It is accepted wisdom today that human beings have irrevocably damaged the natural world. Yet what if this narrative obscures a more hopeful truth?
In Inheritors of the Earth, renowned ecologist and environmentalist Chris D. Thomas overturns the accepted story, revealing how nature is fighting back.
Many animals and plants actually benefit from our presence, raising biological diversity in most parts of the world and increasing the rate at which new species are formed, perhaps to the highest level in Earth's history. From Costa Rican tropical forests to the thoroughly transformed British landscape, nature is coping surprisingly well in the human epoch.
Chris Thomas takes us on a gripping round-the-world journey to meet the enterprising creatures that are thriving in the Anthropocene, from York's ochre-coloured comma butterfly to hybrid bison in North America, scarlet-beaked pukekos in New Zealand, and Asian palms forming thickets in the European Alps. In so doing, he questions our irrational persecution of so-called 'invasive species', and shows us that we should not treat the Earth as a faded masterpiece that we need to restore. After all, if life can recover from the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, might it not be able to survive the onslaughts of a technological ape?
Combining a naturalist's eye for wildlife with an ecologist's wide lens, Chris Thomas forces us to re-examine humanity's relationship with nature, and reminds us that the story of life is the story of change.