In 2019 the State of Nature report (National Biodiversity Network) highlighted just how bad things have become right here in the UK. Us Brits pride ourselves on being nature lovers, we spend more per head on bird food than anyone else . Yet we live in one of the most nature depleted countries on Earth.
It turns out that our green and pleasant land isn’t so pleasant after all – not if you’re a bird, a bee or a hedgehog.
How has this this happened when we all love nature so much?
For centuries nature in the UK has been driven out – seen as in the way of progress, unproductive, too messy, unnecessary – just a nice to have when we feel like it. Huge areas of our countryside, which ought to be a sanctuary for wildlife, have become a hostile place for too many of our animals and plants. Through intensive nature harming farming practices and hunting estates much of our countryside is now lacking in the food and habitats (homes) that our wildlife need. Parts of our countryside are literally toxic – where chemicals are sprayed and sown to maximise yields at the expense of healthy soil, clean water and our wildlife.
But its not just in the countryside that our wildlife are under attack. Nature has even been starved and tidied out of our urban green spaces and gardens. We have come to worship sterile neatness at the expense of the bounty of nature. We’ve starved and made our wildlife homeless with our obsessive mowing, strimming, leaf blowing and spraying.
Why does it matter?
Loss of wildlife isn’t just a shame for nature lovers. Like it or not we are an animal and we need to eat as much as any other species. We can’t survive unless nature thrives.
We need functioning ecosystems that supply oxygen, clean air and water, pollination of plants, pest control, wastewater treatment and many other ecosystem services.
What can we do?
We need to restore the things that nature needs to recover and we need to reduce those things that are killing it. Its that simple!
Like us wildlife needs food, a safe home, not to be poisoned and not to be killed in such numbers that its population can’t recover!
Contrary to popular belief – we are not a crowded nation. There is more than enough room for nature and people to thrive. But right now huge areas of the UK are being used in a way that is not only harmful to wildlife, but which delivers very little benefit to people.
Restoring nature is as good for us as it is for nature
A growing number of people are re-looking at how we use land in the UK and coming up with really innovative and hopeful projects. From the Knepp Estate in West Sussex to community garden projects in our inner-cities, more and more people are waking up to the realisation that restoring nature restores us too. During lockdown people both missed our green spaces and appreciated our birds and other wildlife.
Books like Rebirding by Benedict McDonald and Wilding by Isabella Tree offer practical ways of making nature restoration work for both our rural and urban communities. Vertical and insect farming is showing how we can produce food with less land, less water and less chemicals – leaving more space for nature.
We are in an Ecologicial Emergency as well as a Climate Crisis. We can’t tackle one without the other. We hope that reading about some of the amazing projects we support will inspire you to join the nature restoration revolution.
Also take a look and other organisations working in this space such as Rewilding Britain.