According to book publishers, there has been a surge of interest in writing and reading about nature. Something about the way people live in our modern world, they say, encourages readers to seek reconnection with the great outdoors and its inhabitants. But to use words to convey the beauty and tragedy of the environment beyond direct human experience — and to do it well — is a rare skill indeed.
That perhaps helps to explain the clunky and chewy terminology crudely attached to efforts to preserve and protect the natural world. If a picture truly paints a thousand words, then none of them is likely to be ‘ecosystem services’. Equally, ‘green–blue infrastructure’ and ‘natural capital’ set few hearts aflutter. So what are we to make of the newcomer to this lexicon of ecology: ‘nature-based solutions’?