Today is a big day.
For the first time, all the UK wildlife organisations have joined forces to compile a health check of nature in the UK and its overseas territories. This evening Sir David Attenborough will help us launch a new State of Nature report. We expect it will serve as a wake-up call to all of us to do more to help us live in harmony with nature.
The report comes in my favourite month of May. A time to reflect on the wonder of those birds that have migrated from Africa to breed here– species such as swift and swallows – a time to take pleasure in seeing our woodlands carpeted with bluebells and to enjoy seeing butterflies again after the long, dark days of winter. But there are real fears that the things we take for granted may not be part of our children's lives when they grow up. In my lifetime, once common species like the turtle dove has declined by more than 90%. Cuckoos down by 73% and nightingales down by nearly 50%. And my former employers,Plantlife, has shown that we are losing, on average, one plant every year from counties in England.
In preparing State of Nature, we have used new and innovative analyses include trend assessments for over 3000 species, and red-list assessments of over 6000 species; mostly derived from data collected by the UK's army of dedicated and skilled volunteer naturalists. Our analyses conclude that 60% of the species for which data are available have declined over recent decades; 31% strongly so. Nature is in flux. Over one in ten of the species assessed are threatened with extinction in the UK.
Understanding the state of the natural world is the foundation for nature conservation. We need to know what's in trouble and what progress we have made. This report reinforces the conclusions reached in 2010: that nature is continuing to decline, the pressures on the natural world are growing, and our response to the biodiversity crisis is slowing.
We know that we all need to do more to inspire moral, political and practical support for nature conservation.
And this is why, following the publication of the report we shall challenge all sectors of society to do more for nature.
We are not claiming to have all the answers but we're determined to do much more. We hope that the report, produced in this time of austerity, stimulates a public debate about what else we need to do to live in harmony with nature.
If you have thoughts on this or any aspect of the report, I'd be delighted to hear from you.
Redkite states "It is excellent that the wildlife organisations should combine to produce this report. It gives the report much more force than if it was produced by just one or two organisations."
Could not agree more and yet try getting them to join forces in the political arena and you won't get very far in my experience.
Martin talks of "stimulating a public debate about what else we need to do to live in harmony with nature."
I would suggest the ideas expressed in Jonathon Porritt's "Capitalism as if the Earth Matters" which proposes emulation of the bio-sphere's "dynamic equilibrium" in balancing five forms of capital: Human, Societal, Natural, Manufactured and Financial. Alternatively the Green Manifesto as described by Caroline Lucas and Michael Woodin.
I would suggest these brilliantly crafted expose's of contempory capitalism and its modern day globalised implementation but for the eerie silence from the authors at a time when Nigel Farage gives a masterclass in visibility and getting his message across while the world appears to be collapsing in on itself both economically and ecologically !!
Others are stating to get it, MadameGeneva comments upon the Daily Telegraph article "IMF tells George Osborne to borrow more to plough into infrastructure to bolster the UK's 'nascent' recovery":
"How marvellous, my simplistic spreadsheet projecting
economic recovery by 2047 that I've been banging on about is now verified by the IMF !
Starting with the end 2012 UK Balance sheet I assumed 1.8% linear growth in GDP and withdrawal from EU at last years contribution/benefits rates. Anything less and the National Debt grows exponentially (at the rate of £1 trillion every six years initially).
1.8% will be a major miracle if the UK pulls it off given past performance, the starting position and the mix of enterprises making up the UK portfolio dominated as it is by the Services sector (10% of which is financial services).
Which leads to something truly scary. In the Sunday Times last week Dominic Lawson drew attention to economics professors Nouriel Roubini, the so called Dr Doom, who was a lone voice warning of the 2008 sub-prime meltdown and who is at it again this time warning against "Credit Crunch 2" so soon after 2008 and based on the growth in stock markets around the globe.
Another financial bubble based on money speculation rather than anything solid like making things and selling them!
When we going to demand an economic system that works on a human scale, that ordinary people can understand, that even the economists can understand.
The obvious is often the hardest to see and talk about I guess!"
Well said! When will all shout from the rooftops "enough is enough"?
The economic and ecological issues are inextricably entwined. Solve the economics and the rest follows?
But then, as I've discovered, the vast majority of people delude themselves that "there is nothing we can do" and that their self interest lies in the materialistic, consumer driven world they've evolved into.
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