Sad adieu to Botanic Man, David Bellamy

  • Thread starter epenguin
  • Start date
In summary, David Bellamy was a British environmentalist and botanist who is most well-known for his work on fungi. He was also politically active, and was one of the first people to speak out about the dangers of climate change. He passed away last week at the age of 82.
  • #1
epenguin
Homework Helper
Gold Member
3,636
1,010
I don't know about anywhere else but in Britain approximately zero persons over age 7 can have been unaware of David Bellamy who died last week.

His ebullient personality found full scope in TV productions making him "Britain’s best-known botanist and environmentalist of the 1980s" as the Times obituary puts it, obituary that loses count of the number of his books which were "forty or so" - not all popular, at least one academic, on peatlands.Random samples of the TV here.

I can't claim to have known him exactly, just to have been aware of him earlier than most people as he was at my old school, a few years ahead of me. He must be its most famous alumnus. I remember him (and about the only one of those more senior boys that I do). He stood out as a 'character' even then, already had his broken nose from rugby, a cauliflower ear, and a booming voice probably due to partial deafness caused by too successful experimentation with fireworks. About my first and clearest memory is of him in white coat (scientists' uniform) hunched over a microscope. Yet even in that position, associated with scientific humility, patience and discipline, he gave out an aura of energy and enthusiasm. I had the impression he was doing beyond-the-syllabus work. Just a few years after he'd left we heard that he had discovered a new fungus at Kew. About fungi, I did not much follow his later TV career, not being in the country, but I do remember once seeing an episode in which he declaimed "What would life be like without them?! Heavens! It would be as flat as this bread (showing some biscuity thing); as flat as the beer we wouldn't have! Nor would we have these cheeses..."

Difficult for most today to realize how ahead of his time on the environment he was, what a leader. He grew up in a world where plastics were seen rather than invasive menace, the promised thing of the future. Insecticides and pesticides were great unalloyed humanitarian and scientific progress, with no downsides known.He was among the first to see beyond, and speak out. What is more, to some effect.

The celeb status acquired before the word was invented mattered to him I believe only by enabling better and wider communication.He lost it, or at least his TV slots, because he would speak as his thought and science led him. Like many of the scientist-environmentalists of the first hour he was not best pleased at seeing environmentalism turned into a fetish and gesture politics, often contrary to the most ecologically rational actions. It is given out in several of the obits that he was boycotted for denial of man-caused global warming. I don't think it can be denied, now we see it accelerating, but I think one could have had a rational debate with him from which anyone would have learned something. Actually in The Times obit it is stated instead that he lost his media place by a brief involvement in politics and criticising the EU agricultural and fisheries policies, which were surely not beyond criticism to say the least.

A life well lived and for which we are all in his debt. It is a tragedy it ended probably - but who knows? I hope it is not totally true - without his being able to savour this achievement, having been hit by that biological chance process of dementia. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/12/david-bellamy-obituary
https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-...man-who-could-have-stolen-attenboroughs-crown
https://www.discoverwildlife.com/news/obituary-for-david-bellamy/
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-50752089
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/professor-david-bellamy-obituary-33xl3jm63
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/...3?shareToken=65c8087fe307fb2eddd86d10c3bca499
 
Last edited:
  • Like
  • Sad
Likes PeroK, davenn, Charles Link and 1 other person
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
Never heard of him before today.
After watching those two videos, I now want to watch everything he's ever done!
I find his enthusiasm infectious.

So far, I've watch his "New World Part 1", to find out a) where he was in Part 2, and b) what "molly soil" is. (Google was NOT my friend.)

Answers:
a) "on the Mendocino Coast of California" (09:45)​
b) "Molly means soft" (14:00)​

epenguin said:
Just a few years after he'd left we heard that he had discovered a new fungus at Kew. About fungi, I did not much follow his later TV career, not being in the country, but I do remember once seeing an episode in which he declaimed "What would life be like without them?! Heavens! It would be as flat as this bread (showing some biscuity thing); as flat as the beer we wouldn't have! Nor would we have these cheeses..."

I'd like to find that video. For some odd reason, I've become fascinated by fungi in the last few years.
 
  • Like
Likes epenguin
  • #3
OmCheeto said:
After watching those two videos, I now want to watch everything he's ever done!
I find his enthusiasm infectious.
...

I'd like to find that video. For some odd reason, I've become fascinated by fungi in the last few years.

That would be the most fitting tribute and memorial.

I read today that a bay in Turkey has been renamed after him because of his conservation work on turtles.
 
  • Like
Likes OmCheeto

Related to Sad adieu to Botanic Man, David Bellamy

1. What is the significance of the title "Sad adieu to Botanic Man, David Bellamy"?

The title refers to the passing of British botanist and environmentalist, David Bellamy. It conveys a feeling of farewell and sadness towards the loss of a well-known figure in the scientific community.

2. Who was David Bellamy and what were his contributions to the field of botany?

David Bellamy was a British botanist, television presenter, and environmentalist. He was known for his passionate advocacy for the protection of the natural world and his extensive knowledge of plants. He also wrote numerous books and articles on botany and conservation.

3. How did David Bellamy's work impact the scientific community?

David Bellamy's work had a significant impact on the scientific community, particularly in the field of botany and conservation. He raised awareness about the importance of protecting and preserving the natural world, and his research and publications provided valuable insights into the study of plants and their role in the ecosystem.

4. What is the legacy of David Bellamy?

David Bellamy's legacy is one of environmentalism, education, and conservation. Through his work, he inspired many people to take action towards preserving the natural world and brought attention to the importance of biodiversity and the threats it faces. He also influenced future generations of scientists, botanists, and environmentalists.

5. How can we honor and continue David Bellamy's work?

We can honor and continue David Bellamy's work by following in his footsteps and advocating for the protection of the environment. This can include supporting conservation efforts, educating ourselves and others about the importance of biodiversity, and taking actions in our daily lives to reduce our impact on the planet.

Similar threads

Replies
15
Views
944
  • General Discussion
Replies
1
Views
1K
Replies
3
Views
1K
  • General Discussion
Replies
4
Views
823
  • General Discussion
Replies
2
Views
983
Replies
2
Views
645
  • General Discussion
Replies
0
Views
595
  • General Discussion
Replies
14
Views
1K
  • General Discussion
Replies
24
Views
1K
  • General Discussion
Replies
2
Views
958
Back
Top