"Our friend Simon King has been a constant source of encouragement and support in the recent investigations into the life and work of Maxwell Knight (MK). Simon offered to take, temporarily to store, and then to catalogue, the contents of Maxwell Knight’s filing cabinet. This was an enormous undertaking; the undertaking was greatly expedited by the enthusiastic … Continue reading John and Margaret Cooper would like to express their personal thanks to Simon King
Thanks, Cage & Aviary Birds for the article "The Mysterious Mr Knight: spymaster to be celebrated" in this week's publication. Registration for the Maxwell Knight Symposium is via The British Herpetological Society website Organised by the British Herpetological Society (BHS), with support from the British Chelonia Group (BCG), the Amateur Entomologists Society (AES), the Institute … Continue reading “The mysterious Mr Knight: spymaster to be celebrated.” – Cage & Aviary Birds magazine July 18.
Michael Gove, as environment secretary, has made Greenpeace UK's day by saying that farming subsidies must be earned and benefit the environment. Looking for a 'green Brexit,' Michael Gove may only be prepared to hand out payments when farmers agree to protect the environment and enhance rural life. "Huge news! Michael Gove has just said … Continue reading Green Brexit: Farm subsidies ‘must be earned’ – Michael Gove
By Simon H King With one in seven of the UK's wildlife species at risk of *extinction should property developers be encouraged (or forced) to contribute to nature's recovery? (*State of Nature report, 2016). 'The natural world needs our help as never before,' warns Sir David Attenborough in the forward to the State of Nature … Continue reading Should urban developers be forced to contribute to nature’s recovery in the UK?
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"This is the age of science”, is the cry from ministries and other authorities, and it is true that science must play a large part in the lives of our future citizens. But do we truly want or need a nation of scientists where each person can claim that he or she has attained some … Continue reading “Is there to be no room for the Arts?”
"Young people" hit the headlines this week for all the right reasons - to share their 2050 vision for nature (#VisionforNature). Let us applaud these nature-protecting protagonists for making themselves heard above the daily noise of grumpy adults. They have spoken. Now, we must listen... ...to what's in the report written by the A Focus on … Continue reading The beginning of something great? “Young people urge UK politicians to help safeguard nature”
In this heartfelt chapter of The Frightened Face of Nature, Maxwell Knight drops his guard and invites the reader to consider the unthinkable - "the virtual disappearance of nature". "Does such a question as that heading this chapter stem from the neurotic imaginings of a fanatic," he asks, "or is it one that can reasonably be … Continue reading Chapter IV – goodbye to wildlife?
In just forty years between 1970 and 2010 the global Living Planet Index (LPI), which measures more than "10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, has declined by 52 per cent." (source: WWF Living Planet Report 2014). The World Wildlife Fund’s and ZSL’s LPI report states that, “Habitat loss and degradation, and … Continue reading As long as there are two songbirds still singing, the percentage decline can’t get any worse
Maxwell Knight played a significant part in a number of fields; herpetology was his particular love and he produced a number of scientific papers on this subject as well as adding to national and local records and, through his books and broadcasts, encouraging an appreciation of reptiles and amphibians amongst the British public. The filing cabinet contains letters … Continue reading Maxwell Knight sang praises of the amateur naturalist
“Many people think that animals of all kinds can be neatly put into groups and labelled Friend, or Foe; or Harmless, or Harmful. Unfortunately, nature does not work like this, and there are very few creatures in this country that can be described as wholly beneficial or equally destructive… This business of friends and foes … Continue reading Nature: friend or foe?
Maxwell Knight was aware of the furore and criticism from chemical companies and others when Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring in 1962. Indeed, he credits her work in his unpublished manuscript. She wasn't the only one in those years who drew attention to environmental problems and was criticised for not being “proper scientists”; … Continue reading Why didn’t Maxwell Knight publish The Frightened Face of Nature?
During the 1960s Maxwell Knight - the real-life "M" - was working on a manuscript entitled The Frightened Face of Nature, snatching brief moments to record his thoughts on how man had treated nature so unfairly for the first fifty years of the twentieth century. The manuscript documented Knight's greatest fears that, time was running out for nature and that its greatest threat was man's destructive revolution and the reverse of evolution. “By all means let man use his great powers to invent new devices; let him give of his best to see that all shall benefit from his genius in curing, healing, and housing those in want. But do not suggest that this can only be done by destroying what is fine to look at or listen to, whether in the arts or nature. If human brains can find means of defying space, improving means of communication and bouncing pictures off satellites, surely he can also discover ways in which these things can be done without destruction – for destruction first is the cry of mad revolution and is the reverse of evolution.” - Maxwell Knight The manuscript was kept under lock and key and it remained a secret until 2015 when the (hitherto unpublished) manuscript was discovered inside M's personal filing cabinet... Copyright: see acknowledgements