We’ve all heard the news. We’ve lost more than half our wildlife since 1970, and we’d lost an awful lot already by then. Only this week we heard that 30% of our bees and hoverflies are in decline, and at least 1200 of our native species are extinct or at risk of going that way. Devon is a beautiful county, but sadly it is very typical. Less than 20% of our rivers are in a healthy state, only 38% of our hedges are in good condition and birds like the nightingale have completely disappeared.
This isn’t a time to get depressed. But the first step to recovery is understanding the nature of your ailment. And at the risk of over-simplifying things, I would say we face three fundamental problems. First, we’re not protecting our best sites well enough. Two thirds of our SSSI are in suboptimal condition, and locally important sites get damaged and destroyed each year. Secondly, we’re not giving nature enough space for it to recover. Nature has a place in our farmland, in the uplands, in our cities and around our coasts, but too often it’s simply squeezed out. And thirdly, despite this being a time of almost unprecedented concern about the natural environment, not enough of us are making a fuss and taking action.