The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2022


Dr Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (Ed)
Harper Collins, £12.99

Despite the disruptive influence of the internet and social media and dwindling readerships, American magazine journalism is still a force to be reckoned with. This latest collection of the best science and nature articles published in the US over the past year is no different to previous editions in being a showcase for the power of properly resourced reportage and slow, skilful storytelling.

The 2022 edition is edited by marine biologist, policy expert, writer and podcaster Dr Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. She has selected work from a diverse collection of writers covering everything from underwater noise to carbon credit scandals to ‘quantum enlightenment’. The articles were sourced from heavyweight publications such as the New York Times and Rolling Stone to outlets that will be less well known in the UK.

Johnson identifies several themes in the work she has curated: the magnificence of nature, the ‘roiling’ of nature, ‘ways of knowing’ and possible futures. However, the dominant theme, more so than in previous years, is the way we are changing the world and the inequity of those changes. The voices of indigenous and island communities are strongly represented across the book and there is an emphasis on finding solutions that will be fair as well as effective.

The quality of the writing helps you engage deeply with issues both familiar and new, and is a reminder of the importance of supporting paid-for journalism. And, of course, the joy of putting down the phone, turning off the computer and reading a magazine.

Tom Ireland MRSB