Forget-me-not – a beautiful blue flower and a plea from our island's wildlife. When climate change has driven dozens of our most charismatic species to extinction, will they be forgotten?
Like many of her generation, science communicator Sophie Pavelle is determined to demand action on climate change. In her hilarious and thought-provoking first book, she describes the trips she took to see ten of the UK's rare species first-hand: species that could disappear entirely by 2050 and be forgotten by the end of the century if their habitats continue to decline at their current rate.
Setting out to find, observe and learn about them, Sophie challenged herself to journey in the right way – the low-carbon way. So she travelled the length of Britain on foot, by bicycle, in an electric car, by kayak, on cargo ferries and in lots and lots of trains. From Bodmin Moor in the southwest to the Orkney Islands in the far north, Sophie encountered animals on the front line of climate change in Britain. Which are going to be seriously affected, and why? Which species might turn the corner and bounce back from the brink? And are some already doomed?
Searching for them in their native habitats, Sophie enlisted the help of experts to explain the obstacles to survival that each species faces and find out what can be done to mitigate the crises that loom ever-closer with every flick of the kettle switch and every swing of a forester's axe.
Forget Me Not is a clarion call: we all need to play our part in tackling this most existential of threats. Everyone can see stunning wildlife in the British Isles without contributing to its destruction. In this irreverent and lighthearted book, Sophie shows us that we can dare to hope. Journey with her, and you may even be inspired to do what it takes to turn the tide and head out on your own low-carbon wildlife adventure.
Chapter one: Marsh fritillary
Chapter two: Harbour porpoise
Chapter three: Seagrass
Chapter four: Grey long-eared bat
Chapter five: Black guillemot
Chapter six: Dung beetles
Chapter seven: Atlantic salmon
Chapter eight: Mountain hare
Chapter nine: Merlin
Chapter ten: Bilberry bumblebee
Sophie Pavelle is a writer and science communicator. Sharing stories about British nature to wide audiences, she puts a contemporary twist on the natural history genre. Sophie works for Beaver Trust, and she presented their award-winning documentary Beavers Without Borders. She is also an Ambassador for The Wildlife Trusts and sits on the RSPB England Advisory Committee. Her writing has appeared in The Metro, BBC Countryfile, BBC Wildlife and Coast magazines. Her first book, Forget Me Not, won the People's Book Prize for non-fiction.
– Winner of the People's Book Prize for non-fiction and longlisted for the James Cropper Wainwright Prize for writing on conservation.
"Pavelle pulls no punches, giving the facts as they are, but weaving them together with a poetic touch and some light-hearted relief. It felt counterintuitive to be chuckling out loud while reading a book about such a bleak topic, but that is the beauty of Forget Me Not. The humour is balanced against the heartbreak, it is well thought-out, and well placed. Its lightness better highlighting the dark. As well as her accessible writing style, Pavelle’s honesty throughout was refreshing. [...] What could have been a dark and depressing read manages to offer a flicker of hope. [...] Forget Me Not is a tribute to the underdogs and those working on the front lines protecting our planet."
– Jeni Bell, British Wildlife 35(2), November 2023
"This enchanting book could not be more timely: it brings much to inspire our future thinking, and is a joy to read."
– Joanna Lumley
"Vibrant and vital. The trials of ten treasured species that we can't afford to fail. A biological romp with a real mission."
– Chris Packham, broadcaster and author of Fingers in the Sparkle Jar
"This engaging romp in search of our most endangered species is a timely reminder of the magic we have in nature and what we are set to lose if we don't wake up. Funny, full of interest and often poignant, travelling with Sophie Pavelle is a journey to remember."
– Isabella Tree, author of Wilding
"A fierce, passionate stand for the wild."
– Megan McCubbin, zoologist, conservationist and broadcaster
"This is such a beautiful book. Full of humour, adventure, poignancy. It will make you value the country around you and even hungrier to protect it. Remarkable."
– Nell Frizzell, journalist and author of The Panic Years
"Like the captured sunshine she describes persisting in a seagrass meadow even on a cloudy day, she [Pavelle] has captured a different kind of light here, that of youth and love and hope. [...] The prose is as lyrical as it is sassy, as insightful as it is impassioned."
– Amy-Jane Beer – Guardian Book of the Day, published on: 2022-06-24
"A lively introduction to the nature crisis in the British Isles. [...] If the canon of British nature writing has a reputation for being male and overly earnest, then Sophie Pavelle's Forget Me Not is a one-book rebalancing act."
– India Bourke, New Statesman
"Here is a vibrant and vital voice from the millennial generation that is fighting climate change and its devastating effect on the world around us. [...] A clarion call for us all to do something to make a difference."
– Ceri Levy, Caught by the River
"Urgent and challenging, but also fun and beautifully written, Sophie documents her low-carbon journeys exposing the reality of climate change in Britain."
– Simon Reeve, broadcast journalist, adventurer and author of Step by Step
"Beautiful. Rare. Profound. Hopeful."
– Charlotte Philby, author of A Double Life
"Finding wonder in the familiar and celebrating the unknown in the everyday, this is a beautiful book – and so perfectly told."
– Professor Ben Garrod, author, broadcaster, biologist
"Sophie Pavelle writes with the urgency and voice of a generation. Her commitment is matched with a fierce knowledge of conservation biology and policymaking, whose murky corridors are expertly navigated. Passionate, pragmatic and seriously funny."
– Gillian Burke, biologist, presenter and writer
"From rare butterflies to bats and bumblebees, Sophie takes us on a breathless but strangely relaxing whistle-stop tour of Britain in search of some of our less familiar, fragile and fascinating wildlife. Charming, witty and moving."
– Professor Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology and author of A Sting in the Tale
"Pavelle is the best kind of science writer – who makes you feel almost as smart as she is, priming and signposting in such a way that you grasp the punchline in the moment before she delivers it. Make no mistake, this is serious stuff, requiring serious communication. But she balances love and irreverence, data and ditz. I loved the breezy humour, the sass and savviness."
– Dr Amy-Jane Beer, naturalist, writer, campaigner and Guardian Country Diarist
"A wonderfully refreshing look at the vanishing species around us, what they mean and why they matter."
– Benedict Macdonald, naturalist, wildlife TV producer and author of Rebirding
"Forget Me Not is that enchanting book that makes you want to put on your hiking boots and big coat, get outdoors and immerse yourself in nature. Sophie's writing is funny and accessible whilst being a call to arms for us to protect Britain's most vulnerable species. Perfect for old hats and newbies to wildlife. Highly recommended."
– Dr Amir Khan, NHS doctor, broadcaster, author and Vice President of The Wildlife Trusts
"Sophie has a warm tone of voice in this enjoyable and accessible read."
– BBC Wildlife magazine
"Pavelle has a lively mind and sense of humour [...] [she] explains the science well and has done a serious amount of research."
– Simon Lester, Country Life magazine
"Her style is lively, casual and autobiographical, and her book would suit young people new to nature writing and keen to learn more about the biodiversity on our doorstep. [...] Pavelle's weapons in the face of these difficult truths are positivity and action."
– Katie Burton, Geographical
"This is perfection."
– Ben Goldsmith, environmentalist
"Gritty, amusing and wonderfully educational,a truly inspiring account of species at the forefront of climate change in Britain."
– Jake Fiennes
"A journey well worth joining."
– David Brown, Best of Britain
"Sophie Pavelle's book properly stands out in the increasingly crowded nature writing field. She writes powerfully about vital issues, in a totally fresh, funny and accessible way that is distinctively her own. Loved it."
– Lee Schofield, author of Wild Fell
"An absolute triumph in science communication."
– Leif Bersweden, author of The Orchid Hunter and Where the Wildflowers Grow
"Passionate and thought-provoking"
– Mark Whitley, Countryman
"It's full of wonder and joy. And crucially, it's written in the voice of a friend [...] while there's wit and warmth flowing through each chapter, the message never stops being urgent."
– Country Walking
"This is a very thought-provoking read and hopefully will inspire us to do something about it [climate change] to prevent future losses."
– John Miles, Bird Watching
"amusing and thought-provoking"
– Kim Smith, Bury and West Suffolk magazine
"A book about climate change with deep adoration for the natural world at its heart."
– Francesca Donovan, The Great Outdoors
"Low-carbon wandering propels Sophie Pavelle's jauntier tour of climate-change Britain in Forget Me Not"
– Country & Town House
"refreshingly new voice"
– Stephen Moss
"At the heart of Sophie's book is a fierce and merlin-like love of all that is wild."
– Nick Acheson, author of The Meaning of Geese
"This book aims to challenge and it succeeds with a quiet and constant hum of urgency."
– Mannie Coe, author of brother.do.you.love.me
"Before reading Forgot Me Not, I hadn't thought it possible to write a book about the effect of climate change on different species that is buoyant, funny and hopeful – yet Sophie Pavelle has pulled it off superbly. This book is wonderful."
– Claire Ratinon, author of Unearthed