This blog is a celebration of the nature in the South East and highlights ways you can get involved and explore nature in the region. If you've got news of the South East’s nature that you'd like to share, please contact the RSPB South East office on 01273 775333 or email SERComms@rspb.org.uk
It seems there are more bird species in the world than we had previously thought.
A report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN] identifies 350 newly recognized bird species. Great news.
The bad news is that 25% of those newly discovered species are on the road to extinction. Add to this another report concluding Insects, worms and other small animals that carry out vital functions for life on earth have declined by 45% on average over 35 years, and you could be left with a feeling of dread.
Nature is in trouble.
We've know that for a while now and have been looking at ways to resolve the problem. Or should I say problems. There is no single "thing" driving these declines. It's a cocktail of impacts but some will take issue with me and say that "mankind" is the single "thing" causing problems. That's another argument.
I'm interested in solutions to the disappearing wildlife. Many of the answers lie in the provision of natural food stocks and places for nature to live. It's easily within our abilities to influence both of these. The thing is, we're also looking at ways to feed ourselves and house ourselves. In our rush to fix the human needs, we overlook nature's needs; with a few excellent exceptions.
There are great examples of farmers going that extra mile for wildlife; of developers including greenspace and nesting sites; commercial shoots that conserve wild species and habitats alongside game birds and lots more river, marine, power and transport initiatives that should be applauded. As always, there are extremes, so there are an equal number of bad examples where nature is deliberately targeted as it's seen as bad for business.
Love Parks week is a great time to get outdoors to discover nature and see or yourself some of the solutions being pioneered by council's and land managers to support and improve urban nature. Wild About Hampstead Heath, our own Heritage Lottery Funded partnership project offers a range of events and activities; London's many other parks have hundreds of events planned over the summer holidays too.
The revolution required to turn the tide will take place in our homes and workplaces. The arguments for being an eco-warrior have never been so compelling. Whether justification for lagging your home comes from a desire to reduce carbon or the suggestion that it would be a form of protest against Vladimir Putin's stance on the Ukraine, your actions have positive environmental, economic and social impacts. The same is true of the food you buy. If you have any doubts, read our Square Meal report on the importance of a balanced food, farming and environmental approach.
Nature is a public "right". It sustains and shapes us. We ignore and abuse it at our peril with plenty of lessons from history to show the consequences of our actions or inactions. It's such a pity we have short memories.