CPRE Sussex Vice Chair and Shoreham Wordfest Co-founder
‘Rewilding’, Tony Whitbread’s well received first talk in a series of five, challenged us to understand, then act for nature. While our lives depend on the natural systems that surround us, too often we have fought to subdue nature, now we must ‘make room for nature’. Nature’s processes are circular, they rule out waste; human systems of production are linear they produce a ‘throw away’ culture. We create products that are not, or cannot be, recycled. We dump, burn and bury, too often. Even the heat from the incineration of waste or the methane gas from landfill is not necessarily fed into a system that uses it effectively.
Ending our war on nature is crucial if we are to mediate the climate changes that we enable carbonisation to exert. Balancing economic and social pressures with environmental requirements, is crucial to all our futures. Earth, sea and air are the foundations of life for all of us, our core capital and true assets; hence the title of Tony’s second talk (Wednesday 11 March) ‘There is no wealth but life’.
As we acknowledge the need to ‘end the war on nature’, to allow natural systems a clearer run, or we struggle to operate a personal ‘no waste’ circular economy, the lack of leadership or collective action is clear. We hear fine words, talk of a ‘climate emergency and crisis’ but planned government intervention is tens of years away. Even with the recent unprecedented weather of drought and deluge, fire and flood, only the injunction ‘get used to it’, comes the reply.
With the final discussion (Wednesday 10 June), this series of talks seeks to develop new climate emergency ambassadors and reinforce our roles as active citizens and nature’s advocates. Can we contribute to the thinking at COP 26 in Glasgow?