Fen, Bog and Swamp

Fen, Bog & Swamp by Annie Proulx. Proulx, best known for novels like The Shipping News and Barkskins, turns to nonfiction to write a beautiful plea for preserving wetlands. She traces the environmental importance of wetlands, “one of the world’s richest environments”, noting that, when they’re destroyed, the greenhouse gases stored in the peat are released, contributing to climate change. She also writes movingly of the history of their destruction, as in 16th century England when a large area of wetlands was converted into farmland, a process that ruined not only the populations of eels and sturgeon that lived in the fens but also a whole way of life for the people who lived around the edges. Proulx uses her novelistic eye and gorgeous prose to craft a compelling defense for an oft-overlooked part of nature that needs to be preserved not just for humanity’s sake, but for its own. (Non-Fiction)