Monthly Archives: August 2013

A threatened species commissioner for the UK?

Australia has just announced that it will be creating the post of Commissioner for Threatened Species to ensure that those animals and plants on the brink of disappearing are saved. This is an interesting idea, and could serve to prevent the loss of species that are under severe threat. I think this would be a good thing to have in the UK, as long as it didn’t draw resources away from existing nature conservation. Eurasian otter, a species that has […]

New biomass sustainability standards: high on carbon, low on honesty

Biomass might not be sexy or controversial, or even high in the public profile like fracking or wind turbines. Even among my friends in the climate  and energy movement it’s a reasonably untold story. But bioenergy could be providing one third of the UK’s renewable energy by 2020 under Government plans. And the worst thing is that much of this energy could be more polluting than fossil fuels. That’s important, particularly for young people who will deal with the effects […]

A mixed week: a victim of theft and grateful recipient of generosity in the form of food

This blog doesn’t contain any photos, and I’m sorry for that. Unfortunately I had some of my camera equipment stolen. And that’s really what this blog is about. The house we live in here in Borneo was broken into and I lost one of my cameras and the charger and batteries for my other camera. I got off more lightly than some of my friends who lost laptops, wallets and months’ worth of data. I also spent most of the […]

Recent reads

This amazing video by Sebastiao Salgado, on the power of photography to move us to action Carol Kaesuk Yoon argues that our inate ability to name and recognise plants and animals has been replaced by an ability to name and recognise brands Nafeez Ahmed on the idea that environmental limits may spell the end of growth as we’ve known it Daily reflections on life, art, creativity and purpose from Tom Mason

What’s wrong with a railway? What I’m doing in Borneo.

This is a photo of a railway. It looks fairly benign, and these days it is. It’s the route we use to get in and out of camp from the nearby city. But in the past this railway was used to get felled trees out of the Sabangau rainforest, 6500 square kilometres of peat-swamp forest. Combined with canals to float the logs out, the forest here was severely impacted by logging. Peat-swamp forest is extremely wet, rich in carbon and […]

From rehabilitation to release: the orangutans of Nyaru Menteng

I haven’t yet come across a wild orangutan here in the Sabangau peat-swamp forest, but a day trip with our volunteer group did give me the chance to encounter the next best thing. During the volunteers’ long weekend away from camp we visited Nyaru Menteng, a place where the Bornean Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation works to rescue, rehabilitate and release orangutans. We began by visiting the BOS visitor centre, where we saw some of the orangutans in their care. These […]

From Tower 42 to Tower 35; or from the urban jungle to the real jungle

In April this year I found myself presented with an incredible view – the skyscape of London as seen from the top of Tower 42, one of the tallest buildings in the capital. The view from there was incredible, and St Paul’s cathedral was clearly visible. I was there as part of a project focussing on urban wildlife, working with friends from A Focus on Nature and David Lindo, The Urban Birder. While it may look like a concrete wasteland […]