Reviewed by Anne Montgomery.
Part of one review, quoted on the beautiful cover, says "A great rhapsodic, urgent book, full of joy, grief, rage and love, and it is hard to better this description.
The author brings to life the sheer wonder of the natural world around us, telling how he fell in love with butterflies when very young, his solitary birdwatching expeditions as a teenager, to the salt flats and marshes of the great Dee estuary south of Birkenhead, and there is a haunting memoir, and tribute to his mother.
The main thread of the book is his extensive knowledge, and fascination with, the interdependence of everything on Planet Earth, and how, if you destroy one species, no matter what, it begins the destruction of the whole.
He takes the defining moment of the downward slide as 1968. That was when the true impact of the homo sapiens explosion really became apparent, and it was also when Apollo 8 first left earth's orbit and emerged from behind the moon's dark side, and the crew saw, and photographed, the astounding sight of an exquisite blue sphere hanging in the blackness of space. This picture, known as "Earthrise" was one of the profoundest events in human history, because it was the first time man had ever seen earth from a distance, bringing home to us that not only was earth impossibly beautiful, but impossibly fragile too, as well as finite. Only the one, and we, homo sapiens, have nowhere else to go.
A beautiful, moving account of what we have lost, and are losing at an ever increasing rate, and he questions how man can regain his vital interconnection with nature, which is in all of us, however deeply buried. This is not one of your "bunny hugging", "greenie" books, but a serious look at our environment, conservation and awareness efforts over many years. He rightly points out that only one species is totally destructive of the natural environment, and that is us, homo sapiens, and his vision of the future is sobering, and very stark indeed.
This is a book I shall keep and re-read, time and again, because while it is full of grief and rage, it is also full of joy and love, to give us hope.