As I lay on the beach this morning, staring straight up at the little terns passing overhead, I wondered how many of the local candidates in the general election know about this wildlife jewel in their constituency. Or about many of the other special wildlife and places in this part of Suffolk.
Matt’s local beach in Suffolk
Wildlife of course, doesn’t stay in one place, or even respect national borders (particularly in the case of little terns which fly back and forth between West Africa and the UK every year). But many people’s sense of connection to wildlife is deeply rooted in a particular place; often, it’s the place where they live.
And while A Focus on Nature believes that we need to see a large-scale reconnection and rewilding of existing habitats across the UK, local places and wildlife are the foundations of this. Protecting and improving them is the first step to the flourishing future we want to see and that we set out in our Vision for Nature report last year.
In the UK, we’re lucky in that our politicians are, through our local constituency system, reasonably accessible. Constituency surgeries and the chance to just write off an email means you can ask your local politician about the issues that concern you. General election time is similar. Candidates very often make themselves available to questioning through local hustings events. And if you can’t make one of these then you can always email them.
I recently emailed all my local candidates in order to ask them what they will do Now for Nature. The Now for Nature campaign is the follow up to our Vision for Nature campaign. If that vision is to become a reality, then action needs to happen now. So as well as profiling young people who are leading the way by saving nature, I also wrote to my candidates to ask them what they will do (if elected) now for nature.
I’d really encourage you to do the same – only by making politicians aware that we care about wildlife can we raise it up the political agenda. Please write to your candidates – it’ll probably take about ten minutes to copy and paste an email to all of them asking them what they will do for the environment if you vote for them.
You can usually find their contact details on the local webpage for the political party, or here: whocanivotefor.co.uk
And, even better, try to make it along to a hustings event. If you do any of this, why not let us know on twitter, using #NowforNature?