Wilderness lost

<strong>The End of the Wild</strong>
Stephen M Meyer <em>MIT Press, 96pp, &#163;9.95</em>

The extinction crisis is over, says Stephen Meyer. Up to half the earth's species will disappear in the next hundred years and it’s too late to do anything about it. We have
already lost the race to prevent "the end of the wild".

In future, people will share the planet with a much less diverse assemblage of organisms – those species able to thrive in a world relentlessly disturbed by human activity. Meyer argues that this is not the "wide-eyed prophecy" of radical conservation activists, but a projection grounded in scientific research of the past decade.

Meyer blends factual evidence with expressive prowess in such a way that his ideas cannot fail
to make an impression. He offers enlightening illustrations and presents his argument with extraordinary clarity.

The vision appears gloomy and suggests, prima facie, that we may as well throw our hands up and let nature take its course. But this is not the response Meyer advocates.

He believes we should accept that we cannot restore wilderness, recognise the inescapability of the human footprint, and use our dominion to manage ecosystems.

Perhaps belatedly, he places his argument in the context of a moral framework. He would have done well to devote more attention to environmental ethics, because the assertions he makes are compelling.