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In this inspiring manifesto, an internationally renowned oceanographer makes the provocative case for why protecting nature makes economic sense. Enric Sala wants to change the world – and in this groundbreaking book, he shows us how. Once we appreciate how nature works, he asserts, we will understand why its preservation is economically practical and essential to our survival.
In this highly readable narrative, Sala, director of National Geographic's Pristine Seas project, tells the story of his scientific awakening, the colourful mentors whose work inspired him, and his transition from academic to activism – because, as he put it, he was tired of writing the obituary of the ocean. His revelations are surprising, and sometimes counterintuitive: Lots of sharks are actually the best indicator of a healthy ocean ecosystem, and crop diversity, rather than intensive monoculture farming, is the key to planetary abundance.
For decades, Sala has spearheaded ocean protection, convincing world leaders to protect areas amounting to five times the size of Texas – and he is still passionately pushing for more. Using fascinating examples from his own expeditions and groundbreaking findings from other scientists, Sala builds the case for the economic wisdom of making room for nature, even as the population builds to eight million and grows more urbanized by the decade. Both relatable and inspiring, this powerful book will change the way you think about the world – and the future.
Enric Sala is a marine ecologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence dedicated to restoring the health and productivity of the ocean. He is widely recognized for his worldwide conservation efforts, based on solid observational and experimental research, combined with strategic communications and policy discussions. Previously a professor at the prestigious Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California, he founded National Geographic Pristine Seas, a global project that combines exploration, research, and storytelling to inspire leaders and communities to protect the last wild places in the ocean. To date, Pristine Seas has helped to create 22 marine reserves encompassing almost 6 million square kilometers of ocean, more than half the area of all 50 United States.
"Enric Sala's The Nature of Nature makes a case for protecting our planet that appeals just as strongly to our sense of reason as to our sense of humanity. Building on a lifetime of work exploring harmful human impacts on our ecosystems, he artfully weaves together his experiences as an explorer and scholar to explain how the natural world works. Sala makes the case for environmentalism, as he puts it, to both the brain and the heart. The Nature of Nature highlights the wonders of the wild and makes a beautifully argued and heartfelt case for why we must do all we can to protect them."
– Leonardio DiCaprio, actor & environmentalist
"Incisive, impassioned, pragmatic, and compelling, Enric Sala's beautiful book The Nature of Nature is both a gift of wonders and a call to arms. His observations of how nature works and, crucially, how it sustains human life, provide the clearest argument of all for the world to change its ways."
– Isabella Tree, author of Wilding: The Return of Nature to Our Farm
"In The Nature of Nature, Enric Sala surveys records of experiments and academic works on nature to advance an urgent argument for the economic value and moral necessity of preserving our planet's wild places on land and in the ocean. He is also inspired by the wonder and the miracle that he discovers our planet to be and argues that we are able to recover and safeguard this gift of God – namely, the planet's uniquely distinctive endowment with life – only through our joyful contemplation of the mystery of our planet's being and functioning, as Pope Francis has also observed."
– Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Vatican
"The Nature of Nature makes a compelling case for why giving more space to nature is essential to human and economic prosperity. Every leader should read it and apply its insights."
– Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum
"Enric Sala has a unique ability to explain complicated issues in a simple way. He helps us to understand the world, but also how to act in order to protect it better. Faced with the urgent need to protect our Planet, he provides us with enlightening insights and solutions for action. This book will be of invaluable help to those who refuse to give up."
– HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco
"Enric Sala writes in clear and highly readable prose about a complex subject, drawing on personal experiences and stories gathered from others. I highly recommend The Nature of Nature for anyone wishing to learn more about the interconnectedness of all living beings, the destructive impact of unsustainable human actions, and how we need to act together to heal the harms we have inflicted. It's a clear account of the variety and interconnectedness of life forms on Planet Earth – our only home."
– Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, Founder oif the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace
"This is an accessible – indeed a charming – account of how natural systems work; as we are now wrecking those intricate systems at a frightening pace, this could serve as an antidote, reminding us to be far more careful, and far more appreciative."
– Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?