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One Planet. A Celebration of Biodiversity

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

WITH global warming and its potentially devastating consequences now a major issue, there’s never been a better time to explore Nicolas Hulot’s beautiful and, at times, shocking book One Planet. A Celebration of Biodiversity.

And the reason is a simple one. Hulot is a man who cares passionately about the long-term future of Earth. So much so, in fact, that in 1990, he set up the foundation that bears his name (The Nicolas Hulot Foundation).

Its aim is to raise awareness of the richness and vulnerability of the natural world and ultimately, to persuade us – the dominant species – to play a part in safeguarding its future.

What the book does is reinforce that objective by examining the Earth’s biodiversity. To this end, eight ecosystems (oceans, deserts, grasslands, polar regions, wetlands, mountains, forests and cities) are described in detail and in all their complexity, frequently referencing the unique experiences of Hulot and his foundation.

And supporting Hulot’s text are a series of breathtaking images by some of the world’s greatest photographers. I could mention names but there are too many and I would be doing a grave injustice to those I omit.

Together, they prove beyond doubt that the Earth is beautiful. But don’t be fooled. At the turn of a page, all that can change. For interspersed with stunning images of the natural world are images that will shock. As indeed they are meant to.

So while opinions may differ with regards to global warming, there can be no doubt that man (homo sapiens) has much to answer for when it comes to pollution, habitat destruction (in itself responsible for many endangered species) and erosion of biodiversity.

We might, therefore, do well to remember that all living species (and there are two million of them on Earth) are continuously interacting, and that man’s survival ultimately depends on the ability of nature to adapt. For that to happen, the natural world in all its many forms must continue to thrive.

One Planet. A Celebration of Biodiversity is a beautiful book. It’s also one with an important message – perhaps the most important that we, as a species, will ever hear. Let us hope that it’s not too late – that homo sapiens will indeed be wise.