One of the most intriguing stories of 2021 concerned Boris Johnson’s conversion from climate scepticism.
“He said his “’road to Damascus’ moment came in the early days of his premiership when he was given a climate briefing by scientists.
“‘I got them to run through it all, and if you look at the almost vertical kink upward in the temperature graph, the anthropogenic climate change, it’s very hard to dispute. That was a very important moment for me,’ he said.”
This post is by Kate Jennings, head of sites and species policy at the RSPB.
A new peer reviewed paper, published today, looking at the state of protected areas across the UK concludes that, instead of the 28 per cent claimed by the UK government, as little as 11.9 per cent of the UK’s land area is protected for nature, and that less than half of that may be effectively protected for nature. In 2022, governments from around the world will come together to commit to a new set of global targets for nature under the Convention on Biological Diversity. True to its stated appetite to be a “world leader for nature” the UK has already committed to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity and to protect 30 per cent of land and sea for nature’s recovery by 2030 (‘30 by 30’), a target that is set to feature in the new global agreement.
Have you stopped eating meat for some meals or started a plant-based diet? If so, you are part of a growing trend. Two weeks ago, a leaked draft of the forthcoming National Food Strategy included the suggestion that a meat tax might be needed in the future to help it along, to cut UK carbon emissions and improve people’s health. Meat taxes have been proposed before, and were rejected by the prime minister. But other developments are already driving changes in our diets. One way or another we will be eating less meat in future and a new vision for an economically and environmentally sustainable livestock sector is needed.
This post is by Charles Rangeley-Wilson, author, conservationist and chair of the CaBA Chalk Stream Restoration Group.
In the post-war years, the immense bodies of filtered rainwater held within the chalk aquifers must have seemed like manna from heaven, providing easy, high quality water to a growing population and the south east’s burgeoning industry and agriculture. A very few far sighted commentators predicted the environmental damage that would result from over use of this resource, but not enough to turn the tide. Consequently, abstraction of chalk aquifers grew and grew towards a late 1980s peak when, in some catchments in drier years, we were taking more water out of the valleys than fell from the sky into them. Even when rainfall was good, unsustainable volumes of water were taken and our precious chalk streams dried up.
This post is by Alison Barnes FRSA FLI, CEO New Forest National Park Authority.
As we think about and shape the future of protected landscapes, the role they play in the big issues of our time has rightly come to the fore. They are increasingly viewed as ‘engine rooms’ for a greener future focused on recovery of climate, nature and people, and imagined as nodes for an extended network of connected landscapes that could run as green veins across cities and the countryside alike.
This post is by Paul Morling, principal economist at the RSPB.
In commissioning the Dasgupta Review in 2019 the Treasury demonstrated a clear recognition that solving the nature crisis is vital for the functioning of our economy at large. To speak in economic terms, nature is a macroeconomic consideration and the review itself concludes that addressing the crisis is foundational to sustainable economic prosperity. In short, if we don’t tackle the nature crisis, our real economy and our quality of life is going to suffer.
This post is by Isobel Mercer, RSPB’s senior policy officer, policy & advocacy Scotland.
Our most important habitats for wildlife are found in Protected Areas. These special places, such as the carbon-rich peatlands of the Flow Country, the noisy seabird cliffs at Flamborough Head, the shores of Strangford Lough, which is home to some 70,000 wintering birds, and the ancient Celtic Rainforests of West Wales, are responsible for safeguarding nature across the UK.
This post is by Zoe Avison, policy analyst at Green Alliance and was originally published on Wildlife and Countryside Link’s blog.
Taking action to reverse nature decline now will offer good jobs for a green recovery. As we surface from the pandemic, minds will turn from rescue to recovery. Emergency packages to support people and businesses will give way to more strategic decisions about the type of economy we want on the other side. The economic impacts of the pandemic are not evenly spread and a recovery that levels up the country is a major government priority. For this reason, we commissioned WPI Economics to research the link between levelling up and jobs in the nature sector, to show why green jobs should be at the heart of the government’s recovery plans.
Last week the government published the latest statistics on wild bird populations in the UK, which show that the UK is in trouble. The statistics may have slipped under the radar for many given the election’s dominance of the news cycle, but they are a must read for anyone who cares about our natural world. Read more
This 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