Chris Packham’s Natural Selection: designed to be intelligent

For an hour on Thursday evening it felt as if I’d been transported by time machine back to 1984 or thereabouts, and that I was watching the freshly-launched Channel 4. But no, it was 2015 and I was watching Chris Packham’s Natural Selection on BBC4, a one-off chatshow in which Chris Packham of Springwatch fame hosted a discussion in … Continue reading Chris Packham’s Natural Selection: designed to be intelligent

The Birthday Tree

There was a cherry tree in the front garden of the house in Cheshire where I grew up.  Every year in spring, when the delicate white blossom would appear suddenly, as if snow had fallen overnight, I would sense that brighter, longer days were on the way. It later succumbed to poisoning from a poorly sealed-off gas mains. Later, … Continue reading The Birthday Tree

Uncommon Ground: learning to read our landscape again

Recently I was presented with a beautiful gift – a book by Dominick Tyler called Uncommon Ground: A word-lover’s guide to the British landscape. The book is the product of a year that Tyler spent travelling the length and breadth of the British Isles to photograph specific features of the natural world. Realising how limited was … Continue reading Uncommon Ground: learning to read our landscape again

The Sixth Extinction: humanity busy sawing off the limb on which it perches

Atelopus zeteki, the Panamanian Golden Frog Though it might be nice to imagine there once was a time when man lived in harmony with nature, it’s not clear that he ever really did. Elizabeth Kolbert is a journalist who writes on science matters for the New Yorker. She has written two books, the first being Field Notes … Continue reading The Sixth Extinction: humanity busy sawing off the limb on which it perches