Life of influence: Dick Warner, naturalist and writer

VOCABULARY and nature constantly evolve. 

In recent years, the phrase “an influencer” has gained currency but naturalist, broadcaster, writer, evangelist, and champion for our natural world Dick Warner, who died prematurely but appropriately on a boat on the Shannon of Friday, has been “an influencer” for more than 40 years.

When he began his life’s work of pointing out to us that we should take better care of our environment, he and a few others — notably Éamon de Buitléar and Gerrit van Gelderen — fought to be heard in a country in which draining bogs, knocking ditches, and using rivers as sewers were almost national pastimes. That such practices are now frowned upon, if not outlawed, is because of the likes of Dick Warner.

He wrote a wonderful, seductive column for this newspaper for many years — his last one, sadly, appears today. He carried his great authority lightly and inculcated the idea of a green conscience in a gentle but very effective way. He was, to use a phrase fading from the vernacular, in every sense, one of nature’s gentlemen. A wise, rich voice has fallen silent.


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