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A Mundane Comedy is Dom Kelleher's new book, which will be published in late 2024. The introduction is available here and further extracts will appear on this site and on social media in the coming months.

The 52:52:52 project, launching on this site and on social media later in 2024, will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

This site addresses what's changing, at the personal, organisational and societal levels. You'll learn about key changes across more than 150 elements of life, from ageing and time, through nature and animals, to kindness and love...and much more besides, which will help you better prepare for related change in your own life.

Halcyon In Kaleidoscope features irregular and fragmentary writings - on ideas and values, places and people - which evolve over time into mini essais, paying humble homage to the peerless founder of the genre. The kaleidoscope is Halcyon's prime metaphor, viewing the world through ever-moving lenses.

What's Changing? - Nature



Please see below selected recent nature-related change.


See also:


February 2024


January 2024


December 2023

  • The delicate balance of nature has profound implications for the global economy. More than half the world’s economic production, valued at $44 trillion, is moderately or highly dependent on nature, according to the World Economic Forum. The loss of any of these critical requirements can pose a severe threat to financial stability, supply chain integrity, and overall business resilience. Some companies have begun to recognise the importance of comprehensive reporting about their impact on nature. The imminent introduction of regulations mandating disclosures adds urgency to the need to understand the appropriate scope of reporting and best practices. BCG explored the current state of nature reporting and its research found that only a handful of companies excel in nature reporting.
  • A yearly global investment of nearly US$7t in activities harmful to nature is made, more than 30 times of the US$200b funding received for nature-based solutions in 2022, according to a UN Environment Programme ‘State of Finance for Nature’ report.
  • Plants take up CO₂ through photosynthesis, but release around half of that CO₂ back to the atmosphere via respiration relatively quickly. The other half is used for growth and stays in the plant biomass for longer - months to centuries. That biomass will eventually die and decompose. Part of the carbon will be released again to the atmosphere, but other parts will enter the soil where it can stay for hundreds of years. So, if plants take up more CO₂, it’s likely more carbon will be stored in vegetation and soils. This “land sink” of carbon has increased over the past few decades as annual global carbon budget assessments have shown.
  • In the modern age, many think of humankind as existing apart from nature. We live in a world wholly separate from the natural order to which our species used to belong. Yet, to a surprising extent, our lives still follow the rhythms of the seasons; no less than plants or animals, our energies and activities are shaped by the changing elements and scenery.


October 2023

  • Daily events warn us that our “line of credit” with nature is running out - suffocating heat, choking droughts and rampant floods and wildfires across the world, warned the FT, while asking: are we destined only to catalogue these phenomena when the money is there to keep them in check? As Brazil Lula da Silva has said: “Mother Nature needs money because industrial development has destroyed it over the past 200 years", while trillions of dollars are looking for applications and purpose.
  • Merlin Sheldrake presented an IMAX movie called Fungi: Web of Life. The film is about the ways that fungi have shaped life on Earth for over a billion years, and how we might partner with them to adapt to the radical change of our times. It's narrated by Björk, and features fungal time lapse photography from some of the best fungal photographers working today,


August 2023

  • Is there economic value in nature? Here are some of the things that data tells us:
    • Natural resources such as water, minerals, forests are essential for economic activities. The estimated dependence of global economy on natural resources is worth around US$44-70 trillion. (UNEP)
    • Nature provides natural services such as pollination, water purification, and climate and temperature regulation. The estimated annual value of pollination alone for example services worldwide is around US$235-577 billion. (IPBES)
    • A large portion of the economy depends on agricultural products. The agriculture sector contributed approximately US$2.4 trillion to the global economy in 2019. However, bad agricultural practices are considered to result in reduced productivity, environmental degradation, healthcare costs, and others, with estimated economic losses in the trillions annually, that has domino effects on other industries. (FAO / World Bank)
    • Natural landscapes attract tourists and contribute to local economies. Global nature-based tourism generates about US$7 trillion in economic benefits annually. (World Travel & Tourism Council)
    • Economic activities can harm the environment. The cost of pollution-related diseases globally is estimated to be over US$4.6 trillion per year. (The Lancet)
    • Neglecting the environment leads to economic instability, with the annual cost of environmental degradation and pollution amounting to over US$4.7 trillion. However, investing $1.8 trillion annually in sustainable agriculture and conservation could generate US$10.1 trillion in annual business value. (Business and Sustainable Development Commission)


June 2023

  • While to many preserving nature is about the emotional aspect of protecting animal and plant life, it is also an economic issue. Most products we use, from medications to clothes, have an element of nature in them, Yet biodiversity is declining globally with climate change, habitat loss and pollution threatening plant and animal life. Wildlife populations across the world dropped by almost 70% between 1970 and 2018, according to the Living Planet Index.
  • From a stroll through a city park to a day spent hiking in the wilderness, exposure to nature has been linked to a host of benefits, including improved attention, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders and even upticks in empathy and cooperation. Most research so far has focused on green spaces such as parks and forests, but researchers are now also beginning to study the benefits of "blue spaces", e.g. places with river and ocean views.
  • According to Good Business, it’s hard to overstate the extent to which business is dependent on nature. An article in the FT quoted a European Central Bank estimate that at least three quarters of companies are highly dependent on at least one ‘ecosystem service’ (e.g. water, pollination, fresh air) and that the risk of environmental degradation could impact on the creditworthiness of 4.2 million companies. 


February 2023

  • The past 50 years we have witnessed a 60% drop in wildlife populations, according to the WWF Living Planet Report. This, in addition to degrading ecosystems could cost US$2.7 trillion in global Gross Domestic Product by 2030, according to the United Nations Development Programme.
  • Scientists sought to develop a “wellbeing blueprint” for gardens, that is hoped could be used in the green spaces of schools and hospitals. Researchers are using the Royal Horticultural Society experimental garden to observe the range of emotions it evokes in people, by splitting it up into sections with different coloured flowers and scents.  


January 2023

  • The key to happiness at work might be nature. Professionals in the agriculture, logging and forestry industries — or those who work in the great outdoors — are the happiest and least stressed, according to an analysis of self-reported data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s not to say these jobs aren’t dangerous or difficult, but some foresters say working with nature provides them with a sense of peace. “The woods is therapy, the forest is therapy,” one forester told The Washington Post.
  • Nature has, over millions of years, evolved solutions to adapt to an array of challenges. As the challenges facing humanity become more complex, we are seeing inspiration being increasingly drawn from nature. Taking biological processes and applying them to technological and design problems is called bioinspiration. This is a fast-growing field, and our ability to copy nature is becoming more sophisticated. noted The Conversation.


December 2022


October 2022


September 2022


June 2022

  • The world’s largest-known plant was discovered off the coast of Western Australia, covering 220 square kilometres, an area three times the size of Manhattan. Scientists say the underwater meadow grew from a single seed some 4,500 years ago.
  • EY research found that when we spend time in nature something acute is going on. Time in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing, from reduced anxiety, depression and stress, to the physical health benefits of reduced blood pressure and heart rate to name a few. The effects of Seasonal Effective Disorder (SAD) can also be reduced through exposing to natural light. Less reported benefits are social connection, nature is a also a sociocultural equalizer with  people living near green spaces reported less mental distress even after taking into account health correlations such as income, education and employment.
  • Further reading:


May 2022

  • In 2021, the UK's Mental Health Foundation chose ‘Nature and the Environment’ as the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week, on the back of their research into the positive impacts of nature during the pandemic. MHF also released a research report about the importance of connecting with nature, and a policy briefing that calls for the government to focus on connection with nature in the formation of policies relating to nature and mental health. The policy briefing recommends that connection with nature should be used as a measure for the effectiveness of policies, rather than measuring people’s time in and visits to nature. The protection and restoration of nature, and improved safe and equitable access to nature for all, is called for in order to maximise people’s opportunities to develop deep relationships with nature.
  • Chile became the second country (after Ecuador) to grant rights to nature in its constitution, following support from the Earth Law Center and Defensa Ambiental. The constitution will now include two articles:
    • 1. “Nature has the right to have its existence protected and respected, to regeneration, to the maintenance and restoration of its functions and dynamic balances, which includes natural cycles, ecosystems and biodiversity.”
    • 2. “These are principles for the protection of nature and the environment and include, at minimum, the principles of progressivity, precautionary, preventive, environmental justice, intergenerational solidarity, responsibility, and fair climate action.”


April 2022

  • In Nature does not care, Robert Smyth claimed that too many nature writers descend into poetic self-absorption instead of the sharp-eyed realism the natural world deserves. When we speak of nature we are always really speaking of ourselves - our voices give us away, every time
  • A study claimed that large numbers of historical forests could be wiped out by climate. change. The authors of Global Field Observations of Tree Die-Off used a database of climate-induced forest death events dating back to 1970 to study forest adaptation to warmer temperatures. Their models showed that at 2C of warming, forest die-off events will become 22% more frequent. At 4C of warming, that leaps to 140% more frequent.
  • Mushrooms appear to talk to each other. Scientists catalogued a “vocabulary” of 50 electrical signals fungi exchange via underground tendrils.


March 2022

  • A study claimed that the Amazon rainforest is close to a tipping point that will trigger a massive wave of tree dieback, and turn the forest into a savannah. Published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the paper presented evidence to show that across the last three decades the rainforest had become dramatically less resilient to extreme events such as drought and wildfires. The research was based on an analysis of satellite images. Soon, warned lead researcher Dr Chris Boulton, large parts of the forest may stop recovering from those kind of events, which are becoming more frequent. The consequences could be severe: a massive dump of carbon into the atmosphere that would escalate global mean temperatures.


January 2022

  • For The School of Life, nature quietly takes us each year through a moral lesson that has much to teach us about how we might relate to certain of the more dispiriting and despair-inducing moments in our own development. Beginning in mid-October in the northern hemisphere, the temperature drops, the nights draw in, the earth turns cold and hard, fog lies low over the land and rain drives hard across the austere, comatose grey-brown landscape. Like nature, we cannot be permanently fruitful or creative, excited or open. There are necessary times of retrenchment when, whatever we might desire, there seems no alternative but to stop. As nature seeks to tell us, we cannot permanently be in flower. We need moments of repose and confusion. There is nothing to fear. Things will re-emerge.
  • In her TED talk ‘How trees talk to each other’, Suzanne Simard, a forest ecology professor at University of British Columbia, showed how nature is generous. Forest trees magnanimously share information and nutrients with each other using a deep network of soil fungi.
  • Scientists have learned a lot from failures about how to help a landscape heal; it’s important to consider the underlying conditions that fuel destruction in the first place, and this creates an opportunity to learn from the successes, too. A renewed focus on achievements could have a big upside beyond just feeling better about the state of the planet. It could help us imagine the world we want to build.


December 2021


November 2021

  • For The School of Life, those who have wished to protect nature from modernity’s destructiveness have often made powerful appeals to people’s altruism; they have evoked the suffering of other species and the needs of as yet unborn generations. But it is rarely a winning strategy to try to get through to the selfish by appeals to their conscience; it may simply be wiser to target their self-interest. We don’t need to make impassioned speeches begging the drillers and the loggers to be good. We need only point out the cost to themselves, and more specifically to their mental wellbeing, of the loss of nature.


August 2021


July 2021

  • Planting trees is no answer to the clearing of rich tropical forest: better to let go of land and let nature regenerate: under a spontaneously reseeding canopy, embattled flora and fauna can finally recover. Rewilding Europe, led by Frans Schepers, is making it happen. The 16-strong team leads eight initiatives across the continent. Its wider network covers five million hectares. As well as re-introducing animals and plants through a European Wildlife Bank,i t's rewiring finance: Rewilding Europe Capital is the continent’s first targeted loan facility for “conservation enterprise”.
  • Funded on Kickstarter, Terra Project aims to create a network of devices that track migration while letting people livestream nature's soundtrack into their home. After being placed in a backyard or other outdoor setting and hooked up to a wifi network, Terra's weatherproof, saucer-shaped device picks up bird calls and other wildlife sounds and broadcasts them to a user's speakers or headphones.


May 2021

  • Analysis from the University of East Anglia of more than 140 studies from around the world found that “exposure to greenspace significantly reduces people's levels of salivary cortisol - a physiological marker of stress” - not to mention that it also appears to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and premature death, according to the 2018 report, published in the journal Environmental Research.
  • Regular immersions in nature, a stack of studies confirms, can also lower stress hormone levels, reduce depression, allow for better sleep, foster creativity, and make people more kind and less aggressive — among other wondrous feats. The Japanese take such benefits seriously - they call it shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing - using contemplative nature immersion as a form of therapy.
  •  A study found that participants performed considerably better in memory tests after a walk in nature than a walk down an urban street.  Even in lockdown some form of nature was relatively accessible to many, whether it be indoor plants, a small garden, urban parks and green spaces, or in a fully rural setting. Nature has the added benefit of being free of charge.
  • Breathe Underwater noted that a number of psychological theories offer suggestions on the positive effect of a natural environment upon mental wellbeing. In the biophilia hypothesis (Wilson, 1984) that instinctive experienced is defined as being ‘an innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes’ which is important in sustaining mental wellbeing, providing hope and optimism, and a deeper understanding of our own worth and that of our natural surroundings. Kaplan and Kaplan (1989) expanded upon this to consider the restorative elements of nature connection, with the environment providing fascinating stimuli which is noticed with ease and provides a break from the more demanding parts of daily life. The Stress Recovery Theory (Ulrich et al.,1991) specifically focused upon the reduction in negative arousal that being in a natural environment affords, where the lack of threat and the natural stimuli support positive emotional responses.  Using the biophilia hypothesis, Lumber et al. (2017) noted five pathways of contact, emotion, compassion, meaning and beauty through which individuals connect with nature.
  • Laura Gibbons published a blog extolling the virtues of connecting with nature as a means to improve our well-being. Just 20 minutes in nature can bring significant and speedy benefits, she says, thanks to positive psychological associations with the color green. Apparently, looking at green foliage not only increases people’s ability to concentrate, it’s even been shown that people lifting green boxes think they’re lighter than equivalent black ones. There’s also scientific evidence to suggest that higher levels of negative air ions near forested areas (and large bodies of water) can positively impact mental outlook.
  • Research by YouGov, released by the UK's Mental Health Foundation, stated that even small moments in nature can be effective in protecting people's mental health and preventing distress. For 65% of those surveyed, being near water had the greatest positive impact. Which is why the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust launched a nature-based health program - Blue Prescribing - at its London centre.
  • BCG calls “nature co-design” the harnessing of nature's design principles and manufacturing capabilities to design and operate at the atomic level of organic and inorganic matter. It builds on the coming wave of deep tech innovation and encompasses a clear problem orientation, the convergence of emerging technologies and approaches, and the speed of the design-build-test-learn (DBTL) cycle. Its collective force and reach are about to become clear. BCG estimated that nature co-design will affect more than $30 trillion of economic activity over the next 30 years, the equivalent of 40% of current global GDP
  • In big cities like London, finding a space to grow food is almost as hard as finding an affordable place to live. Allotments - small rented gardens not attached to a home - have long waiting lists that only grew longer as people sought out green spaces during lockdowns. Which is why AllotMe decided to tap into another source: homeowners willing to rent out (part of) their garden. Like an Airbnb for vegetable patches, London-based AllotMe makes it easier for the average person to access space for growing their own fruit and vegetables. Homeowners set a fee of at least £5 per month, of which AllotMe takes a small cut.


March 2021


February 2021


January 2021

  • In Will Nature Go Mainstream in 2021?, Nature argued that, as we we set our collective vision toward global recovery in 2021, recognising and making decisions based on nature’s value will be essential for building a better world. Whether it’s for our physical health or our fiscal health, it’s clear that we need nature now. This year, world leaders will convene for to agree on a new framework for protecting biodiversity and increased global climate commitments that will guide efforts to save the planet for the next 10 years, but setting ambitious targets at these meetings presents a new start, not an end, to the work ahead mad we won’t be able to follow through on these goals if we don’t make nature part of the mainstream in our economies, societies and everyday lives.


December 2020

  • There are a growing number of examples of animals' evolutionary path diverting around humans and human encroachment. From the increase of tuskless elephants to changing fox snouts, this biological trend, though worrying, is well-documented. Now researchers in China have discovered a wildly growing plant that has adapted by developing camouflage that makes it less likely to get picked by human hands, noted Big Think.


November 2020

  • Henrik Ibsen coined the evocative term friluftsliv in 1859, amalgamating the Norwegian words for free, air and life. The Nordic countries have embraced this concept, best translated as ‘an outdoors lifestyle’. In Sweden, a country of 10 million people, nearly 2 million people are members of the 9,000 local and regional clubs devoted to outdoor activities, with around one third of the population engaging in activities at least once a week.
  • Further research by The Future Normal found that:
    • In 2009, a team of Dutch researchers found a lower incidence of 15 diseases, including depression, anxiety, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and migraines, in people who lived within about a half mile of green space.
    • When Japanese researchers at Chiba University investigated the effects of Shinrin-yoku (‘forest bathing’), they found that “forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city environments.”
    • In 2011, the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health published a review of nature-assisted therapy, finding "that a small but reliable evidence base supports the effectiveness and appropriateness of NAT as a relevant resource for public health. Significant improvements were found for varied outcomes in diverse diagnoses, spanning from obesity to schizophrenia.
  • The Future Normal also noted that the UK National Health Service (NHS) allows health workers to refer patients to nature-based activities in order to help tackle mental ill health. The need is urgent, with the NHS reporting that as many as 40% of primary care appointments relate to mental health, and those with severe and prolonged mental health issues at risk of dying 15 to 20 years earlier than those without such issues.  As part of the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the NHS formed part of a cross-governmental initiative focused on scaling up green social prescribing. The £4 million, two-year pilot project’s aims were to improve mental health outcomes, reduce health inequalities and demand on the NHS.


October 2020

  • A study in Nature said restoring - or rewilding - 15 per cent of land that humans have degraded could remove from the atmosphere nearly a third of all the excess carbon emitted since the start of the industrial revolution, and boost biodiversity. 
  • Big Think noted that spending time in nature can bring well-established health benefits, from lowered anxiety and depression, to reduced blood pressure and a stronger immune system. But how nature produces these effects remains unclear. Is it the awe you feel hiking through a centuries-old forest? Time spent away from screens? The physical exercise? Research adds a new dimension to scientists' understanding of how nature impacts wellbeing. The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, found that people who watched high-definition nature programmes on TV or in virtual reality reported lower levels of boredom and other negative emotions.
  • According to a study published in the journal Emotion, one way to improve mental health is by taking regular 15-minute "awe walks." Researchers at the UC San Francisco Memory and Ageing Center and the Global Brain Health Institute wanted to see if these focused walks in the woods could improve prosocial emotions in seniors. The team chose this cohort due to longstanding links between cognitive decline and mental health problems associated with anxiety and depression. According to associate professor Virginia Sturm, loneliness is particularly damaging to older adults and can help drive the onset of Alzheimer's disease. "What we show here is that a very simple intervention," said associate professor Virginia Sturm, "essentially a reminder to occasionally shift our energy and attention outward instead of inward – can lead to significant improvements in emotional well-being."
  • Public green spaces like parks and nature reserves, which many city dwellers flocked to in COVID-19 times, are a luxury in most of Asia's crowded urban centres. In the region's 22 major cities, average green space per capita is only 39 square meters (420 square feet), about half of the figure in Africa and more six times smaller than the per capita average in Latin America.
  • An AI used NASA satellite imagery to count more than 1.8 billion trees in the Sahara Desert. Until now, experts believed the Sahara had almost none.


September 2020


August 2020


July 2020


June 2020


May 2020

  • It’s likely that we will all be spending time in our local areas for the foreseeable future and taking our holidays in our home countries rather than abroad. Could we bring to these experiences the same kind of curiosity we might feel when visiting a different city or landscape? Is it possible to find dynamism and novelty in our parks, streets and woodlands? During lockdown, writer Lucy Jones, like many others, came to know her nearest green spaces more deeply and gratefully. Instead of becoming bored, as she imagined she might, she found that her local natural areas felt like new destinations each day, even by the hour, for nature is in constant flux. Bird songs are richest at dawn and dusk. The wild garlic smells stronger when the soil is warm and rte nettles glow green when the sun is low in the sky.  In short, Jones says we can find the wild near our home and we can even find our place in the family of things, to use the poet Mary Oliver’s phrase. There is magic in the seemingly mundane. If we want more, we can find more. And it’s free.
  • Those who have wished to protect nature from modernity's destructiveness have often made powerful appeals to people's altruism; they have evoked the suffering of other species and the needs of as yet unborn generations. But, argues The School of Life, it is rarely a winning strategy to try to get through to the selfish by appeals to their conscience; it may simply be wiser to target their self-interest. We don't need to make impassioned speeches begging the drillers and the loggers to be good. We need only point out the cost to themselves, and more specifically to their mental well-being. There may be other ways to get healthy besides going to the park, but it is hard to imagine a species maintaining even a semblance of mental equilibrium without, somewhere in the picture, some very mighty trees, a mallard duck -- and a team of weaver ants.


January 2019

  • Nature is valuable not only for itself; it is also to be revered as the single most persuasive and redemptive work of philosophy. The School of Life argued that nature corrects our erroneous and ultimately very painful sense that we are essentially free. However, the idea of inevitability is central to the natural world: the deciduous tree has to shed it leaves when the temperature dips in autumn; the river must erode its banks, the cold front will deposit its rain; the tide has to rise and fall. The laws of nature are governed by forces nobody chose, no one can resist and which brook no exception.
  • While many of us know that time spent in nature is good for us, we can’t always say exactly why. There are obvious physical benefits (the exercise we get from walking and access to cleaner air, but instinctively, we feel an emotional benefit as well - subtle, but unmistakable. For The School of Life, this derives from our unconscious recognition of the innate wisdom nature contains. In its infinite variety, nature has lessons to teach us and all we need is the patience and focus to receive them.
  • The UN General Assembly declared 2021-2030 to be the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, while IPBES reported that nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history and species extinction rates are accelerating. They estimate that 1 million species or animals and plants are now threatened, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely. WWF estimate that humanity has wiped out 60% of all mammals, birds, fish and reptiles that existed in 1970.


Pre 2018

  • George Monbiot argued passionately for "rewilding" our natural environment. Drawing upon new scientific discoveries, he laid out a new, positive environmentalism, in which nature is allowed to find its own way. By restoring and rewilding our damaged ecosystems on land and at sea, we can repair the living planet, create ecosystems as profuse and captivating as any around the world, and bring wonder back into our lives.