Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle
ACCORDING to the English dictionary (Collins Gem) wilderness
is, by definition, desert, waste place; state of desolation or
And its companion Thesaurus adds jungle, waste, wasteland and
wild to the list - words that do little or no justice to Earth's
last wild places as presented by Cemex in their modestly entitled
Cemex, as well as being an international cement company, is a
respected leader in the field of conservation and has worked alongside
Agrupacion Sierra Madre and Conservation International to produce
this magnificent book which, by its very nature, highlights and
thereby promotes their cause.
So why, might you ask, is conservation, particularly of Earth's
wild places, so important?
Described as 'the last great storehouses of biodiversity', wilderness
encompasses 'the species, ecosystems and ecological processes
that make our planet what it is', and without which, it would
be a poorer place.
There are, of course, the scientific explanations, but the aesthetic
appeal to mankind has not been overlooked and is abundantly clear
in the book's wonderful compilation of truly outstanding photographs.
Suffice to say that images from the world's best photographers
have been included, for to mention only a handful by name, would
be a gross injustice to the rest.
And the range is formidable. Everything from the simplest creature
to the most spectacular scenery on Earth is depicted, as are the
peoples whose lives depend on both, making it a fitting testament
to the symbiotic nature of conservation and biodiversity.
Wilderness is a BIG book and like Volcanoes,
not one meant for curling up with in an armchair. It's much too
large and heavy for that.
To be fully appreciated, a table and good light are essential,
for only then, can its true potential be realized.
And the rewards? Many hours of pleasure.