Rachel Carson

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Jennifer Jewell: “I see hope and value in a self-sustaining cycle of living with plants, loving plants, learning plants, growing plants, knowing plants, interpreting plants.”  Photograph:  John Whittlesey

  We all have our heroes and it’s not surprising so many of mine belong in one way or another to the world of plants. They include gardeners, de(...)

Carson believed “the war was won in childhood”; that if an early relationship with nature was established, a child would be more likely to grow up with a strong sense of care for the environment. Photograph: iStock

On a stormy autumn night, sometime in the early 1950s, the conservationist Rachel Carson took her 20-month-old grandnephew to the seafront. She wrappe(...)

Cut hedgerow near Shillelagh in Co Wicklow. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

The passing of a controversial Heritage Bill in the Dáil that will ease restrictions on the burning of heather and gorse and cutting back hedge-rows h(...)

 Sandhoppers, or tonachán trá: ‘Usually there are a huge crowd of them together, helping each other loyally and stoutly’. Drawing by Michael Viney

Between the mowings of summer winds and wrenching storms of winter, a huge mass of seaweed, rich in sugars and minerals, is cast ashore. Nature doesn’(...)

 Judith Roddy and Manus Halligan  in Corcadorca Theatre Company’s  Far Away, by Caryl Churchill.  Photograph:  Enrique Carnicero

★★★★★ Spike Island, Cork These days dystopia is a cliche, and finding new interpretations for its horrors might challenge any production company. Ex(...)

Jane Jacobs: the architectural critic and writer who would come to play David to Robert Moses’ Goliath

In 1961, the legendary city planner Robert Moses returned a manuscript to the publisher Random House with a short, sharp note: “I am returning the boo(...)

 Phillip Lymbery, author of    Dead Zone: Where Wild Things Were,  in the Natural History Museum, Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

“Which is the most ugliest?” a boy of around seven says to his friend as they breathe on the glass cabinet of a bird display in Dublin’s Natural Histo(...)

Florida Everglades

“There are no other Everglades in the world,” writes Marjory Stoneman Douglas in the opening of The Everglades: River of Grass, her very readable 1947(...)

‘No helpless bit of flotsam’: a Portuguese man-of-war. Illustration: Michael Viney

Rachel Carson, whose great honour for her book Silent Spring somewhat overshadowed her gifts as a writer about the sea, once found a Portuguese man-of(...)

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen inside Oxitec laboratory in Campinas, Brazil. Photograph: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

In Europe the story of Zika virus has been dominated by golfers and the Olympics. But where Zika is a more immediate health threat, in North and Sout(...)

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