Life Is Good: Conservation in an Age of Mass Extinction
This bold, well-researched collection of essays by environmental reporter Hance challenges readers to look beyond the current tactics of wildlife and habitat conservation: protecting small pieces of land and restoring individual species to them, breeding endangered species, and collecting money for the saving of animals that are large, charismatic, and cute. Instead, Hance documents how changes caused by human intervention affect whole ecosystems and could influence not only the survival of endangered species but the survival of humanity itself. Some essays highlight a specific problem—e.g., jellyfish bloom in overfished marine habitats; the failure of trickle-down conservation; the loss of massive movements of migratory animals as roads and development divide their routes—while others are more personal, sharing the author's love of camera traps, his frustration with the language of entertainment ecotourism, and his thoughts on the beauty of viewing leatherback turtles firsthand. Overall, the collection manages to raise environmental alarms without falling into hopeless predictions of doom. And Hance urges a knowledge- and science-based approach to conservation, while also exhorting readers to allow themselves to feel a sense of awe when interacting with other creatures.