Game-changing response required to tackle State of Nature crisis
Author Tony Whitbread
Finding game-changing solutions to the crisis facing nature was the theme of the landmark Conference for Nature, held on 3rd September. The event featured high-profile delegates including Sir David Attenborough, The Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Germaine Greer and key people from business, politics, the utility sector and conservation.
In May last year, the UK’s leading wildlife groups released the State of Nature report, which revealed 60 per cent of our native species are in decline and one in ten are heading for UK extinction. This national picture is probably reflected in Sussex where we have noted long-term declines for example in woodland butterflies, bird species and flower-rich hay meadows.
More than a year on, the State of Nature report partners, with support from Sir David Attenborough, are striving to encourage new ways of tackling the crisis facing our wildlife.
Commenting ahead of the event, Sir David Attenborough said: “From the food we eat to the popular bedtime stories we read to our children, nature touches everyone’s lives more deeply than we can possibly imagine. The escalating erosion of wildlife from our planet is a direct threat to many facets of our own quality of life. Because of the complex relationship society has with nature, it is obvious that our response to saving it must extend from every possible quarter too. From you and I in our own domains, from business magnates to politicians, and from farmers to faith leaders, everyone has an opportunity to save nature. With an increasing global footprint, mankind is intensifying the crisis for wildlife, but as individuals we can all be a part of the solution for saving it too.”
More than 250 people attended this seminal conference including leading figures in industry and Government as well as all the UK’s major wildlife and countryside organizations; demonstrating the level of ambition for tackling the huge challenges facing nature.
Mike Clarke, is the RSPB’s Chief Executive. He said: “Last year’s State of Nature Conference set out the context for the devastating declines in some of our best-loved species, such as the turtle dove, common toad, and Atlantic salmon. However, saving these and other threatened species requires inventive solutions and creative partnerships with many sectors, underpinned by a meaningful commitment from Government. This conference is the platform for all to come together and achieve just that.”
Helen Ghosh, Director-General of the National Trust, said: “The evidence that nature is in trouble is overwhelming. Our challenge is to find radical and practical solutions to restore the health of our natural environment, which we know is loved by people across the UK. At the heart of this approach must be collaboration and partnership – working together to think big, be bold and to deliver real change on the ground.”
Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said: "As a country, we are experiencing increasing levels of obesity and diabetes; and one in four of us will suffer with our mental health at some point in our lives. Active contact with nature can help prevent and cure these health problems so we need to help our natural environment to recover and get back in touch with it. That’s a big change and Society will only prosper when genuine political leadership is shown on this issue.”
The Conference for Nature was organized by the State of Nature Partnership, a coalition of 26 NGOs, including RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife and was attended by figures from a wide range of other industry sectors including housing development, water, retail, agriculture, mineral extraction, finance, transport and infrastructure.
For more information and to read a digital version of the report visit The Wildlife Trusts’ webpage here