Sun, Apr 24, 2011 - Page 14 News List

Hardcover: UK: A quasi-religious view of the nature of nature

Diana Beresford-Kroeger presents a refreshing blend of poetry and factual detail on almost every page of ‘The Global Forest,’ which will likely gain a cult following

By Bradley Winterton  /  Contributing reporter

For the rest, themes common to conservationists duly take their place. The small farm is sustainable and preferable to agro-business. Hedgerows sustain life and shouldn’t be cut down. We ought only to take from nature what we really need. The oceans naturally sustain their life-forms, but we are poisoning the seas. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has doubled in the last two centuries, producing global warming. And so on.

It’s possible to get annoyed with this book while remaining entirely in favor of almost all of its arguments. And the effusive stylistic elements that might irritate over-critical readers are probably the very ones that will help The Global Forest become an international best-seller.

Often religious in tone, the book inevitably tends toward prophecy at times. Two scenarios present themselves. The first is that some celestial creator will eventually have had enough of mankind’s bungling and ask for applications from other species for the job of running the planet. The second is that this generation will continue its destructive work, only for our children and grandchildren to rise up in protest and come to nature’s aid. This line of thought is presumably the author’s favorite, as it’s with it that she ends the book.

Pocket-sized and not over-long, this book may well take its place in the hands of just that future generation of eco-warriors the author so optimistically envisages. The science supports the poetry in ways that may well make both appear invincible. And it’s impossible not to wish it well on its journey down the ages.

Though manifestly a product of our time, this book may well resonate with a wide variety of readers for many years to come. And the worse things get, the more desperately people will reach for comprehensive overviews such as The Global Forest for help.

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