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The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Michael McCarthy saturates this collection of nature essays with evocative and compelling prose that made me close my eyes and recall my own childhood memories of nature.  As a child, McCarthy fell in love with the natural world that surrounded his home in Liverpool; the estuaries, fields, birds, butterflies, and moths.  McCarthy uses these formative experiences to argue for the importance and preservation of nature.  Amidst his lyrical joy, McCarthy details the environmental destruction he's witnessed in the last fify years.  Beautifull written, his message of desperation is clear, " Love what we have, protect it absolutely."

— From Charlotte's Picks


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.

About the Author

Michael McCarthy is known for his award-winning writings on the environment and the natural world, including his book-length works The Moth Snowstorm and Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo. He was the environment correspondent for The Times (London) and later the environment editor at The Independent. He has been the recipient of the Specialist Writer of the Year Award in the British Press Awards, the Medal of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for "outstanding services to conservation," and the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London. He lives in the United Kingdom.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781681372426
ISBN-10: 1681372428
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018
Pages: 272
Language: English