The Green Glossary – ‘E’

This week, the letter ‘E’ is brought to you by a certain half-arsedness and a lack of inspiration. If anyone has any to add, please do:

Early Bumblebee, n. – I’ve seen earlier.

Ecology, n. – Newt counting, in the main.

Eider, n. – The campest of the ducks

eider

OOooooOOOooo

Elder, n. – A lightweight tree, useful mainly for making various types of alcohol with:

Elderflower wine

Elderberry Gin

Or; your betters.

Elm

Elm, n. – Want to confuse a young environmentalist? Stick an elm leaf under their nose an ask them what it is.

Environment Agency – ah, those guys. You know, the ones who aren’t the other lot, or the other lot? They do the flooding don’t they? I can’t keep up.

Environmental Education – Generally speaking, herding pre-schoolers and keeping them from falling into ponds. Once they hit an age where they can be thoroughly tested and hit over the head with largely pointless exams, environmental education mysteriously disappears from the curriculum. Because who needs to know about nature, really?

Ermine, n. – Worn by a stoat when life is at its hardest and the elements at their fiercest, or a politician as he is gently shuffled towards a cushy job in the other place.

The EU – let’s not, shall we?

Evergreen, n – See also Craven, John

Extinction, n. – The inevitable fate of most public sector Ecologists

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The Green Glossary – D

I finally got around to compiling entry ‘D’ for the Green Glossary. It was a bit of a slog. If you’ve got a suggestion, do let me know:

Dabchick, n. – It’s a Little Grebe, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Damson, n. – Fruit. Come winter, someone somewhere will insist on ruining a perfectly serviceable gin by saturating these uninspiring little fruit in it.

Darwin

Darwin: Watches over all good environmentalists from on high. Sees all you do. Darwin does not approve.

Darwin, Charles. – That chap, you know, the old guy with the long flowing beard. All-knowing, creator of all that we now see and believe…

Dawn Chorus, n. – A small piece of advise to anyone new to the sector: Should your boss say to you ‘would you run our dawn chorus event? It’ll be great experience for you,’ politely but firmly decline. If personal experience is any guide, you and your fellow volunteers will drink through the night in a misguided attempt to avoid sleep and subsequently be unable to distinguish any bird song through the sound of an angry badger trying to escape from the inside of your head.

Deer, n. – AKA Killer of woodlands. There are rather a lot of them about these days, apparently.

deer arse

Know your deer: Often seen running in the opposite direction from you, you flat-footed oaf. So it’d be an idea to get familiar with their rumps. Unfortunately I can’t remember what order I put these in.

DEFRA – The DEpartment of FARming. Or something like that.

Denier. – A curious bird divided into two camps; the Ostrich (head in the sand) and the parrot (will speak for corn). The latter of these is often found with oil in his pocket. Or visa versa; I can never quite remember. Both are equally deplorable.

Dog, n. – ‘He’s only playing, he’s dead friendly.’ Work on any nature reserve anywhere and you will undoubtedly hear these words at least twice a week as another feral dachshund attempts to savage the livestock.

Drizzle, n. – Default atmospheric conditions under which all practical conservation work must be undertaken.

Drone, n. (or v.) – Either an innovative new technology with interesting applications in conservation or how those in the sector sound to the general public when we get up on a favoured hobby horse.

Dunnock, n. – Little Brown Job. Sexual deviant of the hedgerow.

Dutch Elm Disease, n. – They gave us Bergkamp, so I guess it evens out.

The Green Glossary – C

Another week in the on-going green glossary series. You get the idea by now:

Canada Goose, n. – A great big, stupid-faced, honking idiot we are forced to remain on good terms with for appearances sake.

canada goose

Honk, bloomin’ honk.

Chantrelle, n. – A mushroom and absolutely not an appropriate name for your first-born, apparently.

Charity, n. – The environmental sector is broadly concerned with the preservation of a robust natural environment in the face of ever multiplying threats and conflicting interests. That the human race is reliant on a robust natural environment seems to have passed a great many people by. It is therefore absolutely reasonable that it predominantly exists on charitable hand-outs.

Cherry Laurel, n. – Another bastard. See recent posts.

Chiffchaff, n. – LBJ. Provokes birders all over the country to show off their vocabulary by casually throwing out the word onomatopoeic.

Climate Change – Not so much the elephant in the room as the blue whale in the bath-tub. An issue at which the world’s great and good occasionally offer sideways glances as they sit on the toilet reading the FT.

Cockchafer, n – Low-flying, Lancaster bomber of the insect world. Yet another example of a perfectly reasonable name that makes uninitiated simpletons giggle uncontrollably. See Also: Blue Tit, Shag

Coffee, n. – A poor substitute for tea when it cones to fuelling volunteers.

Corridor, n. – A popular notion amongst conservationists is the idea of wildlife corridors. The theory goes that if I manage Nature Reserve A, which is hemmed in on all sides by shooting galleries and industrial wastelands, and you manage Nature Reserve B, which is surrounded by toxic waste and concrete, everything will be OK as long as they are linked by C, a thin strip of amenity grassland.

Comma, n. – For conservationists this is a type of butterfly and not a form of punctuation which we are notoriously slipshod at using sometimes to the detriment of our readers who have to ask themselves if it is entirely possible for a normal human being to hold their breath for the amount of time needed to successfully finish reading long and laborious sentences that don’t really go anywhere.

Commons, n. – Some misguided folk in the dim and distant past decided that green spaces would be so much better if every Tom, Dick and Harry could have the run of the place. For this reason, any mention of Commons is now automatically prefixed with ‘tragedy of the’. The folly of this policy is most visible on places like Clapham Common, where the high density of local residents grazing their sheep on the grass and collecting firewood from the copses has created a bland monoculture littered with artisanal coffee houses. In a perfect world, these places should all be fenced off with very large ‘Keep Out’ signs and rows of razor wire really ramming the point home. Only the likes of us will be allowed free access. The likes of you will be granted day passes after successfully passing a gruelling 4 hour test on grass identification.

Coot, n. – A Napoleon of the urban pond

Coppicing, v. – A method of farming wood. Exists in the hazy zone between heritage and conservation.

Cotswolds, the, n. – A magical place where nature roams free and all conservationists dream of living a life of gay abandon, with no thought of grant funding, targets or ‘engagement’.

countryfile

Countryfile:…oh bugger, I forgot about Craven

Countryfile, n. – The Great Divider. The Church of the Green Movement is generally thought to schism into two main camps. Countryfile is a television program specifically designed with the aim to determine which camp any new convert falls into. Upon watching an episode of Countryfile, standard reactions are either ‘this is Tory/Farming propaganda designed to maintain and reinforce the detrimental countryside status quo‘ or ‘this is a dumbed-down and fluffed up representation of the countryside produced entirely for liberal left city dwellers’. Either way, Adam Henson largely takes the blame for it.

Cow Parsley, n. – If you look out of the window at this time of year, you can probably see this stuff growing before your very eyes.

Culling, v. – If the general populace realised quite how many conservation issues were expediently resolved with a bullet, then we might not be quite as popular.

I’m stuck about there…I was working on Curlew, Countryside, Copse, Caledonian Forest, Cowslip etc etc, but I’ve run out of time. Do give me a definition if you think of one.

The Green Glossary – B

Another missive from the front line of the green movement. For all you non-adherents out there, the Green Glossary is a guide to bluffing your way through any conversation with an over-zealous, greeny-type. This week is brought to you by the letter ‘B’:

Badger, (n) – Pied mustelid with a tendency to evoke very black and white opinions. The truth is somewhere in the grey.

Bagshall, Steve – Musclebound pin-up that even the most misanthropic and cynical of Greenies (i.e. me) can’t help but like. Created with the soul purpose of seducing the more superficially-minded to the cause. Like a sexy apostle.

Baker, Nick – Bug bothering Baker badgers beetles, beleaguers bees and besieges butterflies.

Ban, (v) – The primary aim of the majority of Green endeavours is to ban or restrict any activity taking place in the countryside before they started to take an interest in it. If the activity is largely the preserve of individuals with more money and opposing political convictions, then all the better.

Bats, (n) – A bulwark against frivolous developments which unfortunately often offers all the protection of a wet meringue.

Beardy hipster

Beard, (n) – Essential facewear for 50% of followers. Optional for the other 50%

Beaver, (n) – The magic bullet that will cure all the ills and problems of conservation north of the border. Possibly by flooding out The Enemy. Causes some outsiders to giggle uncontrollably – See also; Blue Tit, Shag.

Bee, (n) – A fuzzy little black canary in the mine and insect du jour.

Bicycle, (n) – Essential mode of transport for all followers. Those in the movement who do not own a bicycle are looked on as degenerates, heretics and outcasts.

Bierce, Ambrose – Time-travelling, plagiarizing bastard

Birch, (n, v) – A tree even you can identify. The branches are apparently useful for hitting people with. Rumour has it that some followers of the movement gather under a full moon and self-flagellate with birch branches in an act of penance for every act of consumerism or litre of petrol purchased.

Birds, (n) – The C of E of the Green religion.

Biodiversity, (n) – A word to be sprinkled liberally throughout any communique, official document or propaganda piece. Preferably in at least every third sentence. No one really knows what it means.

Bittern, (n) – A bird that can’t be mentioned without someone, somewhere saying ‘Booooooooom’.

Blackthorn, (n) – A spiky bastard.

Blog, (n, v) – An obligatory extra curricular activity for all serious practitioners of the faith. A platform to yell into the void all that distresses and enraptures. A form of therapy that fills much the same role as the confessional booth.

Blue Tit, (n) – A perfectly sensible name for a bird that for some reason provides an endless source of amusement to the likes of you.

Buddleia, (n) – An admirably hardy invasive. Laughingly promoted as ‘butterfly bush’ by shameless garden centre salesmen everywhere. The butterflies remain oblivious to the fact the buddleia has been supplied specifically for their enjoyment and studiously ignore it.

Budget, (n) – A mythical concept which serves the same purpose as Manna or Ambrosia in other religions. Some acquaintances swear they heard tales of a colleague of a friend of an associate in the sector who once had a budget, but no one has ever seen any concrete evidence of this.

Burning, (v) – Either an essential part of conservation land management or a dangerous and deleterious practice. To discern which camp a particular incident falls in, consult the size of the land manager’s bank balance.

buzzard

Buzzard, (n) – Pe-yoooo. Simply put one of the most pleasant sounds of the countryside

 

Bracken, (n) – Annoyingly prevalent. There are some that believe a cross-section of the earth’s crust will show a thick bracken layer.

Bramble, (n) – A prickly bastard and bane of many a conservationist’s existence. Has often led to confused accusations of self-harm.

By-laws, (n) – Put in place for the likes of you, not for the likes of us.

Feel free to tweet any additions to next week’s #greenglossary, which will, in strict adherence to logic, cover the letter ‘C’.

The Green Glossary – A

I’ve long since pondered that what’s needed for the layman to navigate the acronym and buzzword-heavy world of the ‘Green Movement’ is some sort of dictionary; a Glossary if you will. This would help the uninitiated cut through the jargon, the science and the species talk that can make the world of your standard Ecologist sound like so much gobbledegook. Starting – as is the custom of things – with A, here a frequently disgruntled mid-level functionary in the movement (me) sheds light on the words conservationists use and what they really mean; revelations which will surely knock all that Xenu stuff into a cocked hat. So here, for all the non-believers out there – the infidels, if you will – I give you the Green Glossary:

Acorn, (n). A marvel of nature. When planted in the ground, within a mere 300 years a single acorn can become a fully mature oak, replete with a multitude of branches, small and large. Vulnerable to a whole host of injurious potentialities, from disease, wind-sheer, fire and fungus, but more commonly victim to clear-felling where an alternate crop would be more financially beneficial. An allegory for the sector.

Agenda, (n). An item often seen in the possession of your intrepid environmentalist. Frequently observed being dragged up the hill of general apathy.

Agriculture, (n). Potentially the movement’s greatest ally. See Also: THE ENEMY

Alder, (n). A tree readily identifiable by its repeated cock and balls motif.

Alien, (n). Anything with the temerity to be where it is not wanted.

Alkanet, Green, (n). An example of the general perversity of botanists in the matter of labelling.

Green alkanet

Alkanet, Green (n). An example of the general perversity of botanists in the matter of labelling

Amphibian, (n). Able to enjoy the best of both worlds. Despite popular belief that the world is run by an unseen cabal of lizard overlords, it is in actual fact run by a secret sect of amphibian despots. This is yet another example of the general ecological illiteracy of the general populace (i.e. you)

Ancient, (adj). As pertaining to trees, having reached an age of such venerable decrepitude as to be almost, but not entirely, dead and yet paradoxically more alive and of interest to ecologists than ever. As pertaining to ecologists, having reached an age of such venerable decrepitude as to finally be of interest to other ecologists.

Animal, (n). The stock currency of the movement. Cuddlier and more charismatic animals represent higher denomination notes, flora and insect life account for the smaller change.

Ant, (n). An insect worshipped by the movement for 364 days of the year. On the other day – Flying Ant Day – it is roundly abused and cursed. Many followers take part in the annual Flying Ant Day dance, which to the ignorant may appear like so much limp-wristed flailing. It is thought that the annual Flying Ant Day celebrations are performed in order to disabuse ants of the notion that they need not be earth-bound. As such, it has so far been a demonstrable success in forestalling the Rise of the Insects.

Anti- (adj). A prefix often associated with the movement.

Apocalypse, (n). A long-expected (and in some quarters, long hoped for) levelling of the playing field.

Arborist, (n). Lunatics who sit in the crown of trees, throwing chainsaws back and forth, whistling all the while. They perform the same religious function as the bull-leapers of Minoan Crete.

Arctic, (n). An Atlantis for the 26th Century.

Ash, (n). An Elm for the 21st Century

Aster, (n). Probably what that pretty flower that caught your eye was.

Attenborough, David – A major deity of the movement. To be worshipped in 1-hour stretches on Sunday afternoons, not unlike other, more erroneously popular deities.

Autumn, (n). A season. A time of year notable amongst conservationists as the period when they start to think about, maybe, possibly getting out and doing some work. Just as soon as the weather clears.

Avocet, (n). A stilt-walking, long-faced, poster-boy and corporate shill for a major arm of the movement.

Next week: B. Please send in your suggestions