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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The case of the twitching leaf

fox cub

The leaf twitches. There are plenty of moving leaves in this thicket just a few yards from my home. A dense jungle of ivy and bramble, cow parsley, willowherb and fallen branches that adorns the bases of some tall ash trees, it’s alive with movement from a gusting breeze that is moving occasional teased-out-cotton clouds above me and bringing the temperature down from hot to mild. The flat white flower heads of the cow parsley jiggle, the ivy leaves flutter.

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The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Not my words, and in early example of how easily truth can become distorted, nobody really knows who invented them. But they ring as true today as ever. I try to stay out of politics, but I can’t stay out of humanity. Our generation has a lot to answer for: global warming. Plastic pollution. Knight Rider and people eating kangaroo testicles as entertainment. But the one judgement that will be written about long after we are all dead is that

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When the kids just won’t leave home

Our (almost) daily walk around our local lake produced a variety of sights today. The blackthorn blossom has come and even starts to be going, as drifts of small white petals start to accumulate beneath the bushes which are coated in stem-bending swatches of blooms in what paint  manufacturers would call “white with a hint of pink”. The nettles have suddenly erupted, small serrated leaves on stalks already five inches high.  In the woodland, the long beard-shaped  leaves of arum

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Game on

The word is out. Not from the snowdrops, who have been peeking up from the verges and in clusters around the base of the trees in the local park. They are rugged hardy survivors and harbinger nothing more than the turn of the year. But today the blackthorn is in flower. Not everywhere, just in one sheltered copse in the small woodland that straddles the stream. The wrens woke me this morning with a different call. They have returned to

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whistling down the wind


I was woken at 4:30 a.m., which was more than a little annoying as I’d only gone to bed at 3 a.m. I’m naturally a night owl rather than a morning person, finding that my brain seems to fizz more with ideas when the stresses of the day have ebbed away.  I’d spent a few hours before going to bed beating the bounds of my small garden, making sure that everything which could fly couldn’t. I put a large lump

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