It shouldn’t be the case that we find ourselves questioning, “how much nature do we want”, or even “what do we want the natural world to look like?” It should be blindingly obvious that we should have as much wildlife as possible, yet even this magical world that remains neutral of politics is as much an end product of the machine as education or the NHS.
April 2017 marked the inaugural Conservation Optimism Summit, a three-day event based in London attracting conservationists from across the globe; an event that aspired to give birth to a new movement, one of hope and positivity that showcases conservation successes.
Vision for Nature : Health, Development and Infrastructure
I was recently in conversation with Judy Ling Wong, CBE. She spoke to me about how she sees our towns, cities and buildings as nature. Not just in the sense that there are pigeons and trees and parks even in urban areas, but also in the sense that the metal and concrete we use to build our homes and offices come from the Earth.
Earlier this week, I wrote about politics. A topic I’m not overly familiar with, but one that I am starting to get more interested thanks to A Focus On Nature. However when it comes to education and engagement, I am rather more familiar and it is a subject close to my heart.
One thing is certain in life, everything dies. Plants, animals, humans. We all die in the end, but in recent times with the acceleration of the human impact on the world, plants and animals are suffering faster than ever before on our planet. Of course often we read about Rhinos, and Tigers, victims of cruel acts of hunting in far away places, but in reality the loss of species, habitats and environments is right on our doorstep. Right here in the UK.
Landscape; it’s a big, bold daunting concept isn’t it? It implies a sense of vastness that makes it difficult to find a point of focus. It is a concept that the conservation sector struggled with in its early days, focusing instead on protecting single sites in an effort to save our species. It is therefore highly admirable that the Vision for Nature report has dedicated a whole section to this challenging subject. Perhaps it is not surprising, as A Focus On Nature has always shown itself to be a group of bold and bright young people, who are more than willing to tackle the big issues in conservation, and they come no bigger than landscape.
No matter how much we think about it day to day, food touches all of our lives. After all, we all eat! As well as being responsible for managing many of the landscapes we appreciate, the food and farming sector generates jobs, especially in rural communities where employment is sometimes more difficult to find. Many young people are concerned about the future of food and farming, shown through the activities of grass roots and youth organisations such as Common Soil and the county Young Farmers Clubs. There are also many young people, such as our own members, who are passionate about the future of the natural world.
I was privileged to spend five years working at the heart of the growing youth climate movement in the UK from 2008-2013. This movement in the UK was emerging into existence at the same time as the international youth climate movement was as well.
It is often said that young people are not interested in politics. Some even go as far to say that young people are apathetic about politics. I would disagree, and I would disagree profoundly. I have seen my Facebook and Twitter feeds filled with posts from my contempories discussing Brexit, Theresa May as our new Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn’s position. There are a variety of views expressed, and debates have appeared in the replies with sources of evidence to back up their opinions. Then the #VisionforNature report was published.
The Gifts of Naturalists Past, Present & Future – Matt Williams
Welcome to our 2015 Advent Calendar series (#AFONAdvent)! For each day in the lead-up to Christmas, we have a post from an A Focus On Nature member on this year’s Advent theme: “The Gift of Giving”. We hope that you enjoy the series and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!