A comprehensive study of the state of the UK’s natural environment shows no let up in the decline of our natural world. Experts from more than 70 wildlife organisations have joined with government agencies to present the clearest picture to date of the health of our species across land and sea. It’s pretty grim.
No part of our precious ecosystem is untouched. Many of our most loved species are threatened, including hedgehogs, wild cats, hares, bats, butterflies and birds.
This post is by Alistair Taylor, senior policy officer at the RSPB.
The news that substantial areas of the Amazon rainforest have been set on fire crystallised opinion on the need for urgent and effective action to protect our environment and climate. Prime Minister Boris Johnson went as far as stating:
“In a week where we have all watched, horrified, as the Amazon rainforest burns before our eyes, we cannot escape the reality of the damage we are inflicting on the natural world.
“Beef is like a loaded gun, pointed at the living world.” So began George Monbiot’s response to the publication of the IPCC’s report on land use, which cited dietary change alongside 28 other interventions that could end the roughly one third of total greenhouse gas emissions that come from the food system. Read more
This post is by Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency and Tony Juniper, chair of Natural England.
The prime minister was right to strike a note of optimism in his first speech to the country.
Environmental questions can seem relentlessly gloomy, with measures to cut pollution and recover the environment appearing like unaffordable sacrifices that get in the way of the real challenges. Read more
This post is by Miles King of People Need Nature.
The current tax system operates against the sort of public benefit that the new agricultural policy established by Michael Gove is seeking to create. English landowners receive £2.4 billion a year in tax breaks for which there is little or no benefit to society. This amount of money is almost exactly the same as landowners receive in farm subsidies and it exposes a contradiction: although the system of providing payments to farmers is being fundamentally reformed, the tax breaks received will be untouched. Read more
This post is by Guy Thompson, managing director of EnTrade, an online marketplace in ecosystem services. He was director of Green Alliance, 2004-06.
Last week, the FTSE re-labelled oil and gas as non-renewable energy and the National Trust renounced its fossil fuel shares, just as the government launched its Green Finance Strategy at the City’s third Green Finance Summit. Whether this chain of events was serendipity or a rare masterstroke by Number 10 communications, the message to the financial sector is clear: the future is low carbon. Read more
This post is by Tom Lancaster, acting head of land use policy at the RSPB.
The world of flood and coastal erosion risk management (FCERM) is complex, and at times niche. But it is something that affects the lives of millions, and will become an increasingly pressing priority as the impacts of climate change get worse.
We all have a stake in the decisions to protect communities, businesses and nature from floods, whilst making the best use of the nation’s resources. They should be debated openly, both locally and nationally. Above all, managing flood risk should take place within a long term strategic framework, rigorously assessed to ensure maximum bang for our FCERM buck. Read more
This post is by Andrew McCloy, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority. He writes here in a personal capacity.
Melanie Haiken recently outlined the dire implications of climate change on North America’s national parks if drastic action isn’t taken soon. US parks are warming at twice the national average and, without significant action, the outlook for their fragile ecosystems and varied biodiversity is bleak. Iconic parks like Sequoia, Glacier Bay and Joshua Tree could lose their namesake features altogether. Read more
This post is by Georgina Mace, professor of biodiversity and ecosystems at University College London.
The recent UN IPBES Global Assessment on biodiversity and ecosystems exposed the dramatic decline of nature. Seventy five per cent of the land surface has been significantly altered, and among assessed groups of mammals and birds, one in four species are at risk of extinction. The average abundance of native species in most major terrestrial biomes has fallen by at least 20 per cent and land degradation has reduced productivity in 23 per cent of the global terrestrial area.
This crisis not only threatens the diversity of life on Earth. Ongoing degradation and changes to ecosystems pose further risks to people through threats to food, energy and water security, as well as being a significant driver of climate change. Read more
While travelling with my dad from Little Rock to Springdale, Arkansas, we took the scenic route through the Ozark National Forest. My lungs, eyes and ears were refreshed by the clean air, bright blue skies and green trees, and the sounds of animals and insects. As someone who has lived in cities for the past seven years, I was reminded of the beauty of the natural environment.
To fully enjoy the scenery, we decided to stop at a local kayak business. With classic southern hospitality, the store owner insisted that he would keep the store open for an extra two hours for us to ride down the Mulberry River. As his colleague drove us up the mountain to our mini adventure, the typical small talk arose. Read more