Perhaps then this is a book for readers who don’t already count themselves among the extremely alarmed: the anxious, or relatively deft with ideas around climate catastrophe and its causes, those without a keen interest in the rest of nature that is already self-assured.
This is a book you read if you still need convincing, although it is so thorough that it is also sure to fill any gaps in anyone’s knowledge, and fix itself as a handy reference compendium for the bookshelf, a doorstop of studies to throw at people telling you time spent in the living world is an indulgence.
It’s easy to poke fun at such earnestness, but Jones disarms us early on by sketching her troubled life. Her childhood love of nature was extinguished at 14 when something made her turn to alcohol, in industrial quantities. Cocaine followed and then, at 17, mental breakdown. Four things, she says, aided her recovery: psychiatry and medicine, psychotherapy, the support of family and friends — and reconnecting with nature. She started taking daily walks on Walthamstow Marshes in London. “The world glowed, and it cooled my mind,” she writes, in typically poetic mode. “Nature softened the edges and sharp angles and stroked my hair and held my hand.”