by Philip Lymbery
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017
Reviewed by Martin Empson
Philip Lymbery’s Dead Zone is a highly readable, if frightening, examination of the impact of industrial agriculture on the environment, and particularly biodiversity. Lymbery’s style is part travel-book, part autobiography and part ecological critique. There’s a lot in it, and this review cannot hope to highlight all of the fascinating content—my copy is covered in pencil markings just from a single read.But I want to try and explore what Lymbery rightly highlights as a major ecological crisis, and add a few additional thoughts.
The first thing to note is the breadth of Lymbery’s coverage. From the impact of palm plantations on elephants in Asia, to the decline of Barn Owls, Nightingales and other birds in the UK, to the dead zones in the Mexican Gulf and the way that the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy has decimated Eastern European farming, this is a bleak picture.