Tuesday 22 November 2022

Back to Nature by Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin


 Chris Packham and his step daughter Megan McCubbin are best known for appearing in the BBC TV series Springwatch and its spin offs Autumnwatch and Winterwatch. Both have also been involved in campaigning to conserve the UKs wildlife.

Back to Nature is a book the two of them wrote largely during the COVID-19 lockdown. It's a celebration of British wildlife and a plea to conserve what we have. It reads like an episode of Springwatch in some ways with both Chris and Meghan taking it in turns to write sections and with lots of different topics all thrown into the mix. Topics include the state of the UKs national parks; the failure of our governments (or our governmental agencies such as NatureScot or English Nature) to properly protect wildlife; the pros and cons of planting trees (basically make sure they're the right trees in the right place and look after them after planting); issues around how new developments impact on wildlife; climate change and how it's a much bigger challenge than the COVID pandemic;

Chris is in typical combative mode, pointing out for example that the wildlife we often say we've lost, we haven't in fact lost, but have destroyed, either directly (eg shooting) or indirectly (eg building over prime habitats). He calls for a major overhaul of our governmental agencies that so clearly fail to protect what they're supposed to protect and suggests we need to replace them with apolitical organisations that are staffed only by people who are experts committed to saving nature. He also shares a personal story about his youthful fondness for a group of badgers that lived near his home, and how devastated he was when their sett was destroyed to make way for a new development. 

There's a discussion here too about why nature should be protected and a great quote from Lord Sandford, speaking in 1974 when he was chairing the National Parks Policy Review Committee: "If there's a conflict between protecting the environment and people enjoying the environment that can't be resolved by management, then protecting the environment is more important."

This is a comprehensive overview of the plight of wildlife in the UK and manages to be both entertaining and sobering at the same time. 

Back to Nature by Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin published (2021) by Two Roads.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Sounds like a worthwhile read. I liked the idea that protecting the environment for its sake is more important than our human voyageristic tendencies