Category Archives: Natural environment

How an award winning map is connecting more people with nature

foraging smallThis post is by Anita Roy, a member of Transition Town Wellington.

It might not look like much: a hand drawn map of a small town in Somerset, folded down small enough to fit in your pocket. The fields and woods are shaded green and dotted with little round stickers showing where to find apple trees and herbs, hazelnuts and redcurrant bushes.

There are two maps of Wellington you can pick up in the tourist office: one, showing shops and cafes, car parks and pubs: the town’s economy; the other, Transition Town Wellington’s foraging map: its ecology. On it are highlighted the four community orchards, the fruit bushes and herb beds, which have been created and tended for everyone to access, by this energetic and public-spirited environmental group. Read more

What would ‘Norway’ mean for nature laws?

RSPB smallThis post is by Donal McCarthy, senior policy officer at the RSPB.

On Monday night, MPs approved a motion providing parliament with the chance to hold a series of indicative votes on alternatives to the current Brexit deal. One of the alternative options that is being promoted by a cross-party grouping of MPs is a ‘Norway-style’ agreement (also known as ‘Norway Plus’ or ‘Common Market 2.0’).

This option would see the UK negotiate a future relationship with the EU similar to that enjoyed by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the three members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) that participate in the EU single market under the terms of the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement. But what might this mean for the laws governing species and habitat protection across the UK? Read more

Biodiversity loss is more than an environmental problem, it is a development, economic, social and moral issue

biodiversity smallThis post is by Professor Sir Robert T Watson FRS, strategic director of the Tyndall Centre and chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

The IPBES recently published four landmark regional assessment reports of biodiversity (ie genes, species and ecosystems). There is one each for the Americas, Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and Asia and the Pacific, and an assessment of land degradation and restoration.  The findings of these assessments are based on thousands of scientific reports, as well as indigenous and local knowledge. They clearly demonstrate that biodiversity is as much a development, economic, social and moral issue as an environmental issue. Read more

Why George Monbiot is both right and wrong about ‘cold and alienating’ language

peat bog smallThis post also appears on the National Trust’s blog.

George Monbiot today wrote an excellent twitter thread criticising the ‘cold and alienating’ language we routinely use when talking about ‘the environment’. He specifically calls out a term we have been using at Green Alliance for several years: ‘Natural Infrastructure Schemes’. Monbiot argues that phrases like ‘our shared home’, ‘climate chaos’ and ‘wildlife’ should replace ‘the environment’, ‘climate change’ and ‘biodiversity’. Read more

How carbon cutting could be a viable new income source for farmers and land managers

peat smallAs we hit the hottest winter temperatures ever in the UK, it‘s clear that the imperative to tackle climate change is becoming ever more urgent. We need to look at every aspect of how our economy is run to find new ways to cut carbon and attention is now turning to the role that land use and farming can play. Read more

Valuing public service workers is at the heart of environmental stewardship

natural england smallThis post is by Andrew Pakes, research director at Prospect.

Prospect’s new report on Natural England, supported by some welcome media attention last week, has really touched a nerve about the state of England’s conservation body. Despite rhetoric from government about its 25 year environment plan, it is clear that nature conservation and environmental stewardship is creaking at the seams.

The conversation that is too often missing in this debate is one of resources. If politics is about choices, then public investment is the demonstration of intent. Read more

Space tech and AI could be game changers for the environment

satellite smallThis post is by Dr Ben Caldecott, director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme at the University of Oxford and a trustee of Green Alliance.

A new generation of tiny satellites are flying overhead in lower earth orbit taking high resolution images of every point on planet earth every single day. These constellations, the largest of which currently consists of over 150 CubeSats (at 10cm x 10cm x 30cm in size), allows us to see planetary-scale change on a daily basis. Read more

Natural England’s role will be essential post-Brexit

jurassic coast_chris parker via flickrThis post is by Andrew Sells, the outgoing chair of Natural England.

Natural England is an organisation that some thought – at various stages – was as endangered as some of the species we strive to protect. But as it prepares for life after the UK’s departure from the European Union, it has never been more important.

With my time at the helm now drawing to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on five years as chair of Natural England and the future for conservation. Read more

The 25 year environment plan now needs money and law to back it up

flock smallThis post is by Matt Williams, public policy officer at the National Trust. A version of this piece will be posted on the Wildlife and Countryside Link blog.

As New Year’s resolutions go, the promises of the 25 year environment plan for England, launched on this day last year, were ambitious. One year on, how successful has the government been in sticking to its resolution to, for the first time, hand on the environment in a better state than it inherited it? Read more

It’s time to include land use in climate policy

land use smallThis post is by Sir Graham Wynne, Green Alliance trustee and chief executive of the RSPB from 1998 to 2010. 

As Professor Jim Skea said at a recent Green Alliance event, it is no longer a choice between doing big things or little things to address climate change, we have to do everything. The IPCC says we have twelve years to contain global warming to 1.5 degrees and every sector has to play a full part. Read more

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