It is so easy to be pessimistic about our planet’s future when Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is vowing to criminalize climate change boycotts and “radical protests” and Trump withdraws from the Paris Climate Agreement. Bees are dying and butterflies are disappearing and our recycling is ending up in landfills. So, reading Nature’s Best Hope was a breath of fresh air. Tallamy doesn’t just tell us the problem, he tells us what we can do, how to do it, and assures us that we can make a difference.

The thing is, even if governments are resistant to doing what is necessary, people are eager to act. Change is possible. Look how quickly people switched from aerosol to pump spray. Only the belligerent continue to use incandescent bulbs. People would do more if they knew what to do and Tallamy explains something they can do that would be transformative if enough folks did it.

You see, those of us who have yards could create a “Homegrown National Park” with native plants that are friendly to bugs and birds, we could make sure there is loose enough soil for burrowing and enough mess for nesting. He points to the High Line planting in the middle of Manhattan and the amazing diversity of life it sustains.

Nature’s Best Hope is a book every single person should read. Most books about the problems the world faces are 95% problem and 5% solution, usually they have a solution that requires a political maturity unknown in this country. Nature’s Best Hope is the opposite of this; it is all about solutions and far easier solutions than people might think. Tallamy is a realist, he explains how to work with homeowner associations and not upset the neighbors, yet still foster the resurgence of many species of birds and insects.

He writes with a comfortable tone, serious, but not hectoring. He shares his own mistakes and does an extraordinary job of crediting the work of others, even his own students. It is so rare to read a hopeful book, that it makes me want to read again and again. He makes changing our horrible trajectory seem so possible and plausible that I want to get started yesterday.

Nature’s Best Hope will be released February 4th. I received an ARC from the publisher through Shelf Awareness.

Nature’s Best Hope at Timber Press | Workman Publishing

Douglas W. Tallamy Bringing Nature Home author site