For many people, ecosystems may be a remote concept, yet we eat, drink, breathe and interface with them in every moment of our lives. In this engaging textbook, ecosystems scientist Dr Mark Everard considers a diversity of ‘everyday things’, including fascinating facts about their ecological origins: from the tea we drink to the things we wear, read and enjoy, to the ecology of communities and space flight, and the important roles played by germs and ‘unappealing creatures’ such as slugs and wasps.
In today’s society, we are so umbilically connected to ecosystems that we fail to notice them, and this oversight blinds us to the unsustainability of everyday life and the industries and policy environment that supports it. The Ecology of Everyday Things takes the reader on an enlightening, fascinating voyage of discovery, all the while soundly rooted in robust science. It will stimulate awareness about how connected we all are to the natural world and its processes, and how important it is to learn to better treat our environment. Ideal for use in undergraduate- and school-level teaching, it will also interest, educate, engage and enthuse a wide range of less technical audiences.
- The nature of modern society
- Reading the tea leaves
- My trendy tee-shirts
- Yesterday’s papers
- A simple bowl of rice
- A breath of fresh air
- The wood for the trees
- Unappealing creatures
- What’s so special about fish?
- No place like home
- The ecology of space travel
- On safari without leaving the house
- Living on a planet
- 99.9% of all known germs
- Who doesn’t love worms?
- Glorious mud
- Feel the noise
- Hearth and home
Dr Mark Everard is Associate Professor of Ecosystem Services at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), as well as a consultant, broadcaster and author. He is also Vice-President of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), a Fellow of the Linnaean Society, an Angling Trust Ambassador, and a science advisor to Salmon & Trout Conservation UK, Tiger Water (India), Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and a range of other bodies.
"[...] In a slim book like this, Mark might have missed your pet topic but the book covers a surprisingly wide range of subjects from the origins of your t-shirt to the cultural uses of fire (including the burning of dissenters), from the effect of human noise on aquatic life to the value of nettles for making shirts. It would make a great gift for someone who doesn't even know they are interested in ecology, and even a seasoned ecologist will learn things here."
– Peter Thomas , The Niche 53(3), 2022
"Nature is all around us, in the beautiful but also in the unappealing and functional, and from the awe-inspiring to the mundane. It is vital that we learn to see the agency of the natural world in all things that make our lives possible, comfortable and profitable. The Ecology of Everyday Things pulls back the veil of our familiarity on a range of ‘everyday things’ that surround us, and which we perhaps take too much for granted. This key into the magic world of the everyday can enable us to take better account of our common natural inheritance."
– Professor James Longhurst, Assistant Vice Chancellor, University of the West of England (UWE Bristol)
"When people talk about 'celebrating nature', they usually have dramatic landscapes or charismatic creatures in mind. Mark Everard invites us to celebrate nature in the everyday, in the common places of our lives, and provides lots of information and inspiration along the way."
– Jonathon Porritt, founder director of Forum for the Future
"Mark Everard invites us to look a little closer at, and think a little harder about, the natural architecture of our cultural selves [...] instructive and entertaining."
– Dr Robert Fish, Reader in Human Ecology, University of Kent
"If you want to discover more about how intrinsically linked we are to our planet, then The Ecology of Everyday Things will open your eyes into how nature underpins everything in our daily lives. In this insightful new book, Mark Everard brings alive his personal observations of the things most of us fail to notice in our everyday activities and simple daily pleasures. From turning on a tap of water to pouring a pint of beer, Everard challenges us to contemplate the ‘real value’ of nature. Our society is increasingly aware of the importance of nature to better support our health and wellbeing, and it is our sense of a relationship with the natural world that is a vital element of this. Everard exposes this in an approachable way through his descriptions of the everyday activities that engage our senses, emotions, compassion and appreciation of beauty – bringing out a personal meaning for each of us – and developing our connections with nature."
– Amanda Craig, Director, People & Nature, Natural England