Go to the ant – Review

Author: | Date: 13 September, 2016 | Category: Book Reviews | Comments: 0

Go to the ant: reflections on biodiversity and the Bible, by Ghillean Prance, March 2013. Wild Goose Publications, 112 pages, ISBN 978-1-84952-219-9. RRP £10.50 (paperback), £6.50 (downloadable book)

This is a good reflective book with fifty short passages for meditative consideration. Each begins with Bible verses from Genesis to Revelations that include animal, insect or plant life, which are followed by information, anecdotes of Ghillean Prance’s extensive experience and spiritual connections. All of these draw our attention to environmental issues in the context of God’s big book of Creation. So we learn about how the ant community works for the common good, as did the Israelites when Nehemiah exhorted them to rebuild the city walls, and are reminded of the imperative to work together today in the face of the environmental crisis. We learn of Native Americans who discussed the effects of actions with environmental consequences to the seventh generation, and learn from the Psalms about the abundance of water but linked with the unusual droughts in the Amazon region with the problems that caused for local communities.

I particularly liked the story of the pequia tree whose flowers rise above the crown of the tree to be pollinated by bats, and of the pollination of a couratari tree at precisely 5.30am each morning by a large bee. All through the book we are reminded of the effect we humans of today are having on other animals, plants, trees, water etc and are turned towards God the Creator, assured of forgiveness, making these and other Christian connections in a refreshingly different way.

I did find myself reflecting on the level of travel involved for so many of the stories, and wishing for some connection to be made between travel and climate change, just once would have been enough, though I acknowledge that we did not know the damage our fuels caused for most of the author’s working life so no blame belongs there. We do know now though, yet travel in general still seems to increase year on year. Perhaps the fact that the book stimulated such thoughts shows that it succeeds in promoting the needs of all of Creation.

This would be an excellent book to read daily during Creationtide, or in the, usually ignored, great fifty days of Easter since we need the resurrection energy for these important environmental issues. It would also be a good book to give to friends who are casual about, or in denial of, environmental issues. It is also really interesting to read Ghillean Prance’s stories and experiences.

Chris Polhill


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