Quick I/D guide … Collins ‘Complete British Wildlife’… good for moths and butterflies.
Anything Richard South on moths, the old Warne series but still useful.
Theres lots, thank goodness for ebay.
Remember, our liveable space on the planet (half a mile up and half a mile down) is represented by a one thousandth of an inch ie 0.001″ cigarette paper placed on a childs eight inch dia football. A cigarette paper is one quarter of the thickness of copier paper ie at 0.004 inch. We have so little space, therefore if we mess with its chemistry, its temperatures and a myriad of multi-webbed feedback loops then we are in trouble; or a single species such as ourselves takes too big a bite of burning resources and upsetting natural systems alien to nature, then as again, we are in trouble.
A man that is fascinated with such things and he too talks of diatoms – a vast genus that will prove so crucial to this planets unfortunate demise as we know it, for instance symbiosis with coral reef ie Bryozoans and its the exploitationof ancient oil and gas from diatoms ( 70% originates from diatoms) that with cruel irony is our demise. Diatoms produce DMS a gas discovered by James Lovelock in the 1970’s that is fundamental in weather systems / cloud formation out in the oceans, likewise diatoms provide 20% of the worlds CO2 to O conversion. And invisible to the naked eye. No expensive microscope, a secondhand students microscope set to low mag ie x100 will do all you want.
Interesting to see Lynn Margulis, i have a most fascinating book here, beautifully illustrated bought say twenty years ago ‘What is Life’ exploring the ideas of Ernst Shrodinger and his book of three quarters of a century ago. Note Sagan as in wife of Carl.
Another book, important and packed with knowledge is James Lovelock ‘Gaia’ a most incredible Independant Scientist, i’ve also his autobiography a very interesting read, easy too. But the Gai I have here suffers from too much colour in its explanations, more confusing than helpful in many cases. Never mind, i’m sure James Lovelock can hardly be held responsible once the publishers get their hands on it.
Why such destruction? Is this a so-termed bycatch? A most heinous waste. For years in the UK we have suffered as European fishing fleets took what was for centuries regarded as the entitlement of UK fishermen. To fishing ports along the UK coast the EU symbolises utter insanity, likewise the up till now EU regard to bycatch.
Practicality and common sense was never a strong point for the EU.
Its looking to me that fishermen seem always inclined to reap and then rape the seas of its bounty, witness the falling fish stocks around the world, Grand Banks, North Sea etc. Desperate for catch, unable to leave it alone. Can we say that this is fuelled by a desire to conform to a continual desire for growth? theres a lot to be said for keeping things local, low key, modest. It is this conventional (is it termed The Classical Economic model) standard western economic model that is in part leading to our demise. A term never used these days is ‘the consumer society’ yet all around me i see neighbours hooked in to wanting more, bigger and better when often ‘more modest’ would be sufficient. No wonder its so easy with advertising to catch sales for whatever new toy, holiday, villa abroad, gizmo or SUV is becoming available.
Its difficult to get up-to-date information on this, i am also ‘stuck for time’; three and four years ago there was massive Pacific seabird collapse and likewise with oceanic diatom collapse whenever I ask online questions I never get a reply.
Plenty of news coverage yesterday re insect decline, bizarre predictions of ‘100 years’ seem so silly, if insect loss stands as it does now I’d say three years, five or seven. How else, if they’re ‘dropping like flies’ (horrible pun) with nicotinoids and unmentioned aluminium levels then the tail off will can only be drastic. I feel so sorry for the knock on effects, to lose garden song birds will be so sad. Likewise bees, butterflies, and i wonder at earthworms. I garden for birds here, strangers have told me so, yet we use the term ‘garden songbird’ when in fact gardens suitable for them, swathes of urban garden are punctuated with barren grass patches at best or paving and gravel and the dreaded dreaded membrane. People just do not seem to connect, few people plant a garden hedge, there are other preoccupations, other toys to play with nowadays. People are so THICK …
My garden is a maze of carefully thought out ‘jumble’, niche corners, shrubs, flowering things, every day of the year theres something in flower. All done at little expense, lots from seed and cuttings.
Many farmers are not the best of operators in ensuring biodiversity, often on my rambles hedges are left to fail and thin and then remain as a few straggling hawthorn sixty years later. A most useful small / mini wood at the entrance to Old B Church was destroyed a few years ago, snowdrop churned to muck, for no purpose, the Forestry Commission a hundred miles away telling me they granted a license to fell and there will be i assume grant aid to develop another artificial synthetic planting. Here in our local Park much used by urban dogwalkers similar nonsense is occurring, an obsession in destroying potential butterfly habitat ie strimming and putting out of reach leaf litter for blackbirds with an obsession with wood chippings; maybe I’m wrong, maybe it will house worms and woodlice, I shall have to check.
Likewise at a couple of separate places i visit, i place bird seed in useful rough weathered fencepost, for twenty years yellowhammer have always accompanied me along that road in spring and summer, its the least i can do. I feed horses too, initially a little neglected, twenty years ago, nowadays the owners realise they need to make an effort. Its what you do that matters, not platitudes or vacuous observations with no follow up. In the bad snow of seven years ago it was only one visit in six weeks that I missed a 28 mile round trip to feed each afternoon; snow tyres being essential.
Do kids do gardening at school? They’ve stopped the wood and metalwork decades ago. And I always wonder that once the photo-op has passed what are the results of their efforts with trowel and seed packet? The consistency, the regularity of effort?
I recall my years eleven to sixteen in a village Secondary School NE England … the microscopes only ever came out of the cupboard once in five years, the biology / science teacher hopeless and uninterested, many lessons devoted to playing ‘hangman’ while he played around with his admin tasks!
We most definitely are bringing up kids that cannot make perform simple tasks to satisfactorily conclusion, cannot complete a practical task. The term ‘using ones hands’ still carries to many a derogatory inflexion to it. Lets blame the Educationalists, they have eradicated so much that is practical and geared toward a finished piece of work, not just fannying on with the apron and plastic specs. We live in a bullshit world, we are getting what we deserve.
An American style obsession driven by big business, all sizes of business with red meat and burgers will have to be re-thought, likewise population control; likewise what we spray on the fields. Probably its too late, but i would never give in, never decline to make the effort.
Aluminium levels are much ignored, not embraced as mainstream and my interest in diatoms is just too obscure (fundamental to the marine food chain) to yield anything from online searches!
Isn’t that a beautiful rendition of the lapwing! So accurate, so characterful, a credit to the artist. Their antics, their beautiful rippling warble across upland landscape is joyful, a masterpiece of creation. To those that don’t know it, they are sadly lacking.