Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The pen is mightier than the brush cutter

David North, Head of People and Wildlife

Well not everyone would agree I’m sure, but to me conservation is just as much about policies as it’s about managing habitats. What is nature conservation really about? Surely it’s about the way we treat our environment and the relationship we have with the other species that we share this planet with.

Hickling Broad, by Richard Osbourne
Conservation viewed this way is far too important to sideline into the way we manage nature reserves. The relationship we have with the natural world, our living environment, will in the long run determine much of our quality of life, the success of our economy, our health and that of future generations, our future climate, and also of course the fate of the other living species that live alongside us. Heady stuff perhaps, but this view of conservation makes it perhaps the central question that society must grapple with. Conservation viewed this way is central to all of us, whether we live in cities, towns or the countryside.  

The frightening thing is how little we hear conservation discussed in this way. How often do our business leaders or politicians really put maintaining and enhancing the ecosystem services which are the basis for our economies and societies on their management or cabinet agendas? The answer must surely be, not often enough.

So if we care about conservation, we are going to need our pens as well as our brush cutters, to start ensuring that policies get implemented that work and respect nature rather than exploit nature and take it for granted. This is where your pens come in. If you care about protecting nature then get writing; to parish councils, district councils, your MPs and MEPs. There are so many issues to campaign about. Issues that need our pens: from securing Marine Conservation Zones, preventing pesticides killing our bees, saving sites and saving species, both locally and globally.  

On 13 March, MEPs will vote on proposals for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2014-2020 including over 300 detailed amendments. All of these will be important for the future of our farmed landscape. Send a message NOW directly to your MEP on voting for a nature-friendly CAP.

Get writing and change the world.


  1. Very interesting perspective - thanks for sharing this David

  2. I agree that Nature Reserves are an important part of the countryside. They offer respite from swathes of agricultutral land for many species of plant and animal. and assist in the economy by creating jobs. Green and Environment Jobs were heralded as the way forward to help save the earth and to combat climate change, enhance conservation efforts and halt species decline. But just how far have we come in the past 10 years.

    "There are several studies of the jobs market and the scope for creating a successful career in this field, but is environmental protection a vocation that I would encourage any undergraduate to follow?" (writes Andrew)

    "Until 2008 there was a tremendous growth pretty much all niches of environmentalism. The trend followed a similar pattern to the tech boom, and the current situation is also the same...the 'bubble burst."

    "Although there has seen a marginal growth in the years post 2008, growth remains subdued. Previously bouyant areas such as 'organics' 'ecology' and 'climate change' have continued to tread water."

    "The organic market is predominantly a consumer driven market, and affected by price, customer spend, inflation and employment. In the minority are the organic diehards that will continue to by organic produce irrespective of price and quantity - in favour of a 'lifestyle decision'. The organic market has nose dived since 2008, but it is my opinion that this will become 'part and parcel' of the Fairtrade consumerism and will once again grow. (Fairtrade has not been affected by the global recession but has in fact grown)."

    "Ecology is affected by private sector business and to a lesser extent by public sector pay. Without developments there is little demand for the services of ecology consultancy services. Less demand creates a stagnant job market. There will however, always be a seasonal demand for ecologists."

    "Climate Change (CC) is affected by both public and private sector spend. But unlike other specialisms, it has been seen to be at the mercy of climate sceptics and conflicting reports about the integrity of climate data. CC is undoubtedly affecting the globe and is integral to many jobs. However, private sector developments, R&D and the resulting increase in the jobs market has not materialised as would have been expected. Says Andrew writing for StopDodo online at www.environmentjobs.com"

    "...Onto renewables. Renewables are the holy grail. However, it is my opnion that the future for renewables is fusion energy. Fusion energy requires little physical space and creates energy thousands of times higher (per input) than any other form of energy creation (nuclear aside). However, there is little R&D into this potentially planet saving energy resource. It is my belief that solar, wind and wave technology are too unreliable, labour intensive, invasive, costly and ineffective."

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