RSPB England Communications Officer Beth Markey reflects on the findings of a new poll, and suggests things we can all do to help the environment ... 

At a time when nature is under greater threat than ever before, a new poll by the National Lottery has found that a significant number of Britons feel they don’t have time to help the environment.  

In the same survey, almost every single respondent (97%) agreed that preserving wildlife was of national importance. Half even said that they desire to do something about it. But a fifth admitted they didn’t have a clue how to assist struggling wildlife. 

So, what does all this mean? Well, it’s clear that people have compassion for wildlife and the wider environment, which is great news. The burning question is ‘how do we, as a nation, translate that care into palpable action?’  

 Image courtesy of Ben Andrew

It’s easy when you know how

With England’s green spaces being lost at a significant rate, exposure to nature is decreasing, so it’s not too surprising that fewer people have their connection to the outdoor world. But with less than 12 years to reverse the devastating effects of climate change, the planet desperately needs all hands-on deck from its inhabitants. Here’s how you can help: 

Do it for yourself: the links between the environment and increased mental and physical health are undisputed. Nature-rich landscapes offer a solitude that can ease symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression, ADHD and much more. Spend time in nature for your own benefit. In time, this might be the catalyst that encourages you to take action to save the natural world. 

Get your kids involved: our latest State of Nature report emphasized the importance of exposing children to wealth of flora and fauna as often as possible. Although many people develop a passion for nature in adulthood, studies show that people who experience nature at a young age will generally maintain an affection for it and are more likely to fight to protect it. 

Make time: whether you spend an houor a day helping nature, it doesn’t need to be massive time commitment. In fact, it can actually save you time. Habitats and important food sources, like insects, exist within untrimmed gardens and hedges so even by leaving your lawnmower in the shed, you’re making an important difference.   

 Image courtesy of Rahul Thanki

Mix it up: still unsure on how you can help the planet? Here’s a list of the different ways you can get involved: 

  1. Pick up litter with your children or on your walk to work/do a beach clean
  2. Reduce, reuse, recycle
  3. Take a keen interest in the plants and wildlife around you
  4. Use eco-friendly household products
  5. Grow your own veg
  6. Walk, bike, or use public transport. Or carpool or work from home 
  7. Provide space for nature - garden for wildlife 
  8. Eat sustainably-sourced food
  9. Reduce meat consumption and always source meat from sustainable sources
  10. Reduce your plastic usage
  11. Try going waste free – even if you cut down, it will make a difference 
  12. Take your children on walks through fields, forests, meadows, parks and nature reserves
  13. Go organic! Stop using chemicals in your garden. And, of course, don’t buy peat.  
  14. Use your voice – sign petitions, join peaceful protests, write to your local MP and vote wisely
  15. Insulate your home as much as possible
  16. Volunteer at your local reserve
  17. Take part in the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch - the world’s largest wildlife survey - taking place on 25th – 27th January 2020. For more info, head to rspb.org.uk/birdwatch
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