Eco Notes October

October 2023

Pliny the Elder – green views

Pliny the Elder died in Pompeii in AD 79 following the eruption of Vesuvius. He wrote the largest work to have survived from the times of the Roman Empire to the present – “The Natural History” (Naturalis Historia), which covered all spheres of the natural world. What is of relevance today from his writings is that, even back then, he realised that humans were having an impact on, and even poisoning, their environment. Needless to say, that effect has multiplied enormously since then. We all need to learn how to reduce our impact on planet earth. Maybe a good place to start is by appreciating what the natural environment has to offer us and from that may spring the desire to preserve it – for example, at present, the hedgerows are full of bounteous red berries as, following a spectacular spring display of flowers, the hawthorn trees are aglow with fruits. It is truly a wondrous sight, autumn at its best but, more importantly, provides many creatures with a valuable food source. Hawthorn trees are an integral part of native woodland planting, so we may expect to see more in the future as new forestry planting proceeds. Forestry aside, even smaller gardens could find space for native species such as hawthorn, spindle, guelder rose etc. A pleasant autumn activity could be to plant some of our wide variety of native shrubs or trees.