• Stepping up for our nature on our overseas territories?

    Yesterday, the Government published a new White Paper on the UK Overseas Territories.  The first key test post Rio for the Government to demonstrate its intent to step up for nature.

    The Overseas Territories are unique: British territory, mostly small islands, located far away in distant seas, but home to unique and threatened wildlife for which we have a responsibility. The Territories in the South Atlantic are home…

    • 29 Jun 2012
  • One step forward and one step back for nature

    The rationale for the RSPB's Stepping Up for Nature campaign is that we all have a part to play in meeting the target to halt biodiversity loss and begin its recovery by 2020.  Governments focussing on those things that only governments can do (laws, incentives, penatlies etc), while business, civil society organisations and individuals stepping up to play their part as well.  Post Rio+20, it is difficult to conclude…

    • 28 Jun 2012
  • Winning hearts and minds

    This week I am reflecting on Rio+20 and considering how we rise to some of the big challenges facing us and the natural world.  I am not claiming to have all the answers but simply want to continue the debate. Today I consider the importance of winning hearts and minds.

    I enjoyed the comment from Hesychast on yesterday's blog - arguing that we need to decide "when we need emotion to drive change and when what we really…

    • 27 Jun 2012
  • A lesson from the Archbishop of Canterbury: it is time to reclaim sustainable development

    This week I am reflecting on Rio+20 and considering how we rise to some of the big challenges facing us and the natural world.  I am not claiming to have all the answers but simply want to continue the debate.  I will argue that we need to do more to inject emotion into the debate, refresh the way we inspire people to take action, choose to fight the right battles but also get down to the brass-tacks of mainstreaming the environment…

    • 26 Jun 2012
  • Rio agreed a future we didn't want: it’s time to move on... with a new sense of urgency

    And so the world left Rio once again – this time leaving us all a little underwhelmend.  In 1992, six major agreements came out of the Rio summit, three of which were legally binding: on climate change, biological diversity and desertification.

    On this occasion, we have the "Future We Want", a 49 page document with a lot of words with at best, some baby steps towards saving the planet and, at worst, confirming…

    • 25 Jun 2012
  • Some friendly advice

    The dust has barely settled over Buzzardgate, but here we are again: another call on the Government to permit the widespread destruction of not just one this time, but two of our native bird species. 

    It’s not pheasant shoots this time, but angling.  The Angling Trust has got together with its friends at the Countryside Alliance, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, the Game and Wildlife Conservation…

    • 22 Jun 2012
  • Feeling less brio for Rio

    I know, my feelings of love and optimisim did not last long.

    The latest we hear is that the final text of the Rio+20 conference is unlikely to change.  This would be extremely disappointing as it includes few new commitments or tangible outcomes.  This, despite the fact that the political leaders were fortunate yesterday to listen this passionate speach from a seventeen year old from New Zealand.  My colleague out in Rio…

    • 22 Jun 2012
  • Sending my unconditional love to politicians in Rio

    I hope you enjoyed Mark's thought provoking essays in the run up to Rio.  While he's been taking centre stage, I managed to escaped the rain during half-term in Northumberland, play cricket (carefully) alongside orchirds and visit the Farne Islands to see a lot of seabirds (including c20,000 guillemots).  On my return to work I enjoyed my visit and debate at the Cereals Show, spoke to MPs about tropical forests (and…

    • 21 Jun 2012
  • And so to Brazil

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

    Over the past 19 days I have dipped into some of the sustainability issues which should focus the minds of those participating in the Rio+20 UN Conference which begins today. Climate change, feeding the world, water resources…

    • 20 Jun 2012
  • For us or them?

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

    Over the last 18 days I have dipped into the state of the world’s natural resources – its species and ecosystems, its oceans and its climate – and I’ve mentioned some of the issues that we need to tackle to claim that we are…

    • 19 Jun 2012
  • Recycling gone mad!

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

    I think I’m pretty good at recycling compared with the people who live in my street. I used to glance left and right as I put out the rubbish and recycling separately and pride myself that I had so much to recycle and so little…

    • 18 Jun 2012
  • Turn on the tap – and then think

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

    One day last year I drove into New York City in a deluge. An American evangelist had predicted that that day would see the end of the world and although I was fairly confident that it wouldn’t, the weather seemed to be conspiring…

    • 17 Jun 2012
  • I spy strangers

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

    The American ecologist Jared Diamond wrote of introduced alien species as one of the ecological horsemen of the apocalypse – a major cause of global extinctions. All over the world, including within the UK, our species’s…

    • 16 Jun 2012
  • Ambitions for Rio+20: a guest blog from the Deputy Prime Minister

    The countdown to the Rio+20 conference continues and I hope that you (like me!) have been enjoying reading Mark’s short essays reflecting on the state of the planet and the challenges facing nature.  Today, I am delighted to welcome a contribution from the Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP.  He will be leading the UK Government’s delegation to Rio next week and his ambitions are outlined below.  At…

    • 15 Jun 2012
  • Drenching the world in chemicals

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring which raised awareness over the use of pesticides and was one of the factors that led to the banning of products such as DDT many…

    • 15 Jun 2012
  • Wildlife tourism – killing with kindness (or not?)?

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

    I am, unashamedly, an enthusiast for wildlife, for wild places and for the natural world. Although personal relationships, music and sport have all produced moments of ecstasy and sadness in my life, many of the most memorable…

    • 14 Jun 2012
  • Airports and roads on the journey to sustainable development

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit. 

    At the forthcoming Rio+20 conference, delegates will talk about economic growth, increasing development and producing more food. Driven by a growing population and growing expectations of standards of living we look for ways…

    • 13 Jun 2012
  • The greatest show on earth?

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

    I wish there were a tropical coral reef along the south coast of England. If there were, I’d learn to dive and spend loads of time learning to recognise and to understand the complex fish, mollusc, and coral communities. The…

    • 12 Jun 2012
  • Well done to mariners, ancient and modern

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

    I’ve always thought that Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner was a gloomy poem. The albatross brought good luck to the ship as its appearance heralded the parting of the ice and a good wind to fill the sails…

    • 11 Jun 2012
  • Feeding the world – less is more?

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

    Most of us don’t have much to do with food production although if we are lucky enough to have gardens we may grow a few vegetables or fruit, but all of us eat. Food for us is something that we buy, and the shelves are always…

    • 10 Jun 2012
  • The coming ‘cold rush’

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

    It is unclear when the first person got to the North Pole, but it may well have been Roald Amundsen, 14 years after he beat Scott to the South Pole, as other previous claims of success are now doubted. 

    The Arctic is equally…

    • 9 Jun 2012
  • Trouble at sea

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

    Today is World Oceans Day; the 21st since the first one at the Earth Summit in 1992.

    We live on the Blue Planet; c71% of the Earth’s surface is ocean. We live most of our lives on the 29% of dry land although even so…

    • 8 Jun 2012
  • Rainforests paying their way

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

    The trouble with rainforests is you can’t make much money out of leaving them alone. Yes, they are majestic and stuffed full of creepy crawlies, with the occasional orangutan or tiger but, compared with a nice productive palm…

    • 7 Jun 2012
  • Nature on the move

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

    If you have had an eye on nature for the last few decades then you are likely to have noticed changes around you. The chiffchaffs that I used to hope to hear before my birthday at the end of March I now hear a couple of weeks…

    • 6 Jun 2012
  • Special places

    I've handed the reins of my blog over to Mark Avery for most of June. Mark's sharing the successes and challenges of saving nature around the world in the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

    Everywhere you go you see wildlife, but some places are better than others. A cornerstone of nature conservation is to try to protect the very best places for wildlife.

    The first National Park (NP) in the world was Yellowstone…

    • 5 Jun 2012