Rescuing the Planet: Protecting Half the Land To Heal the Earth

Knopf. Mar. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780525654810. $27.95. NAT HIST
In this latest work, award-winning author Hiss (The Experience of Place) puts forth an ambitious proposal to protect half of the land of North America by the year 2050. Though consequences of not stepping up efforts will be dire, resulting in additional species loss, this book is not just another gloomy forecast; it offers several examples of similarly audacious plans that have been at least partially implemented and proven successful. The overall strategy involves protecting what survives, repairing what’s been damaged, connecting spaces that have been separated, collaborating, and bringing nature back into people’s daily lives. As Hiss shows, protection can be administered in varying degrees, with a meticulously protected inner zone surrounded by less stringently regulated buffer and transition zones. Linking individual protected areas into a continuous chain creates wildlife corridors, aiding preservation of species. Areas discussed include Banff National Park and the Appalachian Trail, along with projects in Arizona, Florida, Ohio, and more. Although the book includes historical context, the material is timely, citing 2020 research and referring to COVID-19 and the impact of Australian bush fires.
VERDICT An exceptional work that is highly recommended as a cohesive explanation of how small local projects can be pieces of larger efforts.
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