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Politicians and industry have the power to make a difference in dealing with challenges facing wildlife

Last modified: 03 September 2014

Gannet colony

Image: Andy Hay

Businesses and politicians have the power to make a difference in tackling the crisis facing our wildlife, according to Sir David Attenborough. 

Speaking at the landmark Conference for Nature today, Sir David Attenborough, said:  “We – Homo sapiens - are dependent on the natural world and are part of it.  We depend on it for the air we breathe and the food we eat.  Some might say we depend on it for our very sanity and I’m convinced that children brought up without contact with the natural world will live deprived lives."  

Addressing conference delegates, including Barry Gardiner MP (Labour) The Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Germaine Greer and coalition minister Lord de Mauley, Sir David, said:  “There are problems to be grappled with.  If not there will be great impoverishment, physically, spiritually, intellectually.  You are administrators, businessmen, executives, people who have decisions which can affect the future of our wildlife.” 

 Sir David went on to cite the “great new challenges” that  can be answered by three elements in society:  “naturalists - who can tell you what’s happening, who understand the new species and their requirements; politicians – who can help ensure legislation goes through” he said, adding that “business executives, in a myriad ways help and make sure businesses take account of what goes on around them and ensure products are in sympathy with the demands of the natural world.

 “What is heartening about the community here now – between you, you have the power to deal with it.  There are conservationists among you with the expertise but there are also executives and politicians – people who take decisions which really affect wildlife.”

 Sir David concluded:  What you are doing at this conference is of great importance.  You can provide the leadership and the decisions.”

In May last year, the UK’s leading wildlife groups released the State of Nature report, which revealed 60 per cent of our native species are in decline and one in ten are heading for UK extinction.

More than a year on, the State of Nature report partners are striving to encourage new ways of tackling the crisis facing our wildlife.

More than 250 people attended this seminal conference including leading figures in industry, Government and the utility sector as well as all the UK’s major wildlife and countryside organisations; demonstrating the level of ambition for tackling the huge challenges facing nature.

The Conference for Nature was organised by the State of Nature Partnership, a coalition of 26 NGOs, including RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife.  The Conference for Nature was held at Church House Conference Centre, Dean’s Yard, Westminster SW1P 3NZ and attended by figures from a wide range of industry sectors including housing development, water, retail, agriculture, mineral extraction, finance, transport and infrastructure.

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