Reviews

Watership Down, by Richard Adams, had a profound impact on a generation of children after it was published in 1972. A remake of the film is now in production.

Land Lines: capturing our relationship with the natural world

Elizabeth Wainwright
| 15th November 2017
Our bond with the natural world is ever changing. To look at how books capture this shifting relationship, new research project ‘Land Lines’ is looking for the nation’s favourite nature book. And The Ecologist will be launching a new series of book reviews to celebrate and learn from nature writing, writes ELIZABETH WAINWRIGHT. Interested? -- You can get involved in both.

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Wendell Berry - poet, essayist, farmer, activist, rural philosopher

Harriet Griffey
Cultural Editor
| 10th July 2017
How do you define a man who has been at the forefront of the environmental movement of America for over 50 years - poet, essayist, environmentalist, farmer, activist, philosopher? Wendell Berry is all these and now his life's work sits at the heart, writes HARRIET GRIFFEY, of Look and See - a newly-released film about his life and philosophy

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The Tree Line: Poems for Trees, Woods & People

Harriet Griffey
Cultural Editor
| 2nd June 2017
There's a certain irony that the publication of a new anthology of poems about trees coincided with President Trump's announcement yesterday that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, writes HARRIET GRIFFEY

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Bacon with nipple: Still from 'Carnage' by Simon Amstell / BBC iPlayer.

'Carnage' imagines a vegan utopia where animals live as equals - could it happen?

Matthew Adams
University of Brighton
| 28th March 2017
In the year 2067, the eating of meat - carnism - will be seen as crime similar to cannibalism today, writes Matthew Adams. That is, in the fertile imagination of Simon Amstell, expressed in his BBC iPlayer film 'Carnage'. With 55 billion animals slaughtered every year for their meat, the vision looks remote. But the world will be a far better place if we begin the transition to plant-based diets - for our health, that of the planet, and not least, the animals themselves.

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From front cover of 'Slugs and Snails by Robert Cameron, published by Harper Collins.

Slugs and snails

Martin Spray
| 7th March 2017
In this long-anticipated volume, Robert Cameron introduces us to the natural history of slugs and snails of the British Isles, writes Martin Spray, also venturing across the world to explore the wide range of structures and ways of life of slugs and snails, particularly their sometimes bizarre mating habits, which in turn help to illuminate the ways in which evolution has shaped the living world.

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Bobby the Brown Long-Eared Bat. Image - from website: bobbythebrownlong-earedbat.co.uk.

Twinkle, twinkle ... Bobby the Brown Long-Eared Bat

Lesley Docksey
| 17th January 2017
This charming and beautifully illustrated story book will give pleasure to children everywhere, writes Lesley Docksey. It will also open their eyes (and with luck, those of parents and siblings) to the wonderful world of bats, and what we can do to look after them.

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From front cover of 'The man who ate the zoo' by Richard Girling, published by Chatto & Windus.

Frank Buckland: 'the man who ate the zoo'

Martin Spray
| 8th November 2016
As Victorian eccentrics go, Frank Buckland was a prime specimen, writes Martin Spray. But this new book about his rich and remarkable life is much more than a collection of anecdotes about his extraordinary doings, his inordinate curiosity about the natural world, and the animals he kept - and ate: a stimulating companion for wet days, cold evenings and wakeful nights.

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You say you want a revolution?

Harriet Griffey
Cultural Editor
| 3rd November 2016
The latest blockbuster exhibition from the V&A celebrates the music of its time and those who are forever linked to it, and one of the key outcomes of this counter-culture revolution was the very first Earth Day on April 22nd 1970.

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Cover shot of trapped badger used for the new edition of 'The Fate of the Badger' by Richard Meyer, published by Fire-raven Writing.

'The Fate of the Badger': the great badger scapegoating conspiracy

Lesley Docksey
| 11th October 2016
Thirty years ago, there was no evidence that badgers spread bovine TB among cattle, writes Lesley Docksey. Nor is there now. Yet badgers are still being slaughtered in a futile attempt to control the disease. This timely republication of Richard Meyer's 1986 book reveals the belligerent ignorance of the officials, politicians and farmers driving the failed policy.

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The derelict B30 pond at Sellafield, used for the storage of intensely radioactive waste, in 2006. Photo: unknown / Public Domain.

Sellafield exposed: the nonsense of nuclear fuel reprocessing

Ian Fairlie
| 6th September 2016
Last night's BBC Panorama programme did a good job at lifting the lid on Britain's ongoing nuclear disaster that is Sellafield, writes Ian Fairlie. But it failed to expose the full scandal of the UK's 'reprocessing' of spent fuel into 140 tonnes of plutonium, enough to build 20,000 nuclear bombs - while leaving £100s of billions of maintenance and cleanup costs to future generations.

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Front cover of 'Badgered to Death' by Dominic Dyer (exerpt), published by Canbury Press.

Why are our badgers ‘Badgered to Death'?

Lesley Docksey
| 23rd August 2016
With today's news that badger culling will continue in Gloucester, Somerset and Dorset, and take place in three other counties, writes LESLEY DOCKSEY, there could be no more opportune moment for Dominic Dyer's new book 'Badgered to Death' to appear - expertly exposing the total absence of scientific evidence that badgers transmit bovine TB to cattle.

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'The most perfect thing - inside (and outside ) a bird's egg' - from front cover.

The most perfect thing - inside (and outside) a bird's egg

Martin Spray
| 7th June 2016
Birds eggs are wonderful, as Tim Birkhead makes clear in his new book. But they are also enigmatic, mysterious, their secrets not lightly surrendered. Every kind of egg is perfect in its own way, writes Martin Spray, but the logic that underlies their characteristic designs, colours and shapes eludes the most assiduous of oologists.

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From front cover of 'Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming' by Andreas Malm (Verso Books).

Fossil Capital: the rise of steam power and the roots of global warming

Irma Allen
| 27th April 2016
We all know that coal and steam vanquished over water power in Britain's - and the world's - industrial revolution, writes Irma Allen. But as Andreas Malm sets out in his fascinating new book, the deciding factors in that victory were the unconstrained mastery over people and nature that coal provided mill owners. And so the model was set for the fossil age that may only now be coming to an end.

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Cambodian army soldiers attack Chut Wutty, November 2011. Photo: Vanessa de Smet Last Line Productions / N1M.

Banned: premiere of film probing Cambodian ecodefender's murder

Rod Harbinson
| 21st April 2016
A film investigating the 2012 murder of a forest defender has been banned by the Cambodian Government, writes Rod Harbinson. Chut Wutty's campaign to protect the forest on which his community depends clashed with powerful business and military interests. A first attack by soldiers was held off by campaigners, but...

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Contemporary illustration of Alexander von Humboldt - used in the cover of 'The Invention of Nature'.

The Invention of Nature: adventures of Alexander Humboldt, lost hero of science

Matt Mellen
| 3rd March 2016
Andrea Wulf's book about the remarkable 19th century explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt is welcome, opportune and a pleasure to read, writes Matt Mellen, packed as it is with high adventure and amazing discoveries. We have much to learn from him today in tackling the world's environmental crises; reading this book is an excellent - and enjoyable - way to begin.

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From front cover of 'Killing the Host' by Michael Hudson.

'Killing the Host': the financial system is destroying the global economy

Paul Craig Roberts
| 12th February 2016
The main engine of economic exploitation is the financial system's ever increasing extraction of value through interest payments, according to economist Michael Hudson. Paul Craig Roberts finds his analysis all too accurate, as the over-financialized economies of western countries head down a spiral of poverty, decline, injustice and despair.

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From front cover of HUMAN by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

HUMAN. A portrait of our world

Martin Spray
| 15th December 2015
Yann Arthus-Bertrand's latest book, 'Human', revisits the territory of 'Earth from Above', but with a harder edge, writes Martin Spray. Yes, the photographs are lovely, even inspirational, but often mix uneasily with the testimonies of suffering and desperate demands for change they illustrate.

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