• Turbulent times for turtle dove

    I’ve been focusing on migrants on my blog over the past couple of weeks partly because it is spring, partly because they are in trouble but principally because of the heightened profile that Chris Packham has given to impact of spring hunting in Malta.

    The thing about migrants is that they, perhaps more than any other group, show the interconnected and fragile nature of our planet. The sight of our first swallow…

    • 1 May 2014
  • Migrants and the European Union: feedback from the Question Time

    I think it is fair to say that political hustings have become livelier since UKIP began to join panels about five years ago.

    Yesterday's event on the forthcoming European Parliamentary election was a case in point even though the chair, Camilla Cavendish of the Sunday Times, said that debate about the UK's membership of the EU was off limits.

    In his opening 3 minute pitch, the UKIP's environmental representative…

    • 30 Apr 2014
  • Migrants and the European Union - a good topic for Question Time

    Tomorrow, the Wildlife Trusts, WWF and the RSPB are hosting a hustings event for the environment spokespeople of each of the major parties (Conservative, Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP) running in England in the 22 May European Parliamentary election.

    It will be run in the style of 'Question Time' and it should be fun - Europe lends itself to a calm and reasoned debate doesn't it?

    But irrespective…

    • 29 Apr 2014
  • Migrants on my mind (4): the big European question

    Chris Packham's week on Malta had an impact.  Through his video diary (here) and social media, he has brought the massacre of migrants on Malta into the homes of thousands of people and helped Birdlife Malta raise the funds they need to campaign for the proposed referendum to end spring hunting.  I am convinced that it will have given a huge boost to the Birdlife staff and volunteers some of whom have been campaigning…

    • 28 Apr 2014
  • Everyone Should Hear a Nightingale, Every Spring: a guest blog from Chris Rose

    Chris Packham has done a heroic job in supporting Birdlife Malta and raising the profile of the massacre that migrants face in Malta.   I want to keep a profile on our magnificent migrants and so today, Chris Rose (campaign guru and co-founder of the Fairyland Trust) celebrates the song of one of our best loved migrants, the nightingale. 


    Wouldn't it improve our quality of life, if every man, woman and child…

    • 26 Apr 2014
  • Migrants on my mind (3): guest blog from Grahame Madge

    Tonight, my colleague, Grahame Madge, has written a blog about the massacre on Malta informed, in part, by his own personal experiences.  

    “Absolutely insane!” That was the reaction from Chris Packham earlier today when I spoke to him after he saw Maltese hunters last night trying to stalk and shoot a group of Montagu’s harriers by torchlight, as the birds were trying to roost.

    In two words, he’s summed…

    • 25 Apr 2014
  • Migrants on my mind (2)

    I have often wondered what went through the minds of the people of Easter Island that chopped down their last tree.  Were they aware of what they were doing, but powerless to stop themselves?  Their actions "wiped out their forest, drove their plants and animals to extinction, and saw their complex society spiral into chaos and cannibalism" all because of a strange cultural ritual (see here).

    A similar thought occurred…

    • 23 Apr 2014
  • Migrants on my mind

    I've been thinking about migrants.

    It might have had something to do with bumping into quite a few sand martins, swallows, chiff chaffs and willow warblers while with the family in sunny Northumberland this weekend or...

    ...following Chris Packham's excellent video diary about the continued spring hunting on Malta (here) and supporting the Birdlife Malta fundraising push for a publicity campaign to encourage…

    • 22 Apr 2014
  • Tackling another of the four horsemen of the ecological apocalypse: non-native invasive species

    Europe’s 766 MEPs faced a vital environmental decision this week when they confronted one of the four horsemen of the ecological apocalypse (here). As I have written previously (here), across the world, invasive non-native species are wreaking havoc with native species, driving extinction and severely damaging economic interests. In Europe, we had a chance to take action to avoid some of this harm. After 10 years…

    • 17 Apr 2014
  • A day at the JCB world Headquarters for the AGM of the National Gamekeepers' Organisation

    I enjoyed speaking today at the National Gamekeepers' Organisation AGM at the very impressive JCB world headquarters.  

    As expected, we did not agree on everything (for example badgers and hen harriers), but the NGO members present were polite enough to give me a round of applause even if I didn't get the standing ovation afforded to David Bellamy and Robin Page!

    The debate was actually healthy and friendly…

    • 17 Apr 2014
  • The conservationist's dilemma: an update on the science, policy and practice of the impact of predators on wild birds

    Today, I am speaking that the National Gamekeeper's Organisation AGM.

    I was pleased to be invited and it promises to be an interesting meeting.  I expect a bit of reciprocal challenge and, hopefully, a shared desire for collaboration to help wildlife.

    As part of my talk, I shall explain the RSPB's understanding of the impact that predators have on wild birds and our response.  I have previously written about how…

    • 16 Apr 2014
  • A minute’s not-so-quiet reflection: Guest blog from Conor Jameson on the 50th anniversary of the death of Rachel Carson

    With the launch this month of the RSPB’s programme to tackle the crisis facing migrant songbirds, Conor Jameson, colleague and author of Silent Spring Revisited, reflects on a poignant anniversary that falls today.

    The 50th anniversary of the US publication of Silent Spring inspired a flurry of headlines and comment in autumn 2012, particularly, of course, in North America, where author Rachel Carson is still widely…

    • 14 Apr 2014
  • For the love of...

    In advance of the publication of the latest report by the IPCC on how to mitigate climate change, and to signal the regalvanised civil society campaign for climate action at home and for a fair and binding global climate change deal, Stop Climate Chaos has morphed into The Climate Coalition

    It has also launched a new campaign - "for the love of" - to celebrate the things we love and to call on politicians to tackle…

    • 11 Apr 2014
  • Where the green money goes

    Guest blog post by Conor Jameson, Trusts Development Manager for the RSPB 

    Ever wondered how much money from charitable trusts and foundations is out there, for charities like RSPB to access? Luckily, our friends at the Environment Funders Network (EFN) produce regular, detailed reports on the state of green funding. Their latest report is hot off the press.

    We are delighted to see the publication of the latest (the…

    • 9 Apr 2014
  • Cleaning up our act

    Last week's move towards peat free compost by B&Q (see here) reminded me of four tests of sustainability which a friend of mine, Craig Bennett*, once shared.  If I remember it correctly, for a business to be genuinely sustainable it must... 

    ...first, get its own house in order and reduce the environmental impact of its business

    ...second, be proud about the steps that it has taken to reduce its impact and be…

    • 7 Apr 2014
  • For peat's sake, time is peatering out, let's get out of the mire, clean up our compost and restore our bogs!

    In the week that the IPCC has tried, once again, to wake up the world to the catastrophic impact that climate chaos could have on people and nature (see here), I was delighted that B&Q (see here) has made a decisive move towards peat-free gardening*. 

    This is fantastic news...

    ...it is good for the climate because gardeners (in the UK) are responsible for emissions of some 1.25 million tonnes of CO2 from peat use every…

    • 3 Apr 2014
  • Understanding climate impacts and then doing something about it - some lessons from the bittern success story

    One of the main messages from yesterday’s International Panel on Climate Change report (here) is that a changing climate is already having an impact on wildlife and things could get a lot worse.

    Perhaps the starkest sign of climate change in the natural world is the great one-way migration polewards of species attempting to track their preferred climates. In Southern Britain, the distribution of species across…

    • 1 Apr 2014