The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy

Author(s): Michael McCarthy

Natural History and Environment

Now available in paperback, The Moth Snowstorm is a one-of-a-kind environmental work that combines memoir, anecodotes, and hard facts to make a case for preserving an ever-dwindling natural world.


 


The moth snowstorm, a phenomenon Michael McCarthy remembers from his boyhood when moths "would pack a car's headlight beams like snowflakes in a blizzard," is a distant memory. Wildlife is being lost, not only in the wholesale extinctions of species but also in the dwindling of those species that still exist.


 


The Moth Snowstorm is unlike any other book about climate change today; combining the personal with the polemical, it is a manifesto rooted in experience, a poignant memoir of the author's first love: nature. McCarthy traces his adoration of the natural world to when he was seven, when the discovery of butterflies and birds brought sudden joy to a boy whose mother had just been hospitalized and whose family life was deteriorating. He goes on to record in painful detail the rapid dissolution of nature's abundance in the intervening decades, and he proposes a radical solution to our current problem: that we each recognize in ourselves the capacity to love the natural world.


 


Arguing that neither sustainable development nor ecosystem services have provided adequate defense against pollution, habitat destruction, species degradation, and climate change, McCarthy asks us to consider nature as an intrinsic good and an emotional and spiritual resource, capable of inspiring joy, wonder, and even love. An award-winning environmental journalist, McCarthy presents a clear, well-documented picture of what he calls "the great thinning" around the world, while interweaving the story of his own early discovery of the wilderness and a childhood saved by nature. Drawing on the truths of poets, the studies of scientists, and the author's long experience in the field, The Moth Snowstorm is part elegy, part ode, and part argument, resulting in a passionate call to action.

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A great, rhapsodic, urgent book full of joy, grief, rage and love. The Moth Snowstorm is at once a deeply affecting memoir and a heartbreaking account of ecological impoverishment. It fights against indifference, shines with the deep magic and beauty of the non-human lives around us, and shows how their loss lessens us all. A must-read Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk An important book about an important subject - the loss of biodiversity locally, nationally and internationally, what this means for humanity and how it could possibly be avoided ... The main argument is that we all have in us the capacity to experience joy and wonder from nature ... Michael McCarthy is a professional journalist and an accomplished and experienced writer who handles his themes skilfully Irish Examiner Impassioned, polemical and personal ... In the autobiographical passages nature is a marvel and a solace. [McCarthy's] descriptions of the night-time clouds of moths - the moth snowstorms of the title - that we saw in the days before farming ruined so much natural habitat are unforgettable, and his recollections of boyhood bird-watching on the River Dee Bay a delight ... At its heart, this is a book aiming to persuade those who are broadly sympathetic to think in a different way, and in that it is surely a success - and a joy Independent A fascinating and very readable book ... full of joy and wonder and luminous moments ... McCarthy is a man who remembers not only the Observer's Book of Birds but the set of Brooke Bond tea cards featuring Charles Tunnicliffe's beautiful bird pictures. But you don't have to be of a similar vintage to enjoy this expansive celebration of a subject too often overlooked in the ongoing discourse about man and nature - sheer joy Dabbler McCarthy has for years been the doyen of environmental correspondents ... he is conversant with the hard facts, the political realities and the moral complexities of the conservation world. But he writes also as a man inspired by the beauty, diversity and abundance of the natural world that we are destroying. This combination of worldly wisdom and deeply felt personal experience makes this a highly original and refreshing account of our current predicament TLS Deserves to be widely read Scotsman Environmental correspondent Michael McCarthy makes an impassioned plea on behalf of the natural world in this inspiring book Sunday Express The natural world, whether birdsong, butterflies or wild flowers, can give us joy. It can bring us peace. The ability of nature to do this, through a sense of awe, is articulated beautifully in a book by Michael McCarthy, The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy. His quest to track down every British butterfly as a tribute to his dead mother brought me to tears Sunday Times A deeply troubling book by one of Britain's foremost journalists on the politics of nature. The case he lays bare in the opening chapters is compelling stuff. Essentially he argues that the world of wild creatures, plants, trees and whole habitats - you name it - is going to Hell in a handcart ... powerful, heartfelt and compelling The Spectator As much as joy, it's a beautiful book about love, damage, and the possibility of redemption Press Association You could do worse to catch up than to read a single chapter in Michael McCarthy's new book, The Moth Snowstorm ... the one entitled 'The Great Thinning' ... powerfully and succinctly summarises the unfolding national story New Statesman More than a simple paean to the glories of the wild world. It is also an impassioned protest against its destruction Daily Mail In his beautiful book ... Michael McCarthy suggests that a capacity to love the natural world, rather than merely to exist within it, might be a uniquely human trait Guardian A mixture of memoir, elegy to nature, and a call to arms ... this is a profound urgent book, among its strength an appreciation of the small things - the common precious treasures of birdsong, butterflies and moths that we all, whatever our stance, stand to lose Country Life I found joy following McCarthy's stories, particularly those of the futile attempts to return salmon to the Thames and the tragic loss of sparrows from London ... His personal revelations are moving, and The Moth Snowstorm left me as grief-stricken as any environmental journalist must be after a career digesting facts such as that, by 2020, the volume of urban rubbish generated in China is expected to reach 400m tonnes - equivalent to the entire world's trash in 1997 Guardian A bold new defence of a natural world under great threat BBC Countryfile Magazine [A] moving memoir New Statesman Unquestionably my nature book of the year - an intensely moving and intelligent plea for 'joy' to be counted the most powerful reason for valuing the natural world. McCarthy's starting point is the vivid recollection of a veritable snowstorm of moths in car headlights when he was young. With glorious originality, he makes an unanswerable case for us to start proclaiming 'a new kind of love' from the rooftops. Can you attach a cost-benefit analysis to what a walk in fields listening to birdsong can do for the human spirit? No. That's why everybody should read this angry, beautiful and passionate book Daily Mail This is a book about the joy the natural world can engender - even in the face of its decline. McCarthy synthesises the two main literary reposnses to the current crisis, provoking shock at the scale of Britain's recent loss of abundance and a sense of awe and (most importantly) love that may prove nature's best defence. If you read one book from this selection make it The Moth Snowstorm The Times, Books of the Year Elegiac Guardian Offers a necessary corrective Irish Times, Books of the Year

Michael McCarthy is one of Britain's leading writers on the environment. Formerly environment correspondent of The Times, for the last ten years he has been environment editor of the Independent. He has three times been named as Environment Reporter of The Year. In 2007 he was awarded the Medal of the RSPB, for an outstanding contribution to conservation. This was the only occasion in the 100-year history of the RSPB Medal that it has been awarded to a journalist.

General Fields

  • : 9781444792799
  • : Hodder & Stoughton
  • : John Murray
  • : 0.196
  • : April 2016
  • : 200mm X 144mm X 17mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : February 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Michael McCarthy
  • : Paperback
  • : English
  • : 508
  • : 272