Books, magazines and podcasts for conservation optimism: The summer picks of WLT staff and supporters SEARCH NEWS

Have you ever read a book that has ignited a connection to nature? World Land Trust staff share the words that inspired their passion for the natural world. Image credit: Jessica Delp on Unsplash

It is no surprise that the World Land Trust (WLT) staff are all avid nature lovers, but today we would like to get our reading glasses on and reveal the bookworm inside all of us. We have come together with our own supporters to share with you some of the books, magazines and podcasts that not only nourished our minds, but helped us connect with nature.

Fiction or non-fiction, magazine or news article, no matter the format words have the ability to whisk you away to a place you have never visited, surprise you with an interesting nugget of knowledge and even change your way of thinking.

Being stuck in a good book can be as much of a salvation as spending a sunny afternoon in the great outdoors, and the best remedy is when the two are combined. Studies show that reading for just six minutes can slow down heart rate and reduce stress – and with that in mind the WLT team would like to share with our supporters the works of literature that have shaped us.

Grab a cup of tea, set yourself down into a cosy armchair and get reading…

WLT Communications Officer Alice Wojcik on Where The Crawdads Sing

Image credit: Alexey Elfimov on Unsplash

Nature is our best teacher, and this story by Delia Owens conveyed the perfect example of that. Following a young girl who lived in the swampy countryside of North Carolina, ostracised by society and abandoned by her family – the world around her was her only ally. Her connection to nature was truly inspiring, and despite our lives being completely different I found myself reflecting on how and why nature is a solace to me in times of need.


WLT Communications Manager José Rojo on The Overstory

Image credit: Roberto Pedraza Ruiz

Good books change how you see the world and to me, none has come even close to The Overstory by Richard Powers.

Right from the first page, the sharp-edged poetry of the language this book uses to spin its story – a sweeping saga of disparate human lives transformed by an awakening to the world of trees – has had the same impact on everyone I know who has read it; and you could be next.

If you read The Overstory, you will look at the world and no longer see people at its centre. You will see trees instead, and see them for what they’ve always been, with us humans too caught in our own lives to notice. They are the cradle of life we owe everything to. We owe them, we’re losing them – and yet we know so very little about what we’re losing.

This is a message that The Overstory delivers pretty brutally but a message which we need to hear, more than ever in this year of climate breakdown. We need to make that mental switch in how we see nature before we can save it: nature is not external to our life; it is the very basis of our life.


HR Advisor Debby Porter on Positive News magazine and newsletter

Image credit: Alice Wojcik

As per the title, the focus of Positive News magazine is on the positive changes that we can make and that are happening around us, both in terms of people and nature. It always gives me hope and leaves me with something to think about. Having only seen red squirrels on the Isle of Wight, it was good to see that a study published recently identified strongholds in Scotland – conifer forests that suit red squirrels but are inhospitable to greys; and a peatland restoration project near Manchester which aims to soak up carbon, boost biodiversity and prevent flooding. These are all things that have been in my mind following the recent IPCC report.


WLT supporter and fundraiser Sally Hughes on How To Be Hopeful

Image credit: Sally Hughes

How To Be Hopeful by Bernadette Russell is not a nature book – it is a book about finding hope in life. Reading this book I realised how much of my hope and how much of my personal peace is based in the natural world, as I read about stories and initiatives of people who have found their hope in that connection. For example, there is a strong encouragement to find peace in little actions, like tree planting schemes. I also learnt about the Craftivists who are protesting about climate change by sending crocheted canaries to MPs. There is a wealth of information and resources in this book and I went away and followed all these threads and discovered more. It was my springboard to action.

Sally is fundraising for WLT through her #happygreenplanetstack Instagram challenge.
Click here to discover how you can support her.


WLT Communications Officer Josh Wright on The Unexplained podcast

Image credit: Josh Wright

I recently listened to this podcast by Howard Hughes where he interviewed Mireya Mayor, a primatologist who discovered a new species of mouse lemur back in 2000, while undertaking a wildlife survey in Madagascar. Restricted to just three small patches of forest in a heavily deforested country, Mittermeier’s Mouse Lemur has now been classified as Endangered. It remains threatened, but thanks to Mireya, the species now has the protection it needs. After her discovery, Mireya met with the president and prime minister of Madagascar and successfully convinced them to declare the lemur’s habitat as a national park.

The discovery of any new species is always exciting. It reminds us that there are still wild places out there – places still thriving with life, where habitats have remained intact and the human footprint has been light. I’ve been to Madagascar once before and it’s encouraging to see that this hub of biodiversity is still turning up surprises. The 108th lemur species was only described last year! It’s also great to hear stories about governments who recognise their natural treasures and are willing to take significant steps to protect them.


WLT CEO Jonathan Barnard on The History of the World in 100 Animals

Image credit:

Simon Barnes’ The History of the World in 100 Animals has recently taken me on a journey of humans’ relationship with animals, from the small (ants) to the big (Blue Whale), and a whole range between. Apart from the fact that he missed the most important species (meerkat of course, although I might be biased after researching them in South Africa in my university years), this has been a welcome break from my usual countless hours on video calls and emails. There is something about reading this beautifully written book whilst sitting in the garden that has just reset the end of my day. This final quote just says it all really: “…when you are out there amongst the living trees and life is teeming all about, you feel only the life. That’s when you know, with a very deep certainty, that every habitat on Earth is saveable, and that every species on Earth is saveable. The rest is only a matter of will.”


We would love to hear from the WLT community about the books that inspired your connection to nature – please share your recommendations with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

If you choose to buy your books (or anything else) from Amazon, you can activate an option to donate to World Land Trust at no extra cost to you with Amazon Smile. You can also support us as you shop and browse the internet through Every Click, Give as You Live, Easyfundraising, Better Points – follow this link to find out more.

Happy reading!

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