Julie Hill
April 2021

Book review: The Ecology of Everyday Things

Mark Everard’s erudite and entertaining book will appeal to anyone who has contemplated their cup of tea or a newspaper and wondered about the transformations undergone by natural resources to occupy their current place in our lives. Or perhaps not wondered – if so, now is your chance to be enlightened.

The Ecology of Everyday Things coverEverard blends ecology with history, philosophy and cultural observation to give us the backstories to a host of everyday things from tea to T-shirts, from germs to worms. They are diverse and largely unconnected stories, but never dull. The chapter on nettles, for instance, converted me from eyeing my nettle patches with despair to appreciating their many uses and qualities. There is even an account of the ecology of space travel – an opportunity to observe how in order to venture into space we need to replicate the basic ecological functions of earth. This is also an opportunity to bring home the consequences of creating a market economy that behaves as if our biological dependency is unimportant or somehow surmountable.

A great book to dip into whenever you need to be re-rooted (forgive the pun) in the ecological system and be reminded just how deep and broad our dependencies are, and how delightful they are, on a daily basis. 

The Ecology of Everyday Things
Mark Everard | ISBN: 9781003120056 | Published: December 2020 | Publisher: CRC Press/Taylor and Francis