The Wounded Earth – What world will our children inherit?
Originally published in 2005 under the title La Tierra Herida, this book grew out of a series of conversations that took place during the previous summer between Miguel Delibes and his son, Miguel Delibes de Castro.
Acknowledged as one of Spain’s foremost novelists and essayists of the 20th century, Miguel Delibes won every literary award his country had to offer. In 1975 he was elected into the Spanish Royal Academy and used the occasion of his acceptance speech (later to be published under the title A World that is Dying) to make explicit his growing concerns about the future of the planet.
“No one reading his books could doubt his love of the natural world, expressed in a sober, realist style that is only poetic in its austerity.”
Miguel Delibes de Castro, an internationally recognised research biologist, was for many years the Director of the Biological Station at the world-renowned Doñana National Park. He has worked extensively for the International Union for Conservation of Nature and published widely on the subject of threats to biodiversity. He was an adviser to the Spanish delegation at the Rio de Janiero Conference on Biodiversity and was awarded the King James I prize for his efforts in protecting the environment.
Father and son, novelist and scientist, each with a life-long commitment to the environment, discuss the environmental changes threatening our planet at the start of the 21st century, and whether or not we can find the means and summon up the will to reverse them.
It is the father, speaking here as the anxious citizen, and pessimistic for our future, who asks the layman’s questions; it is his son who provides the scientific explanations, and offers whatever cause for optimism there is to be found.
“Man has the capacity to realise what he is doing, and that is what I put my faith in,” he says.
“Let us hope God hears you, my boy,” replies his father, “for the sake of all of us.”
Miguel Delibes de Castro has provided a Postscript, written in November 2019, shortly before the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid, which brings events up to date.