The environmental movement is plagued by pessimism. And that's t unreasonable: with so many complicated, seemingly intractable problems facing the planet, coupled with a need to convince people of the dangers we face, it's hard t to focus on the negative. But that paints an unbalanced - and overly disheartening - picture of what's going on with environmental stewardship today. There are success stories, and Our Once and Future Planet delivers a fascinating account of one of the most impressive areas of current environmental experimentation and invation: ecological restoration. Veteran investigative reporter Paddy Woodworth has spent years traveling the globe and talking with people - scientists, politicians, and ordinary citizens - who are working on the front lines of the battle against environmental degradation. At sites ranging from Mexico to New Zealand and Chicago to Cape Town, Woodworth shows us the striking successes (and a few humbling failures) of groups that are attempting to use cutting-edge science to restore blighted, polluted, and otherwise troubled landscapes to states of ecological health-and, in some of the most controversial cases, to particular moments in historical time, before widespread human intervention. His firsthand field reports and interviews with participants reveal the promise, power, and limitations of restoration. Ecological restoration alone won't solve the myriad problems facing our environment. But Our Once and Future Planet demonstrates the role it can play, and the hope, inspiration, and new kwledge that can come from saving even one small patch of earth.
Paddy Woodworth was a staff journalist at the Irish Times from 1988 to 2002 and is the author of Dirty War, Clean Hands and The Basque Country.