Our Beautiful, Fragile World: The Nature and Environmental Photographs of Peter Essick
Foreword by Jean-Michel Cousteau,
122 pages,
Rocky Nook, 2013

"I know that when people see and feel the beauty of the natural world, they understand in a profound way the need to take care of our water planet," writes Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of the legendary Jacques Cousteau, in the foreword to Our Beautiful, Fragile World. This book of images by National Geographic photojournalist Peter Essick draws from 25 years of his global travels, from the most beautiful, untouched places on earth to landscapes destroyed by deforestation, climate change and pollution. Several of the chapters concern water in the West – the overtapped Colorado River; the toxic pit near Butte, Mont.; the deadly tailings ponds of the Canadian tar sands. The powerful photographs are interspersed with notes by Essick explaining the location and context. "Science is telling all of us … to turn off our selfish genes," he says in conclusion. And if science alone won't convince us, maybe images like these can help.