Saving threatened habitats worldwide

What links the modern novel to controversial conservation?

10 October, 2013 - 14:15 -- John Burton

I have been enjoying a collection of essays by Jonathan Franzen (How to be Alone, 2002).

In one essay, entitled Why Bother?, Franzen explores the lack of support for contemporary novelists and deplores the state of culture in the modern world, in a way that I can empathise with. Not only that, his analysis of attitudes to the modern novel - and the cultural environment in which it exists - has insights that are as applicable to conservation as they are to the modern novel.

But that should not be a surprise. Franzen is a keen birder and committed conservationist. He is also a supporter of American Bird Conservancy (ABC), an organisation with which World Land Trust (WLT) has a close association. He wrote the foreword to The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation, and he has spoken out about the problem of cat predation on song birds, both directly (for example, in an interview in The Guardian) and indirectly in his novel Freedom (2010). 

Feral cats and their impact on wildlife will be discussed on Monday 14 October at a Controversial Conservation debate organised by WLT and hosted by WLT Patron Chris Packham at the Royal Society. George Fenwick, the President of ABC, will lead the discussion on cats. It’s a small world.

Controversial Conservation: a World Land Trust debate led by Chris Packham. More information »

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