Attack on Nature: Do We Care?

Metal owl, back alley, Darwen, Lancs

Recent government announcements have united the UK’s leading nature charities in protest. Issues include:

  • Proposals that weaken our Habitat Regulations.
  • Creating large enterprise zones which will reduce the need for planning permission in areas that currently include, for example, Special Protection Areas for birds.
  • Rolling back the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) that encourages farmers to protect nature in favour of the old, often criticised method of paying landowners a set amount per acre of land owned.
  • An ongoing drought is drying up rare chalk rivers and all of our rivers fail to meet the chemical standards set for them.
  • British Woodland is becoming less diverse.
  • The UK is one of the most nature depleted countries, in the bottom 10% globally and last among the G7 group.

The Royal Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Birds (RSPB) has been leading the response. I’m not a bird photographer, so I’m using owl art for this post, owls being an old symbol of wisdom. And because art might be the only way future generations know some of the wildlife our society takes for granted.

Owl puppet costume on the ground

“Our economy and our health depend on a thriving natural world.
“We cannot let this happen. And now more than ever nature needs your help. We need to make it abundantly clear that we will not stand for this”
RSPB

“If ever nature has needed you, it’s now.”
Plantlife

“We stand with RSPB England in calling out the unprecedented attack on nature”
Wildlife Trusts

Yard art: metal owl on a branch

‘We share the deep concern of our fellow conservation organisations during this critical moment for nature.’
–  National Trust

‘We will ask our supporters to write to their MP to insist that they stand up in parliament for nature recovery, to ensure that vital wildlife across the UK not only survives but also thrives.’
Bumblebee Conservation Trust

‘We’re frustrated to hear the U.K. Government might SCRAP the ELM scheme, set to fund a number of rewilding projects. This would be yet another attack on nature, farmers and undo five years of hard work.’
Rewilding Britain

The Environment Land Management Scheme (Elms)… was constructed to encourage farmers to create space for rare species including wading birds and dormice, as well as absorbing carbon to help England reach its net zero target. Pilot schemes have created rare habitats and brought back species including nightingales, beavers and white stork.

‘…regulators have allowed water companies to pay out more than £72bn in dividends to shareholders, while saddling the companies with more than £50bn in debt and paying £58m to the chief executives of the dozen largest water firms in just the last three years.’
Feargal Sharkey

‘…none of our rivers are in good overall health. They all fail chemical standards, and just 14% pass the bar for good ecological health. This has huge implications for nature and for all of us.’
The Rivers Trust

Owl wall art by Inkversion

“A 2021 study estimated that the global costs arising from environmental damage are already around $7tn per year and will double in a decade… narrow measures of economic progress are in fact an illusion derived from incomplete measurement.

“The [threatened] post-EU farming policy and the tool kit in the 2021 Environment Act are among the powerful new levers we have to drive forward on targets for environmental recovery, in the process stimulating innovation, resilience and food and water security.
Tony Juniper CBE, chair of Natural England

What can ordinary nature lovers do to help local wildlife?

Don’t take anyone’s word for this, including my own. Research how government policy is affecting wildlife in your area and act in the way you think is best. Make your views known. The following suggestions apply to the UK:

    • Visit the People’s Plan For Nature by 30th Oct 22, give some thought to their three questions and vote for your favourite suggestions.
    • Read the government’s own report The Economics of Biodiversity.
    • Search #AttackOnNature on Twitter to find recent threads from wildlife charities and others giving more detail on these issues.
    • Check out some of the links and charities above.
    • Do as the Bumblebee Trust suggests – write to your MP.

33 Replies to “Attack on Nature: Do We Care?”

  1. It was very disheartening to read your list of serious issues confronting the UK environment. There are problems here as well. Sometimes I think it’s too late to save the earth from people.

    1. Some things have been lost forever, but there is still hope. Each government should have an independently assessed final score card, published in all media immediately before a general election. How did the land, its rivers and its wildlife fare under their stewardship? Did they at least try to do what they promised? Some of these proposals go directly against commitments made.

  2. Do you remember when the Government under David Cameron proposed to sell off the National Forests, and the outcry then that caused the Government to backtrack? When the population is united, it can move policy makers to rethink.

    I sometimes think that all the ‘quick to anger’ and ‘quick to criticise’ comments on social media may be – at least for some people – a longing to find that which truly fits with their aspirations for better societies. And meanwhile they are ‘just practising’.

    1. Selling off our National Forests should be a chilling idea for everyone. I do believe that British people care about nature, and you’re right that the more fuss is made, the more attention will be paid.

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