Sunday book review – Our Once and Future Planet by Paddy Woodworth

9780226907390I really wanted to like this book but I couldn’t quite do it.

It’s about restoring habitats – a subject on which I am very keen – and I have the feeling that I would enjoy a couple of beers with Mr Woodworth, but his book didn’t move me or thrill me.  I’ve had it for ages and I’ve kept picking it up but then I would put it down again feeling guilty that I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I felt I should.

There are lots of accounts of restoration projects across the world – and they are interesting.  We can travel to the American midwest, Ireland, Mexico and New Zealand  amongst other countries with Mr Woodward who spent seven years researching this book.  Habitat or ecosystem restoration or rehabilitation projects are difficult both practically and also economically and politically. It sometimes feels as though you are fighting nature on the one hand and people on the other.

Maybe you will get on with the book better than I did, and if you do then please comment here to say so.

I think it’s the writing that puts me off – and that is quite a personal issue.  I find there is too much detail that simply gets in the way of my understanding of the story in each chapter.  I don’t need to know the name of every person who crops up, fleetingly, in his travels (nor their nickname) and I don’t need to know the details of the geography to the extent it is sometimes revealed.  As I read the book I kept thinking that I ought to remember all this stuff because clearly it was going to be useful in a page or two, but it wasn’t.  And there are too many adjectives.

It’s quite American-based in terms of the people selected as the thought leaders – I’m not saying Woodworth is wrong, but many of the names don’t mean much to an English audience.

I’m sorry that this book wasn’t for me – I wanted it to be – but maybe it is for you.

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2 Replies to “Sunday book review – Our Once and Future Planet by Paddy Woodworth”

  1. I suppose it is difficult if not impossible to comment on a book until you read it. The subject is also not easy to understand. Should restoration take precedence over Conservation, i. e. keeping what we have rather than replacing it. Certainly in the UK we should keep what little we have left of Habitats. The present, and maybe future government do not see this as necessary. Destroy and re-invent seem to be the present policy. Is it not cheaper to leave things as they are, rather than remove and replant? OK, governments are probably looking at a maximum term of five years in office, but those that follow have to pick up the pieces. We only have our own lifetimes to do something positive for our Environment and wildlife. Just suppose when we are on our deathbeds that someone appears with a book detailing what we did or not do for wildlife. The results could mean where, if anywhere, we go next? Too late to do something then.

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