverse and vividly described, fittingly for what she describes as ‘this kaleidoscope nation’

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