Nice guys won’t save the planet

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

It is Bastille Day here in France. On this, the most important commemorative day in the country, we remember the bloody uprising in which the monarchy was overthrown and a new era of democracy could start to take shape. It was an event that changed history, but it was far from peaceful.

Perhaps it’s time for us greenies to wake up and recognize that cutting out meat and recycling our garbage is not going to end the spiral that our planet is currently heading down. I am not suggesting that these are bad ideas or that we shouldn’t all be…

Don’t forget to live.

Image by Hermann Traub from Pixabay

I am in the process of moving into a house on the banks of the beautiful Aveyron River in the southwest of France. The purchase was going through just as the east of France was hit by devastating floods that saw whole villages washed away.

As shocking images were flashed across our screens of an old couple climbing onto their roof to await a helicopter rescue, only to be swept away by the surging torrent, our friends and family grew a little alarmed at our reckless decision.

To reinforce their fears, three days after the sale went through, the pretty…

There is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I’m not saying I would mind getting rich. It simply isn’t one of my priorities. I certainly wouldn’t want to change my lifestyle to achieve this sudden turnaround in my fortunes. Instead, my objective is to make the world a slightly better place.

As the world is in such a shitty state at the moment, one would think that changing it for the better would be quite an easy thing to do. In fact, it is incredibly difficult. Little by little, I have been forced to lower my ambitions and opt for easier targets. Right now, I have reached a…

My life on a French riverbank

View from the terrace by author

Over millennia, the River Aveyron has been carving its way through the limestone of southwest France. Among its gorges and steep-sided valleys nestle some of the most beautiful villages in this country, and the French know a thing or two about beautiful villages.

Tired of the relentless hustle and bustle of where I had been living, I recently sold my home in a metropolis of three thousand five hundred people, and moved to a village on the banks of the Aveyron — resident population fifty.

Let me clear up one thing from the start. I am a writer and, despite…

Can we avoid a war around rewilding?

A bear facing towards camera
A bear facing towards camera
Image by ❤️A life without animals is not worth living❤️ from Pixabay

In 2004, the last native brown bear in the French Pyrenees was shot by a hunter. It was claimed to have been an accident but it was part of a much bigger dispute where farmers and bears have come into conflict in this high mountain region.

Pyrenean brown bears were on the brink of extinction in the French Pyrenees in the 1990s, and so the government set out on a reintroduction program by introducing bears imported from Slovenia. In 1996, the first three bears were released and, after a slow start, the introduction program slowly gathered momentum.

In 2006, four…

Quick, hide your typos and misplaced commas

Grammar Police Arriving Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I’ve noticed an alarming trend on Medium of late. Some of the mean bitchiness and downright nastiness that inhabits so much of the rest of the social media universe has started to creep in here. By in large, we’ve managed to keep ourselves free of it for years.

I avoid entering the swamp that we call social media. No Facebook, not even a LinkedIn profile. I’m just too fragile for the malice and spitefulness that seems to be an accepted part of that arena. Medium seemed to be a somewhat different playing field. …

Rewilding on my own terms

Black bird on a tree
Black bird on a tree
Blackbird in my kingdom. Image by Annette Meyer from Pixabay

One of the first things we are taught as nature lovers is that we should not interfere with nature. We should allow her to run her course without interference or passing judgment on some of the atrocities that she commits.

To me, that has always been a bit of a foolish argument. Having bent, twisted, and downright damaged most of the environment, often beyond repair, we now decide to abandon it and allow it to do its own thing.

It’s like walking away from a car wreck and suggesting that the mangled carcass of the vehicle should be allowed to…

Stop kidding yourself that you are anything else

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

When I first began to realize that Medium wasn’t going to pay for my Ferrari or even a monthly tank of gas for my beaten-up old van, I decided to focus purely on nature writing.

My motivation was simple, I like writing about nature, and such articles are notoriously hard to sell. Magazines do occasionally take environmental pieces from me, but those sales are as rare as chicken's teeth.

With Medium as a channel to write on the subject I am most passionate about, almost at will, I then suffered my next disappointment; nobody cares. …

Helpful snake identification tips to avoid

Photo by Alёsha Lamkinson from Pexels

I grew up in Africa and my wife spent many years in Australia. This frequently leads to heated arguments about the rather unusual subject of venomous snakes.

Africa has its fair share of cobras, mambas, and the like, all of which can give a fatal bite. According to my wife, none of these snakes have a thing on Australian snakes, which, as she tells it, can cause death if you just walk in the same neighborhood.

The Biblical book of Genesis is quite unequivocal about the fact that there will always be animosity between serpents and women, and I have…

Will our children even notice the natural world?

Once, We Saw Purple
Once, We Saw Purple
Image by LoggaWiggler from Pixabay

With spring finally starting to make her reappearance, the violets are beginning to elbow their way through the earth here in south-western France.

There are so many of these little purple flowers popping up in the wild that it can be difficult not to tread on them when walking out in the countryside. As we are still strictly confined, countryside walks are one of the few activities we can easily engage in at the moment.

Although I am fond of violets, it is the way they have managed to incorporate their way into both French culture and history that makes…

Mike Alexander

France based freelance writer with a passion for the environment and quirky cultural history.

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