Mark Cocker ends his review in The Spectator of Matthew Oates’ new book with this comment on a key argument that the book sets out:

Most impressive of all is his concluding chapter, aptly entitled ‘Towards Some Meaning’, where he diagnoses why conservation has so often failed to protect these quintessential inhabitants of ecological transience.  He also seeks to answer his own nagging 50-year self-inquiry: why exactly should we care about mere insects?

His answer is simple but telling: ‘The whole show is essentially about love.’  Oates argues that nature conservation ‘is about the relationship between people and nature and is an expression of love for, and an interaction with, the beauty and wonder of the natural world’.  The whole essay is one of the best summaries of why nature matters and how we should all care.  Its ten pages should be extracted and bound as a pamphlet for every single decision-maker in this country.”

Read by not only decision-makers, perhaps, as they are not the only ones who need to be reminded about why nature matters.

In Pursuit of Butterflies: a fifty year affair by Matthew Oates. ISBN 978-1-47292-450-6. Bloomsbury, 2015; 480 pp. £18.99

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