Since coming to the UK I’ve noticed a couple of things: firstly, that it is always cold here. Secondly, that, despite an overarching concern about the protection of the environment in general, it is taken care of better than many give credit for. I haven’t been around very much, but protected nature reserves, and various laws that protect the environment (admittedly pushed strongly by the EU and in danger following ‘Brexit’) are in place to ensure that anyone who appreciates nature and its importance (which should surely be all of us by now) can continue to do so, and take pride in the fact that the country they live in has taken steps to protect the environment – even if more can be done.
In the 2015 General Election, only 43% of 18-24 year olds turned out to vote, according to market research organisation Ipsos Mori. It’s easy to argue that young people have lost faith in our political system, feeling disconnected and unrepresented in a fragmented democracy. In schools, politics as a subject is not resonant in our education system, so for many the concept is alienating or too complex to engage with. Politics wasn’t taught at my school until A Level, when I had already developed passions for other subjects.
I’m hanging over a railing in Walberswick, looking out to sea. The bar presses into my stomach, making me short of breath. Yet I hang on, desperate to catch the first glimpse of the crabs we are raising gently from the depths, to gaze at their alien-looking eyes, carefully avoiding their sharp pincers, before returning them to the water. Another day sees me walking off the beaten track and into the leaf litter in a Cornish woodland. I scramble down through oak, beech and elder to the water’s edge and carefully lift holly saplings that claw at my arms as I pass, to squelch down to the water’s edge, and paddle in the sea.
As I lay on the beach this morning, staring straight up at the little terns passing overhead, I wondered how many of the local candidates in the general election know about this wildlife jewel in their constituency. Or about many of the other special wildlife and places in this part of Suffolk. [Read More]
NatureWatch is an online wildlife documentary series, lead and produced entirely by students. Based at Penryn Campus, the crew is made up of students from both the University of Exeter and Falmouth University – its creation was heavily inspired by the BBC’s Springwatch and the incredible biodiversity that Cornwall hosts. Cornwall is an amazing place to live and an even better place to study the natural world, and, to be honest… we just wanted to show that off!
When sitting in a hide waiting for a glimpse of an elusive bittern or when ambling through one of the few remaining wildflower meadows with bees and butterflies in the air around you, politics and the troubles of the world can seem entirely distant. Nature has a great capacity of grounding us.
Last week, Theresa May announced that a re-elected Conservative government would vote to repeal the ban on fox hunting. I think it’s safe to say that conservationists around the country let out a collective sigh of exasperation at this news, but unfortunately it appears we are doomed to be haunted by the issue indefinitely.
It shouldn’t be the case that we find ourselves questioning, “how much nature do we want”, or even “what do we want the natural world to look like?” It should be blindingly obvious that we should have as much wildlife as possible, yet even this magical world that remains neutral of politics is as much an end product of the machine as education or the NHS.
April 2017 marked the inaugural Conservation Optimism Summit, a three-day event based in London attracting conservationists from across the globe; an event that aspired to give birth to a new movement, one of hope and positivity that showcases conservation successes.
Vision for Nature : Health, Development and Infrastructure
I was recently in conversation with Judy Ling Wong, CBE. She spoke to me about how she sees our towns, cities and buildings as nature. Not just in the sense that there are pigeons and trees and parks even in urban areas, but also in the sense that the metal and concrete we use to build our homes and offices come from the Earth.