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”

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

“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. To be honest, I was already afraid that such decisions would be made. Due to the crises (Covid and Ukraine) it is now all hands on deck, the economy has to run, food has to be put on the shelf and we have to become more independent of “less suitable energy suppliers” (ie Russia).
    It is logical that budgets for matters such as care for the environment are the first to be scrapped…. and whether we can do anything about it, that is very much the question!

    1. Some countries will have the forethought to grasp the environmental nettle and I believe they’ll be the ones who will achieve growth and security for their people. I really wish we could be one of them.

  2. I had a (fairly) clear conscience until I encountered all these owl eyes. What a perfect bird to include in this alarm; those eyes miss nothing! The poor health of rivers is especially worrisome because all life depends on good water. I’m especially sorry to read of birds in danger; they are such beautiful beings. It’s truly depressing to think that generations to come will know present-day wildlife only through artistic representations. What a dismal thought.

    1. It is especially irritating when the government’s own economic research supports biodiversity: “Our economies, livelihoods and well-being all depend on our most precious asset: Nature… At the heart of the problem lies deep-rooted, widespread institutional failure.”

  3. I do bend my MP’s ear, and often. You’d think that as he’s the representative of a largely rural area, I would be knocking on an open door (sorry about all the unrelated metaphors ….) . But toeing the party line is the thing, apparently.

    1. I can’t understand why there is no demand coming from the population to be treated like adults and genuinely consulted on anything other than do we put an ‘x’ here or there once every five years. We should have some way to genuinely explore and debate the major issues not just make room for the lobbying of interests via party politics.

      1. Exactly. And change the electoral system too to a fairer one. Many of us, of whatever persuasion, never have a hope of being represented by the party we voted for.

  4. Ah, if all of us had the projected wisdom of owls we would not be in this mess in the first place. Grass roots efforts in local communities are always heartening, but it is going to take significant pressure upon business interests and politicians alike to effect real change.

  5. I have been following these worrying developments on Twitter. I hope organisations like the RSPB can reverse these decisions. Nature is so important for us all, for so many reasons.

    1. We had a field with wide open skies nearby where I used to be able to watch an owl hunting if I was lucky during walks in lockdown. Local people tried to protect it, but failed. It has been very hard to watch all the life being scraped off the land.

  6. Mother Nature will win in the end. If you have read “The Earth Without Us,” or seen the TV series, you’ll realize she can shake us off like fleas and be the better for it. Humans are the most destructive species the earth has ever known.

    1. There is so much recklessness that there is comparatively little focus on the wildlife issues, other than from the charities on Twitter. It feels like a rush to grab whatever they can while the shop is still open.

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