There are several reasons why it seems to me both appropriate and opportune that a chapter of Eduard M. van Zinderen Bakker’s Reminiscences will be published in volume 30 of Palaeoecology of Africa. The Reminiscences of biological travels in Africa and to south polar islands are not a book in the accepted sense of the word and this book is not a publication which is available in bookshops. The Reminiscences are memories which are intended for lovers of nature and adventure, for those who admire the birds and beasts, the rain and the wind, the forests and the mountains. But the Reminiscences also document why van Zinderen Bakker became absorbed in Quaternary studies, plant ecology and palynology. In the first chapter which is “In praise of dust and mud”, van Zinderen Bakker introduces into palynology. For van Zinderen Bakker palynology was the starting-point of all his palaeoecological research. Very early, van Zinderen Bakker realised that the future of a sound Earth depends on an ecological understanding of all compartments and interferences of Earth’s nature and that by understanding natural processes mankind will be able to manage future environmental problems.