Once renowned for its “green and pleasant lands”, the United Kingdom is a far-cry from the wildlife haven of days gone by. In fact, we are now one of the most nature-depleted nations on Earth—a prize nobody wants to win.
Habitat loss and climate change have transformed the face of our country. Our green spaces now exist in a fragmented patchwork of isolated meadows and forests. Wildlife is suffering as a result: between 1970 and 2013, a staggering 56% of species have declined. Reading statistics like this, it’s hard to feel hopeful about our country’s future. Every news article you read brings more bad news; seemingly insurmountable obstacles stand between us and wildlife recovery. Habitats are shrinking, forests are being stripped bare, and housing developments are springing up where wildflower meadows used to bloom. Our wildlife is in distress, and nobody is listening.
Or so I thought. In March, I attended the launch of The Wildlife Trust’s new campaign for a Wilder Future—and for the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful.
I felt apprehensive as I boarded the train to London. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the event—but as soon as I entered the venue, I knew I’d found my place. Every person I spoke to radiated with their enthusiasm for the cause; people from every walk of life found themselves united in their love of wildlife. We were there to preview the launch trailer for a Wilder Future, but the opportunity to speak to so many like-minded people was equally as exciting.
A hush fell across the room as the trailer began to play. In the brief moments I was able to tear my eyes away from the screen, my awe was reflected a hundred times in the faces of the crowd. When you watch the clip below, you’ll understand why.
What Does A “Wilder Future” Mean?
In order to protect our wildlife, the Trust and many others like it want to legalise a new Environment Act. This Act would see greater legal protection put in place to defend wildlife against human activity. Nature Recovery Networks, a key component covered by the new Environment Act, would aim to stitch patches of green space together, creating corridors which allow wildlife to pass between habitats. The Environment Act would also see the creation of brand new wildlife habitats, as well as the restoration of areas long-since made uninhabitable by human actions. The aim is to allow wildlife to thrive everywhere—from housing estates and office roofs to parks and riverbanks.
Our job is to convince MPs to vote in favour. It’s as easy as scheduling a meeting with your local MP, and telling them why the new Environment Act is so important. By working together, we can start to heal the damage we have caused. A Wilder Future aims to create a shared vision across the entire country, where we all work together for wildlife.
It’s not too Late to Make a Difference
We are but fleeting visitors on this magnificent hunk of space rock. Through dumb luck, we reside on a planet that maintains the perfect balance of conditions to sustain all manner of intricate ecosystems and wonderful creatures. Sheer chance means that we have developed brains which allow us to perceive morality, to reason, and to plan for the future. These brains have given us the technology and knowledge we need to act sustainably, and to live in harmony with nature.
Despite all of this, we treat the Earth with utter contempt; we strip the forests bare, gouge great wounds in the land, pollute the waters with our rubbish and force animals from their homes. For hundreds of years, we have turned a blind eye to nature’s suffering—prioritising our selfish desires above the wellbeing of our life support system.
…But it’s not too late to change. I often feel overwhelmed by all the terrible things going on in the world, but campaigns like this show that there is still a battle worth fighting for. We are being presented with the chance to make a positive impact on the world, and we need to take it while we still can.
Animals don’t have a voice—but we do.
Animals can’t speak up for themselves, so it’s our job to speak on their behalf. Here are a few ways you can make a real difference for wildlife in this country.
- Contact politicians: Your MP has a duty to represent you in parliament. This means that no matter who you are, you can make a difference. Encourage them to vote in favour of the new Environment Act – just one vote could make all the difference.
- Get involved with the Wildlife Trust: Check your local Wildlife Trust website or social media page for volunteering opportunities and events near you. It’s a great way to learn more about conservation, as well as to meet like-minded people.
- Change starts at home: Look at your local area, and think about what might make a difference to wildlife. Creating wildlife habitats in your garden or local park can make a huge difference.
- Shout about it: Help to spread the word about a Wilder Future. Whether it’s through a post on social media or a coffee morning with friends, helping to raise awareness is a great way to make a change.
Sign up to discover more ways in which you can make a difference in our wildlife’s future.