x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Wild Hope: Cautious optimism about the future of conservation

Andrew Balmford's book has a promising message about the environment, although he doesn't get carried away.

Wild Hope by Andrew Balmford.
Wild Hope by Andrew Balmford.

Ecological conservation is a topic that conjures up either cheerful montages of flourishing flora and fauna, or grim slide shows of the exact reverse. The conservationist Andrew Balmford seems to have opted for the former, more promising message, but mixes in a good dose of caution.

Contrary to what its title implies, Wild Hope is a careful documentation of seven successful conservation efforts, one on each  continent and with the seventh dedicated to the all-encompassing oceans of the world.

While exercising level-headed optimism at their successes, Balmford still emphasises their current struggles and future potential challenges. However, hope is the common thread that binds these projects together and, with each story, it becomes clear that their examples are meant to be admired, justifiably so.

Those more cynical in their approach will find their opinions shared with Balmford himself, surprisingly, as he aims to be as realistic as possible with his outlook. That being said, Wild Hope still succeeds in shedding a little light on issues that are anything but.