Author(s): Dave Goulson
A fascinationg look at the insect world found in one field in France -- and how important that world is to all of us.
In A Buzz in the Meadow Goulson tells the story of how he bought a derelict farm in the heart of rural France, together with 33 acres of surrounding meadow and how, over a decade, he has created a place for his beloved bumblebees to thrive. But other creatures live there too, myriad insects of every kind, many of them ones that Goulson has studied before in his career as a biologist. You will learn about how a deathwatch beetle finds its mate, about the importance of houseflies, why butterflies have spots on their wings, about dragonfly sex, bed-bugs and wasps. Goulson is brilliant, and very funny, at showing how scientists actually conduct experiments.
The book is also a wake-up call, urging us to cherish and protect life on earth in all its forms. Goulson has that rare ability to persuade you to go out into your garden or local park and get down on your hands and knees and look. The undiscovered glory that is life in all its forms on planet Earth is there to be discovered. And if we learn to value what we have, perhaps we will find a way to keep it.
A Sting in the Tale, Dave Goulson's account of a lifetime studying bumblebees, was one of the most gratifying success stories of 2013. Brilliantly reviewed, it was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for the best non-fiction book of the year. A Buzz in the Meadow is another call to arms for nature lovers everywhere.
I read Goulson's first book A Sting in the Tale, which tells of his studies of bumblebees, and it was a fascinating and educational read. In that book he told how he purchased an old farm in France with the aim of returning it to an original wild state and making it an insect friendly environment. The first part of his new book is that story and you learn again about insects and wildlife and how they all interact with each other, but this all leads up to his very disturbing concluding chapters. These last chapters give you a lot of food for thought as he describes his experiments with bees and the effects on them of the new neonicotinoid pesticides. He is adamant that these particular pesticides are creating havoc and are the major cause of Colony Collapse Disorder in beehives. After you read about his experiments he really leaves no doubt in your mind. He likens what is happening to our insects to the DDT scare all over again and he despairs that we haven't learned anything. Of course everything that he says is disputed by the pesticide manufacturers and unfortunately they have the ear of our politicians. As if to reinforce this, just after finishing reading this book, I happened to hear on the radio that the NZ Farmers Federation had appointed a committee to look into the health of our bees, as the bulletin stated that this was a mystery that they needed to look into! Talk about going round in circles and not admitting the obvious and therefore not getting anything done! Goulson likens what we are doing and what is happening to what happened on Easter Island after colonisation and refers to Jared Diamond's book Collapse . He reminds us of what happened to all the planet's megafauna on mankind’s path out of Africa, how we wiped out NZ's megafauna within 100 years. Are we programmed in our DNA to just waste and destroy all? Is this an indictment of today’s neo-liberalism and political conservatism chasing the almighty dollar? Can we rise above this or are we doomed to extinction because of our destructive ways and what we are now doing to the Earth? This book is a call to action. - Peter
A fascinating look at the insect world found in one field in France - and how important that world is to all of us.
"Wonderfully entertaining... Engages the reader as much with the eloquence of its argument as with the charm of its humour" -- Mark Cocker Mail on Sunday "Goulson writes with infectious enthusiasm... A lively and important read." -- Ian Critchley Sunday Times "Had me exclaiming with delight... Goulson's book is juicy and delicious, layered with flavours and steeped in culture" Daily Telegraph "Buy this book, give it as a present. It is required reading for being a human in the 21st century." -- Matthew Cobb, professor of zoology at the Univerity of Manchester New Scientist "A gripping account of the importance of insects to our environment... Goulson has an easy-going style and an enthusiastic yet rigourous approach to material that could seem dry ... Goulson's patient attempts to establish a link between [bees' colony collapse disorder and a new class of insecticide] become as gripping as any forensic thriller." -- Suzi Feay Financial Times "Glorious... The real pleasure of reading this book is hearing the hum of biodiversity rising from every page." -- Damian Whitworth The Times "An inspirational case for awareness and appreciation of the teeming diversity." -- John Akeroyd Spectator "Urgent and impassioned." -- Max Liu Independent "Witty, clever and richly informative." -- Mark Cocker New Statesman "Will make you glad that British universities are full of slightly fruity, quietly impassioned academics devoting their life to the smallest of creatures on Earth." Big Issue "Much more than a series of romantic wildlife walks... A trove of elegant and fascinating ecological tales." -- Richard Jones BBC Wildlife "Absolutely captivating." Independent "Biology is beautiful, as told in these pages." -- Gerald Isaaman Camden Review "A latter-day Gerald Durrell, Goulson fairly buzzes with enthusiasm, recounting numerous hilarious wildlife encounters with great literary flair, whilst retaining a scientist's meticulous eye for detail and a conservationist's concern for the future of the planet." Good Book Guide "'[Goulson's] heartfelt call for us to cherish the nurture of nature is as sweet as honey." -- Lain Finlayson and Kate Saunders Saga Magazin
Dave Goulson studied biology at Oxford University and is now Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Sussex. He has spent the last 20 years studying bumblebees, and has published over 200 scientific articles on their biology. He founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in 2006. A Sting in the Tale was published by Jonathan Cape in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. A Buzz in the Meadow was published in 2014.