It’s thrilling to begin to see my first book crop up in lists of books on this glorious Bookshop.org site and I’m delighted to have been asked to curate a list of nature writing books.
My first book, I Belong Here: A Journey Along the Backbone of Britain, is the first in my trilogy of nature writing books, and is published the same month as Earth Day, a fitting time for celebrating nature books throughout the ages.
Earth Day is marked by more than a billion people every year and was first founded in 1970 inspiring millions to take to the streets to demonstrate against the impacts of industrial development which had damaged the environment and caused a legacy of serious human health impacts. Protests and massive coast-to-coast rallies had a galvanising effect. “Our world needs transformational change”, asserts the movement. Earth Day has since grown into a global movement and this year US president Joe Biden will begin his world leaders summit by addressing the climate crisis on Earth Day.
I Belong Here very much shares the spirit of protest, and I wrote it as a clarion call – a way of saying that we are a part of, not apart from, nature, that nature belongs as much to the world as we humans do, that not only all human beings but every creature great and small belongs here.
Nature has grown through the pages of literature for centuries, from ancient Sanskrit poetry to the wild moorland of the Bronte sisters and beyond, and reading about nature can help us to care for and empathise with it better – and remind us that we should of course put into practice our care for the planet every single day.