One Planet: A Celebration of Biodiversity

Nicholas Hulot, Author . Abrams $55 (381p) ISBN 978-0-8109-5534-9

In an effort to reawaken our consciousness of the environment, this hefty volume offers text about and photographs (taken by a team of more than 20 nature photographers) of eight modern ecosystems: oceans, deserts, grasslands, polar regions, wetlands, mountains, forests and cities. Including pictures portraying the beauty of the natural world as well as images of its destruction, French nature writer Hulot and the foundation bearing his name succeed in emphasizing humans' not always salubrious influence on biodiversity, from sea snails of the ocean floor to the common city rat. The photographs—whether stunning or shocking, like that of a gory fish market in Tokyo and one of a stork trapped in a plastic bag are much more effective for Hulot's environmental project than the brief, condemning text, characterized by words like "selfish," "pitiful," "pathetic" and "sickening." The juxtaposition of clichéd images (a clownfish in a sea anemone and an otter floating on its back) with those of a rusted ship hulk marooned in the desert, circular hollows used to collect salt in Niger and an aerial view of crop irrigation offers an innovative picture of modern ecosystems. With more than 300 full-color pages, this volume offers a look into the near and far reaches of the world, which share the common consequences of an advancing human population. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/08/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
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