The cop nobody has heard of

Beavers- engineering for free

A few weeks ago, COP27, the international conference on climate change, rolled to a close and barely anyone noticed. It didn’t start well, being billed as the cop that would make people keep the promises they had made at the last one,  and then failing in any meaningful way to achieve even that. As a writer I can admire fine-sounding words, but our planet needs a lot more. It needs action, and lots of it. So if that is the

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Beavers are protected at last. But for how long?

beaver

At last! Something to celebrate. From today, Saturday 1st October 2022, the Eurasian Beaver has finally gained protection in England. It has been added to the  Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, legislation that now makes it illegal to: deliberately disturb a beaver – this includes any action likely to impair their ability to survive, breed or rear their young deliberately injure, capture or kill a beaver damage or destroy the breeding site or resting place of a beaver

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The tale of the tortoise and the dictator

Hermann's tortoise

The survival of a species can sometimes involve a great deal of luck, as I found out on a recent holiday to the island of Menorca. Menorca (Minorca) is an island of around 30 miles by 10, lying off the east coast of Spain. It is a beautiful place, with clear seas, sandy beaches, and a lot of sunshine. It is also far quieter and less developed than its neighbouring island, the famous party island of Mallorca (Majorca). It turns

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One for sorrow…

turtle dove

Five years ago I was moved to tears by one of the saddest things I have ever seen. My wife and I were celebrating our silver wedding anniversary (no, that’s not why I was crying!). We’d broken the piggybank open, burnt our savings, and gone on safari in Kenya. As part of our trip our guide took us, unexpectedly, to  rhino sanctuary. And there we saw Sudan. Sudan was as that time the world’s last male Northern white rhino. Since

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Not just a silent spring, but a colourless summer

all the butterflies

In 1962, Rachel Carson wrote her classic book ‘Silent Spring’. In it, she described the impact of the pesticide DDT, which was killing wildlife throughout the food chain, but especially silencing the birds whose song she heard every spring. The book caused enough shock that DDT was eventually banned almost everywhere. But Rachel lived in more innocent times. Since the 1960’s, things that were once unthinkable are now routine, and every time we think nothing could get worse, we are proven

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Methuselah flies again

Colin the cuckoo

It seems that Britain’s -and perhaps the world’s – oldest cuckoo is back. According to Wikipedia, the oldest recorded cuckoo for Britain is just under 7 years old. At this point, you should hear inside your head the kind of quiz show klaxon favoured by QI or Family Fortunes. Because Colin is back. Who? Colin. The cuckoo. Colin is perhaps Britain’s most famous cuckoo. Every summer for what is believed to be nine years, the bird has appeared at Thursley

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