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The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As Is, As It Could Be

Author: J.B. MacKinnon

OAFW HMH CoverWhat does nature look like? This is the deceptively simple question at the heart of J.B. MacKinnon’s The Once and Future World. Seeking answers everywhere from ancient texts to modern science, MacKinnon paints a picture of a former state of nature so rich, bountiful, and wild that it seems to describe a different planet.

What we see around us today, MacKinnon writes, is a “10 percent world”—a wild landscape with just one-tenth of its former variety and abundance. We OAFW Cdn Book Covercan lament this loss, yes, but more importantly, we can draw inspiration from the knowledge of what a fully living planet can be. We can set a higher bar for what we consider to be the “normal” state of nature.

OAFW Cdn CoverMacKinnon revisits such familiar stories as the extinction of the buffalo and the collapse of Easter Island, casting each in a subtler light and challenging familiar beliefs. Classic conservation remains important, he argues, but the coming century will be an age of rewilding—focused more on building nature back into a humanized landscape than saving the last wild places.

MacKinnon has won many awards for his writing, including Canada’s highest prize for literary nonfiction. He’s also co-author of The 100-Mile Diet, a book widely credited with helping to catalyze the local foods movement. In The Once and Future World, he is seeking another mindshift. This is, quite simply, a book that will make you see the natural world with new eyes.

This book is available through amazon.com and amazon.ca.

Follow the author at jbmackinnon.com or on Twitter @JB_MacKinnon.