Des Casey's "Nature's Future Our Future" encourages readers to reconnect with the natural world and take action to protect it. Photo /

Former Aotea DoC ranger Pens Book on Conservation

Former Department of Conservation (DoC) worker Des Casey, who spent five years on Great Barrier Island and participated in numerous community-led environmental initiatives, has penned a book about conservation.

Titled ‘Nature’s Future Our Future,’ Casey says the book is a collection of essays addressing the disconnect between our working lives and the environment.

Casey, who now lives in Nelson, had a 40-year career in mental health as a counsellor, family therapist, mediator, and tutor.

“Right from the days on the farm, as a child, I’ve had a passion for nature and birds, and animals, and the world around us,” he told Stuff.

“I just loved nature, loved being outside.”

Waves, Woods, and Wonders: Discover Aotea, Great Barrier Island

Growing up in Cannington, South Canterbury, as the youngest of six, Casey mentioned that his interest in nature was somewhat restricted when he went to boarding school. “They didn’t even teach biology.’’ he said.

Following school his concern for the environment grew over the years as he witnessed species loss and what he says was an increasing threat to biodiversity.

“My concern started to grow with species lost,” he added.

“We’re losing a lot of species and a lot of species are under threat.”

Casey believes that people are now more aware of environmental issues than they were in the past. “I think since the 1990s the level of awareness has increased,” he told Stuff.

“Back in the 70s and 80s you would be called a greenie or a treehugger if you were aware and concerned about the environment.”

Casey, who sat on the board of the Great Barrier Island Environmental Trust between 2012-2016, encourages people to talk about their environmental concerns and to take action to protect the planet.

“People who are concerned and who do love nature and see that it is in trouble, start talking about it at work,” he told Stuff.

“Without prophesying, having conversations around it and starting to talk about it, and talk about it in the context ‘we think we can do something about this’.”

Casey believes the kōrero could become viral and might incline people to increase pressure on politicians to act.

Barrier Drainage

“Nature’s Future, Our Future” is available now in bookshops for $45.00. You can also purchase it directly at


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