Today I came across a campaign which has recently been set up by The Wildlife Trusts and RSPB. It is also backed by a number of other organisations which include WWT (Wetlands for life), Butterfly Conservation and many more. The campaign is called Act for Nature and it is a proposed piece of legislation to bring about the recovery of nature in a generation for the benefit of people and wildlife.
The joint campaign is asking politicians to act for nature and call for a Nature and Wellbeing Act in their Party’s election manifesto. The new laws would ensure protection and enhancement of nature as an investment in our nation’s prosperity.
You may ask, why do we need to act for nature? Well, the answer to that is for many different reasons! The first one is that we are loosing it at an alarming rate and something needs to be done. There are four principal causes of damage: habitat degradation, over-exploitation, pollution (particularly global climate change) and the introduction of invasive non-native species. The State of Nature report found that 60% of our UK species we know about are in decline. Habitats are becoming more fragmented and their condition is worsening to the extent that only 37% of the best sites are in good condition. These are just two of the worrying statistics about the alarming drop in our UK nature. From here though, at the moment, things aren’t looking too good for the future as only 1 in 10 children regularly play in wild places, compared to almost half, a generation ago. Without more young people growing an interest in the natural world and fulfilling a career in years to come the state of conservation will be lower and these statistics could decrease more and more. From my experience, at school I don’t know anyone who has any real interest or knowledge about nature. Then when I listen to stories of my Grandparents they explain that when they were at school everyone had an interest and everyone would regularly play in wild places. Also throughout my education I have never had many lessons about nature except for a few biology ones explaining the basic food chains – in my opinion this really isn’t an encouraging way of getting more kids involved and interested.
Nature helps us in every way possible, without it we wouldn’t even be here. For example the bees that pollinate the crops which create the food that we eat and just generally being outside that helps our wellbeing. It really does have a profound effect on our day to day lives. Currently we are facing increasing numbers in obesity and physical inactivity, and one in four of us will experience a mental heath problem at some point in our lives. Physical inactivity affects 60-70% of the adult population. The physical fitness of children is declining by up to 9% per decade. Many heath issues are linked to environmental inequality. Considerable evidence show that contact with nature can help to prevent and reverse poor health and wellbeing.
My last point, but certainly not the least, is the how much pleasure myself, and many others, get from being outdoors and observing the natural world in many different ways. From appreciating our endangered Hen Harriers fulfilling their distinctive sky dance to nature lovers feeding and caring for their garden residents. Like many others I experience the beauty of the natural world everyday. Whether it be the simple things like the change in colour on my local patch as the Autumn arrives or filming timid badger cubs emerging from their sett for the very first time.
From a young persons prospective the plummeting decline in our British wildlife is very worrying, whether it be as a whole or just individual species. It’s very scary and I often think about. Will anything be done in time? Will our wildlife ever be able to thrive within our landscape or will we carry on fighting for it’s survival. I want to do my best to make sure the natural world around us goes onto teem and be appreciated and noticed by everyone. This campaign could help a lot by putting nature at the heart of how our country is run, so everyone can enjoy the benefits it provides in our everyday lives.
Within the Nature and Wellbeing Act, some of the changes that would be created for wildlife and nature include:
- Wildlife in Neighborhoods
- Making caring for nature a key purpose of schooling
- A call for everyone to live no longer than 10 minutes walk from a natural space
- Make access to nature and wild places part of preventative and treatment-based healthcare
- Set new targets for increased wildlife and raise the nature baseline
- Make sure our existing wildlife protection laws remain strong and continue to defend threatened species and habitats from harm.
- Create an Office of Environmental Responsibility in government to ensure targets for recovery are met
To support this campaign for a Nature and Wellbeing Act, take action and find out more please click here.