Great reads for nature lovers

Great reads for nature lovers

Summer may still be in full swing but, for those of us who have headed back indoors to that old party pooper ‘work’, the next best thing to forest or sea bathing might be a well written article about the natural world. Here are a few recent gems for your reading pleasure.

Note: we've tried to highlight articles that are freely available but access to some of these pieces might be limited. We've pointed this out where applicable.

The Grief Bird

New Zealand Geographic presents this beautifully written article on the Australasian bittern or matuku, a seriously endangered wetland bird that many New Zealand bird lovers and environmentalists are attempting to save. A lone-wader and excellent camouflage-wearer with a booming call for mates, the matuku has an eerie presence in the wetlands, which seems apt given its endangered status, and this article perfectly paints a picture of spotting this elusive creature in the wild, while laying out the reasons for their swift decline.

(free access to a limited number of articles per month)

The Perverse Policies That Fuel Wildfires

Wildfires are increasingly wreaking havoc around the world, especially in North America and Australia. This New Yorker article looks at the history of indigenous controlled burning practices and the policies that prevented these from continuing. It also speaks to some tree species, such as the Giant Sequoia, which depend on fires for germination, pointing out that it could be we are making things worse for all species when we prevent wildfires from occurring, however devastating they can be to human settlements.

(free access to a limited number of articles per month)

What does a hoot look like? What about a croak? Or a howl?

With beautiful spectrogram images – visual representations of sound waves – along with crisp sound recordings taken from natural places around the world, this light yet informative read from the Washington Post lays out reasons why the peace of the natural world should be protected from human noise, as well as looking into the benefits for the human psyche of being exposed to such sounds in nature.

A single light on the mahau: On the parallel worlds of climate change storytelling

The brilliant and wry Nadine Anne Hura presents a look at climate change through a Māori lens in this Spinoff piece, which sees her travel to a settlement in the Far North to discover how locals on the ground are already facing the challenges of a rising sea. She compares a climate crisis conference to the perspective of a Maori expert and finds once again that the best method to get us out of this madness may be to listen to those who came before us and to treat the environment with reverence.

What are little blue penguins trying to tell us?

This New Zealand Geographic story of a lost generation of penguins in the Hauraki Gulf investigates the reasons why young blue penguins were abandoned by their parents en masse this summer. It focuses on a group of eight young which were placed in the care of Native Bird Rescue. Could their orphan status be because their parents couldn’t find enough fish, due to overfishing, sedimented waters, or rising sea temperatures? And what can be done to help provide good environments for future colonies?

(free access to a limited number of articles per month)

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