From the birds and bees to our boglands and the ice caps

Eanna Ní Lamhna
Our Wild World

Ireland’s favourite force of nature, Éanna Ní Lamhna, is on a mission to open our hearts and minds to our wonderful, wild world – to help us find the balance between our needs and the future of our precious planet.

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176 pages
226x155 mm

Also available as an E-Book (ePub)

Category Nature

Wildlife expert Eanna Ni Lamhna takes us on a tour of all things to do with our wonderful natural world: from a celebration of our fascinating birds and bees, and their powers of migration and pollination, to the thorny challenges of our time, such as climate change, sustainability and our carbon footprint.

Her mantra is that learning about our wild world is not just for young children or David Attenborough fans, it is a lifelong necessary knowledge for our survival – and we need to open our eyes and our minds to the challenges that face us and our world into the future. The key is to find the balance between our needs and wants and the future of our precious planet and all its inhabitants.

This brand new book raises, and discusses, questions such as; 

Why should we care about this natural world? Do we need and value the great outdoors now more than ever? But who wants spiders in their house? And what use are wasps anyway? Should we be worried by genetic engineering and windfarms? Biodiversity – what did it ever do for us? Does it mean the end of the world if the whales become extinct? Are global warming and climate change the same thing? What happened to the hole in the ozone layer? Is veganism the answer to sustainable food? What is carbon sequestration – just fancy words for trees? And why are carbon sinks so important? Is the mobile phone taking over our lives for good or for evil? How does a virus become a pandemic, and why?

Introduction: Wildlife
We are all in this together 9
1 The Great Outdoors. How the world works 12
2 Pollination. Another name for the birds and the bees actually 18
3 Migration. Why do they go and, more importantly, why do they come back? 28
4 Hibernation. The ultimate cop-out 38
5 Omnivores. The ones that have it all 46
6 Farming. The best idea the human race ever came up with 53
7 Why do Birds Fly? Because they can or because they have to? 63
8 Things that Go Bump in the Night. Wildlife in the dark 70
9 It’s a Wonderful World. You just need to know where to look 77
10 Bacteria. We couldn’t live without them 91
11 Pandemics. Or why you cannot get Covid-19 or any other disease from
telephone masts 98
12 Modern Terms. That we are all supposed to know, but weren’t paying attention
at the time 105
13 Global Warming/Climate Change. Is it getting hotter or colder or wetter or drier or what? 113
14 More Buzz Words Explained. Carbon sequestration – just a big word for trees? And what on earth are carbon sinks? 120
15 Biodiversity. What did it ever do for us? 126
16 Genetic Modification. The spawn of Satan or the best idea ever 133
17 Where Did We Come From? Evolution v Creationism 144
18 Recycling. Or just an excuse for woeful waste? 153
19 And They All Lived Happily Ever After. The End? 159

Éanna Ní Lamhna has a degree in Botany and Mircobiology and a H. Dip in Education from UCD. She is a long-standing member of the panel of experts on RTÉ’s wildlife programme ‘Mooney goes Wild’, and one of the most instantly recognisable voices on Irish radio. Originally from Louth, she now lives in Dublin, since 1967, and has been president of An Taisce since July 2004. Éanna is also the author of several other popular wildlife books. Her books Talking Wild (2002) and Wild and Wonderful (2004) and Straight Talking Wild (2006) were published by Townhouse.

Very much in Eanna’s style

RTE Radio's Today with Claire Byrne

Appealing and insightful take on the natural world … The 71-year-old runs rings around her interviewer, breathlessly traversing everything from climate change to cryptosporidium to viral pandemics, all of which she has the measure of in sprightly, insightful, and often hilarious terms. This combination of scientific acumen and robust communication skills are what have made Ní Lamhna one of the most loved educators in the country. Her new book, Our Wild World, brings these things together as she lays out some of the basic ecological and environmental principles that might have passed us by while clearing up a raft of myths, everything from migration to bacteria, to global warming and biodiversity. What makes Our Wild World particularly special however is that she is somehow able to strike a tone that speaks to anyone aged nine to 90

Irish Independent

Anyone who has heard Ní Lamhna over her 25 years in broadcasting knows she talks as fast as she does straight and can convey a lot in short time. She takes the reader on a whirlwind trip through the wonders of pollination, predation, migration, hibernation and adaptation. She zips through meteorology and climatology and explains how exactly the balance of sunlight, warmth and gases that kept everything on our planet running smoothly for millennia got knocked out of kilter by human activity in the space of a century. It’s science made simple, though the message is not easy to hear … In fact, it’s for anyone from about 12 upwards who has even a passing interest in the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate breakdown but is beaten back by jargon. Experts would also benefit from a read. They won’t pick up any new facts but they will learn how to communicate those facts to non-experts. Ní Lamhna doesn’t do jargon. She whittles down Darwin’s theory of evolution to the following explanation: “Nature doesn’t tolerate eejits.”

Irish Independent

Splendid … wonderful book … written both with imagination and feeling … it’s practical at one end, a blueprint for living, and at the other end it is a theory of the world

RTE Radio’s Mooney Goes Wild

I loved this book. It was really a revelation … I just couldn’t put it down … It should be required reading in schools and in colleges’ … [Eanna has] ‘done a fascinating and really excellent job of encapsulating and explaining very complex situations and processes and cycles in a very accessible way … it doesn’t come across as a lecture or as a tirade, it’s almost like an exploration with the reader to try to come to some better understanding of the way that the planet works … a manual to how the world runs

Niall Hatch, Birdwatch Ireland
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