The Next Chapter: Nature review old world
A few years ago, Richard Louv wrote a book called “Last Child in the Woods” about the nature deficit in our children. This month, his latest book, “The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Order” has been published.
Meanwhile, our own Charles Sobczak has written two books teaching us how to “live not with nature, but in nature” as Richard Louv says. Then, as a touch of harsh reality of living in nature, I review “Wicked Bugs,” a scary little book about some of our Sanibel favorites: no-see-ums, mosquitoes, fire ants and cockroaches.
Richard Louv’s “The Nature Principle,” published by Algonquin Books, emphasizes the “transformative power” of nature which helps us balance our technology infested world. As biodiversity evaporates and our urban and suburban lifestyles remove us from nature, it’s important that we get our share of “Vitamin N” which can cure depression, obesity and other assaults on our health and well as our families and communities.
In a place like Sanibel, which was founded on many of these principles, it’s apparent that the one thing our citizenry which comes from many different backgrounds, locations and political beliefs agree on is the importance of preserving and protecting the natural environment although we may not always agree on how to do it. I would suggest you read this book while on the beach to truly appreciate it.
“Living Sanibel: A Nature Guide to Sanibel and Captiva Islands,” written by Charles Sobczak, published by Indigo Press follows his previous book “Living the Gulf Coast”, but is more intimate because it is about us. First, it is an absolutely gorgeous book, full of beautiful photographs, many taken by local photographers.
Second, it is a useful book because it does not require you to go through pages of descriptions of birds, many of which never appear on Sanibel to find the non-generic name of the “little brown jobs,” the term we non-birders use refer to unidentified birds which are sitting in a tree. It even separates the migratory birds from those you might find in the summer. Of course, all the categories of birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, etc are color coded so you can easily find your way to them and each category begins with a few pages of useful information about the environment of Sanibel and these specific denizens.
And you get to check the ones off you have seen so you can develop your own “life list” of sightings. My favorite part of the organization of the book is that it starts with an environmental history of the islands and ends with human related information, like museums, natural attractions, maps with the heart of the book about all the creatures, plants and other living things.
This book is a must for every Sanibel rental property, new owner and most importantly for every household and child on the island so that we can all learn to live in harmony on the island. This book can only be improved from its brand new condition when it is dog-eared, sand-filled, and a tad waterlogged after being used excessively.
Amy Stewart, the author “Wicked Plants” has now written “Wicked Bugs,” published by Algonquin Books. As in her first book, it is filled with beautiful, scary pen and ink drawings; in this case of ugly bugs which do ugly things to humans.
Besides the bugs listed above, she also describes a variety of spiders, stinging hornets and bees, termites and other bugs that are eating up your plants in your garden. Stewart writes with a certain respect for insects (after all, for each one of us, there are 2 million of them), but she is focused on the dark side in this book, detailing all the damage the individual bugs (a word she acknowledges is not accurate in all cases) do.
Often she gives historical or individual’s stories and she also lists their relatives. She ends the book with resources for those who want more scientific information as well as a bibliography. The book is well written and beautifully done so that, while I read about a dozen or so bugs before I went to sleep for a few nights, I had no bad dreams!
Nature surrounds us on Sanibel, but if are like me, you may have stopped seeing it as much as you did when you first moved here. I often wish I could recapture those feelings and ability to see that I first had when I vacationed here and dreamt of moving here. These books will open your eyes again.