Millipedes and Moon Tigers

Steve Nash, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Richmond, may be the best environmental writer at work in Virginia today. In his newly published book, “Millipedes and Moon Tigers: Science and Policy in an Age of Extinction,” he explores a complex of issues of immediate concern to Virginians: the virtual disappearance of old growth forest in the Mid-Atlantic, the devastation of the chestnut tree, the plague of invasive species, the plummeting songbird population, and the near-extinction of the Peter’s Mountain mallow (Virginia’s rarest plant).
As a bonus, he treats readers to fascinating essays on a variety of national issues: the vertebratecentrism (the preference of humans for warm and fuzzy mammals) and the critical role of bugs in the environment, the wolves of Isle Royal, and the promises and perils of genetic engineering, cloning and other technologies.
I would describe Steve, who happens to be a personal friend, as a Jared Diamond-style environmentalist: There is no question where his sympathies lay but he is intellectually honest. He is cognizant of the complexities of the issues and the trade-offs entailed with any solutions — trade-offs not only between the environment and the human economy, but tradeoffs between different environmental solutions. Steve does not deliver the party line — he airs a wide variety of perspectives. He does not profess a faith-based environmentalism, grounded in romanticism and sentimenality, but a science-based environmentalism. That’s why, although I may not always agree with his conclusions, I always respect his arguments.

A blessing for time-strapped readers who prefer a quick dip into the issues, “Millipedes and Moon Tigers” is short. Its essays are succinct. Anyone who is passionate about Virginia’s environment, or environmental issues generally, should read this book.
(Photo credit: Barnes & Noble.)

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One response to “Millipedes and Moon Tigers”

  1. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse


    Sounds like a good book to read in Jackson Hole.

    Does he touch on the “Yellowstone Ecosystem” and wolves? There should be some good local books on that in the bookstores there.

    When I was home in Glacier National Park I was surprised and please to see how many of my early days employers, acquaintances and classmates had books written by and /or about them.


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