The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild

“Tired of writing the obituary of the ocean,” as he puts it, former university professor Dr. Enric Sala left his life of academia to become a full-time conservationist as a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. Founding the Pristine Seas in 2008, he spent weeks at sea, dove thousands of hours, and sought out some of the least explored and understood places in the ocean. The project combines exploration, research, and media to inspire the world’s leaders to protect the last wild places in the ocean. Dr. Sala and his team of scientists and filmmakers work to find and capture areas that need protection. 

To date, Pristine Seas has helped to create 22 of the largest marine reserves on the planet, covering an area of 5.8 million square km. Inspiring the creation of protected areas, while ensuring effective management for years to come is just one goal of many for Dr. Sala. Now, he hopes to remind the species, not only most at fault for the ocean’s changing tide but also the most capable to fix it, us. 

In his book, Dr. Sala makes easily digestible for the average person what is happening in our oceans and on our planet due to climate change and habitat destruction and how to solve it. However, again, the answer is quite simple, it’s all around us. Humans are nature, the world we live in is natural, and we only need to look into it to solve our current crisis. The book aims to answer how, “if it’s so difficult to keep even small ecosystems stable enough to sustain the life of a handful of humans, how do nine million species of plants and animals, a trillion species of microbes coexist and allow for our survival?”

Somewhere along the way he points out, we as a species became obsessed with controlling nature and not living within it. His revelations are surprising and sometimes seem counterintuitive.  “Crop diversity is the key to feeding the planet, not intensive monoculture farming, and more sharks signal a healthier ocean.” Dr. Sala shows the economic wisdom and monetary value of making room for nature, even as the population becomes more urbanized and industrialized. He shows, using fascinating examples from his expeditions and those of other scientists, how saving nature can help to reverse the conditions that led to the coronavirus pandemic and prevent further global catastrophes.

You can purchase the book here