We know about cli-fi. Here comes ecologically sensitive poetry which I choose to name eco-po.

The Guardian brings us a selection of poems about insects selected by Carol Ann Duffy. In her introduction the poet laureate writes “Earlier this year, the journal Biological Conservation published the first global scientific review of the insect population, recording that more than 40% of species are declining and a third are endangered. The journal concludes, ‘unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades. The repercussions this will have for the planet’s ecosystems are catastrophic.’”

We tend to assume, even those of us without the Bible to direct our thoughts, that animals are there pretty much for our benefit, or, from the other end of the telescope, that insects are there just to annoy us, and that getting rid of them would be a great thing. Just the other day, Mike Bloomberg, pretty woke on climate issues, was calling for the elimination of the mosquitos who carry malaria. But hang on: sure we don’t like them, but we’d be pretty disgusted if some Mosquitoese speaker revealed to us that these little toughs were actually calling for the elimination of humans. This, as we really do know, would be a bad idea from the mosquito’s point of view, and isn’t one they’d be stupid enough to espouse. They know that human blood is an integral part of their life cycle, and eliminating their blood bank would be sui-genocidal. If only we could bring the same sort of wisdom to our attitudes to the world around us.

Mike McCarthy’s The Moth Snowstorm, published in Britain in 2015, and in USA the following year, is all about the vast losses in the numbers of members of almost all species of wildlife. His moth snowstorm refers to a phenomenon I can just remember from my childhood: driving in the evening with headlights on and finding so many moths attracted to the light source that it became hard to see your way forward, just as if you were driving though a snowstorm. Anyone a bit younger than me has never experienced this. The main reason for the population thinning appears to be the use of agricultural pesticides, though there are enough reasons to fill a book. Now the good news: I wrote recently about the rewilding of Knepp in Sussex, also discussed in a book from New York Review Books, due this fall, and the author, Isabella Tree told us that they have, after very few years of cutting out chemicals and allowing nature to reestablish its unaltered state, run into moth snowstorms themselves on the estate.