One of my (not very subtly requested) presents for Christmas 2019 was ‘The Garden Jungle or Gardening to Save the Planet‘ by Dave Goulson which has now become the first book I have read in 2020. The author is a Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex but don’t let that put you off: this is certainly not a dry scientific treatise. It is instead a heartfelt plea for us all to engage with and appreciate the fascinating eco-system existing right under our noses in our own gardens. Yes, we all love an Attenborough documentary showing us the wonders of the natural world in often remote and exotic locations, but what about the fauna outside the back door?Continue reading
London is a city in which I have spent plenty of time over the course of my life, but it’s been a couple of years since my last visit. This recent sojourn was prompted by the birthday of one of my oldest and dearest friends, providing a rare opportunity for a day out unencumbered by parenting responsibilities. There are few things I love more than walking around a city – navigating your way through its streets you really get to experience the details and fabric of its life. So, before I joined up for an afternoon of craft beers, I took the chance to have a meander. The area around Kings Cross, which I remember being fairly grotty in the past, has been undergoing major redevelopment. It is now awash with smart new office and apartment buildings, surrounding public squares with trickling fountains, interspersed with designer shops and high-end restaurants. However, the place that I wanted to seek out was the antithesis of these symbols of modern living.
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling utterly demoralised by the frequent news stories on the continued degradation of the natural world. From the shocking levels of plastic pollution in our seas to the now obvious signs of climate change, and industrial scale destruction of habitats, it’s hard to avoid feeling hopeless about the planet’s current and future state. While it is clear that addressing these issues will require major policy changes on the part of governments and a shift in culture from big business I do believe that individuals can also make a difference by becoming more engaged and changing their own habits.