2020 was meant to be a super year but it has ended up being deeply traumatic for all of us.
We all now know the human health and economic consequences of what happens if we fail to treat nature with respect.
While the origin of the coronavirus remains uncertain, one silver lining is that there is now greater public understanding about zoonotic diseases and how habitat degradation and wildlife trade may exacerbate the risks. And, through the incredible spring, many in the UK reconnected with nature and were reminded just how important nature is to our own wellbeing.
Yet, even though the pandemic is the greatest disruption to global society in more than a century, this is the foretaste of what may come as a result if we fail to deal with the nature and climate emergency.
That is why there is nothing more important than the RSPB’s mission to inspire a world richer in nature.
And it is a testimony to all of our staff, volunteers and partners that, despite everything, our charity achieved incredible things this year.
So, if you are in need of some winter cheer, grab yourself a drink/mince pie and enjoy some highlights from the RSPB year.
Below I offer a few examples of how we have (thanks to our staff, volunteers, supporters and partners) helped transform places, recovered species and engaged more people in conservation. However, I start with a reflection on how the politics has changed this year because, say it quietly, things seem to be shifting in a good way. As part of civil society, we have been working hard to create the political space for these announcements and there has been a lot to welcome including:
Clearly, throughout 2020 we have had to adapt to changing government restrictions around the world. Yet, we have still managed to deliver some major practical conservation interventions which have helped enhance wildlife including for…
In 2020, we have also had some fabulous results from our 220 nature reserves (covering >160,000 hectares and home to a staggering 18,458 species):
And, all of this is boosted by engaging more people in conservation for example through:
And finally, this week we heard that red kite has been downlisted (ie extinction risk reduced) in the Red Data List for birds published by BirdLife. Like the bison which was highlighted as a conservation success in the wider Red List of a couple of weeks again, this is the latest example that targeted conservation action for species works – and RSPB can take some credit for spearheading a recovery programme in the UK over three decades ago!
2021 will, we hope, be a super year. We will challenge world leaders to deliver ambitious global deals of nature and the climate, challenge politicians across the UK to match the global ambition in domestic law, policy and funding and play our part in delivering some major conservation projects.
For now though, THANK YOU for your support through this incredibly tough year, have a great break over Christmas and best, best wishes for 2021.
*images courtesy of Ben Andrew (avocet), Andy Schofield (Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross) and Norman Morris (red kite) all rspb-images.com