Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction Is Summer Reading for the Class of 2022

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert is this year’s required reading for undergraduates entering the Steinhardt School this fall.  The book will be discussed in the New Student Seminar, a course that acquaints students with their new academic community and offers them a way to explore their role using the themes raised in the reading as a guide.

In her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Kolbert looks at the impact that extinction has on our planet.  She documents five mass extinctions when the diversity of life on earth was dramatically altered and warns that we are in the midst of a massive loss of biodiversity, a sixth extinction, which could result in the disappearance of almost half of all living species on the earth within this century.

“This year we will ask our students to think about themselves as a piece of a delicately balanced ecosystem,” said Patricia Carey, associate dean of student affairs. “We will be looking at our place in the world and thinking about how our species has altered some of the most beautiful life on this planet.”

In October, students will convene with Steinhardt’s deans and faculty for the Dean’s Convocation for New Undergraduate Students where they will discuss The Sixth Extinction from a multi-disciplinary perspective.  

“We will be exploring what we can do to impact the world and what keys our programs at NYU Steinhardt hold to create a more sustainable world,” Carey said.