The Waterfall Built of Rock

I first went toCyprus, the place of birth of my father in 1961, when I was twelve years old. I was struck by the arid and rocky landscape, compared withGreece. We visited the village of my father, Amiandos, which is over a thousand metres above sea level in the Troodos mountains. On one mountain side of the village was what looked to me like a waterfall built of rock. Continue reading

Have you seen the Butterflies of Snowdon?

It must have been in 1965 that my geography teacher and another school teacher took about thirty of us children to Barmouth in what was then called Merionethshire in North Wales. We went to study geography, with clip boards and strong shoes, out of Poplar into the Welsh countryside. As part of the fun we climbed up (or rather I should say strolled up) Wales’ second largest mountain, Cader Idris, and from there and from other parts of our journey around the county we saw Wales’ highest peak, Snowdon which in Welsh is called Yr Wyddfa and which means “tumulus”. Continue reading

The Elephant in the Room, not the Bush

When it comes to managing its environment properly Australia has been a spectacular failure. When you arrive you are given a list of prohibited foodstuffs that you cannot import because to do so may harm the Australian environment or Australian businesses. Unfortunately the rules seem to be about protecting the status of an environment that has already been wrecked by the immigration that started when Britain first settled the island continent hundreds of years ago. Continue reading

Tree Hugging

Timber is big business. In all places in the world where trees grow humanity has cropped the trees for fuel, for shelter for furniture and for the luxuries of life. When humanity was species that was few in number tree cutting had little effect, although some think that many of the great deserts of the world have been created or expanded by whole tree cutting. In my lifetime the extent of trees has shrunk on the map of the world, particularly in the Amazon basin and in equatorial Africa. Continue reading

Farming the Common Carp

In 1986 I visited what was then known as Czechoslovakia at Christmas time. In Wenceslas  Square in Prague there were huge concrete bowls which were empty when I arrived. The next day they were full of water and full of living carp, a traditional Christmas Eve food in central Europe. People arrived to buy the freshest of carp, choosing their living fish, taking it home and some, like my cousin kept it alive until Christmas Eve in the bathtub. Then he could not bring himself to kill the fish, so he gave it to his neighbours. Continue reading

Biomass Power Plant Madness

There are fifteen biomass power plants approved in the United Kingdom. Three years ago the first application for a biomass power plant was being made in Port Talbot; I was against this project then and I am dismayed that so many additional power plants designed to generate electricity by burning wood have been approved. There are dozens more biomass power plants being proposed. Continue reading

Sale of English Woodland suspended

The Coalition government of the United Kingdom has decided to abandon its policy of a large scale sale of the forests owned by the government quango, the Forestry Commission.  Many people regard this as good news because access to forests for the public will be secured. I think that there is a more important issue than public access. Continue reading