Back to Nature: How to love life – and save it


  • Back to Nature: How to love life – and save it by Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin (Two Roads Books, London, 2020).
  • 304 pages.
  • ISBN 9781529350395. Hbk, £20.

The subtitle of this new book from well-known TV naturalist Chris Packham and his step-daughter Megan McCubbin – how to love life – is telling. Life, not 'wildlife', which for too long has distanced us from the rest of life on this planet. The distinction separates those of us who are 'interested' from those who range from 'can't be bothered' to the positively antagonistic. In reality, we and wildlife in all its wonderful forms are in this together: life on earth – Attenborough had it right long ago.

This is an intensely personal book and the authors tell some alarming tales that will shake many readers, but will the right people care or respond? For example, when Chris questioned the use of the devastating weed-killer glyphosate and the National Farmers' Union promptly demanded that he be sacked by the BBC.

There are many such stories and readers will undoubtedly share Chris's and Megan's anger; this is an angry book. Chris reckons he has lost far more battles for wildlife than he has won: as, I suspect, have most wildlife conservation organisations.

Yet there is hope, too, and some great evocations of what it is we are all trying to save. There is an awful lot going on, much of it positive. But, while not all are quite so environmentally calamitous as Trump and Bolsonaro, will politicians and all-powerful businessmen really take action?

Written by: Rob Hume