The book is called Wildflower Wonders – The 50 Best Wildflower Sites in the World, a brand new offering by Bob Gibbons, from Princeton University Press.
At first I was delighted – and I still am – but after leafing through page after page of sweeping vistas of exuberant blooms – across mountainsides, prairies, Alpine meadows, deserts, marshes, ocean sides, it hit me:
These places are not just glorious – they are vulnerable.
We could lose them all.
In a heartbeat.
The Earth is losing wild lands like these, and the critical habitats and sustenance they offer wildlife, and us, at an alarming rate.
Well, not even ‘losing’.
We are destroying them.
Much of it is unintentional, even accidental – pollution, introduced species,climate change – and the disease and rainfall patterns that change with it – but a lot of it is from cavalier negligence. ‘Progress’ at all costs. Burgeoning human populations relentlessly expanding into the last reaches of our fragile globe.
Usually I write about wildlife – the wolf wars, whale wars, the wars on wildlife being waged openly and with gruesome giddiness by profiteers.
I write about how wind farms, in their current incarnation, decimate birds and bats by the millions while gobbling up untold numbers of acres of sensitive, critical habitat for everything from prairie chickens to clams (off shore installations disrupt fisheries as well) all the under the guise of ‘green’ energy.
But this attractive book, with its sheer exuberance and wonder, brings it all together.
This is what we stand to lose – the beauty, the diversity, the soul-balm of Nature at her best.
This is what we mustn’t lose.
Plants, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals – all are intricately interconnected. Gifts Humanity was given to care for and cherish, not to exploit and vandalize.
Maybe it’s time to re-think the priorities of Man.
Maybe it’s time to take this moment in history, when economic collapse is following right on the heels of one of the biggest mass extinction events in the planet’s history (this one triggered entirely by Human activity), as the warning alarm that it is.
We must change how we do business on this world.
We must change how we relate to the planet.
Buy this beautiful book. Give it to your friends for Christmas.
Remind people of what’s at risk – the one deep, inarguable, inexcusable loss of what we were so generously given:
Wildflower Wonders – The 50 Best Wildflower Sites in the World, by Bob Gibbons, with a foreword by Richard Mabey, is available from Princeton University Press 2011, for US $27.95.