An informed and heartfelt tribute to commonly unappreciated plants, insects, and other tiny creatures that reconsiders humanity's relationship to nature
Fruit flies, silverfish, dandelions, and crabgrass are the bane of many people and the target of numerous chemical and physical eradication efforts. In this compelling reassessment of the relationship between humans and the natural world, John Hainze – an entomologist and former pesticide developer – considers the fascinating and bizarre history of how these so-called invasive or unwanted pests and weeds have coevolved with humanity and highlights the benefits of a greater respect and moral consideration toward these organisms.
With deep insight into the lives of the underappreciated and often reviled creatures that surround us, Hainze's accessible and engaging natural history draws on ethics, religion, and philosophy as he passionately argues that creepy crawlies and unwanted plants deserve both empathy and accommodation as partners dwelling with us on earth.
John Hainze is an entomologist and ethicist. He is an affiliate at the Seattle University Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability, an adjunct faculty member at Seattle University, and president of BioOpus LLC. He lives in Seattle, WA.
"In a world where insects are in horrible decline, this fascinating call for understanding and affection for the small creatures around us is a powerfully necessary book!"
– Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
"A friendly, accessible, and thoughtful exploration of the nearly innumerable diverse life forms that have adapted to live in close proximity to humans."
– Nicole Palffy-Muhoray, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
"John Hainze brings us into the captivating yet-overlooked world of household creatures, skillfully weaving together a series of fascinating encounters with these familiar and yet unknown subjects."
– James Barilla, author of My Backyard Jungle: The Adventures of an Urban Wildlife Lover Who turned His Yard into a Habitat and Learned to Live with It
"This is a fascinating book – one that will engage you with stories and charm you with drawings. Insects have never been more intriguing than under the watchful eye of John Hainze. He is an entomologist with a conscience. Our insect world deserves his plea for appreciation and care."
– Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology and coauthor of Journey of the Universe
"Nature Underfoot illuminates the overlooked wonders of ignored plants, creatures, and other forms of life we encounter daily – and their implications for our place in nature. A stunning book as riveting as a sunbeam to a young child."
– Thomas E. Lovejoy, University Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University