Quote for Week Ending 8 March 2019—Lorraine Shannon

Our Once and Future Planet, Paddy WoodworthUniversity of Chicago Press, 2013.

Our Once and Future Planet explores the area of environmental experimentation and innovation known as ecological restoration. This is the practice of attempting to fix disruptions to the natural world caused by centuries of human activity. Woodworth provides examples from around the globe where groups are “attempting to use cutting-edge science to restore blighted, polluted, and otherwise troubled landscapes to states of ecological health.”

This form of restoration sometimes requires the destruction of very large numbers of invasive species to make room for long-departed native ones and can therefore be a source of contention involving poor communication, clashing ideologies, limited resources and uncertain science. However, Woodworth claims “there is nothing inevitable about humanity’s role as the Bad Guy of Planet Earth” and cites the example of New Zealand where “leaders recognize that one of the vital roles of restoration projects is the building of citizen awareness and political activism.”

This book is well worth a read, although it is somewhat wordy. Useful published comparisons on ecological restoration include George Monbiot, Feral, Allen and Unwin, 2013 and Emma Harris, Rambunctious Garden, Bloomsbury, 2011.