Nature's Heroes - Blog

Nature's Heroes

Nature's Heroes
Welcome to the Nature's Heroes group. Shout, inspire, chat or share - we don’t mind how you do it but please help us to create a world richer in wildlife by encouraging others to take small steps for nature.

Nature's Heroes - Blog

News and updates on our campaigning work and the exploits some of our top 'Nature's Heroes' from Steven (Head of Campaigns), Steph and Kim (Campaigns Officers).
  • Have your say on single-use plastics

    With all the recent publicity on plastic pollution we thought you might be interested in having your say and sharing your views with the Government.

    Marine plastic pollution is an increasing visible global environmental issue in our seas. In the Spring Budget the Chancellor announced a consultation on the use of taxes and charges to reduce the use of or improve the recycling of single use plastics and this will be your opportunity to influence the government’s policy on plastic.

    (Plastic washed up on Henderson Island, a wildlife-rich uninhabited island in the South Pacific that is part of the Pitcairn UK Overseas Territory. Researchers in 2017 found 38 million pieces of rubbish washed up on the island, almost all of it plastic. Image courtesy of rspb-images.com.)

    Waste issues are very complicated. The first few sections of the consultation are aimed at industry and you may have no knowledge of those issues or opinions. However, questions 13-16 are about how you as a consumer might feel about or react to changes in government policy on plastics. Here we would encourage you to talk to them about your own experience of the plastic bag tax or how you think they could help you to make better choices regarding the use of plastics. 

    How to Respond

    You can find the consultation document here: Tackling the Plastic Problem

    You may wish to read the whole document but the section on “Consumption” begins on page 12 and contains the following questions which you might like to answer:

     13. What factors influence consumers’ choices related to single-use plastic items? 

    • How can the government encourage the re-use of these items? 

    14. What are the barriers to consumers choosing alternatives to single-use plastic items, and how responsive would consumers be to price changes? 

    15. In what way, and to what extent, do the decisions of producers and retailers influence consumer choice? 

    16. In your opinion, how can the tax system or charges play a role in delivering better environmental outcomes at this stage? 

    • What interventions should be implemented, and why? 
    • What behavioural effect would these interventions have, both on this stage in the supply chain, and more broadly?
    • What would be the impact on consumers? 
    • Are there specific items the government should be focusing on?

    The deadline for responses to this call for evidence is 18 May 2018 and you should send your responses by email to: ETTanswers@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk Remember to explain that you are responding in a private capacity rather than representing an organisation, though of course you are welcome to explain that you are responding after seeing our blog, and do include your address. 

    You can help us track the impact of the campaign – please let us know at campaigns@rspb.org.uk if you've sent an objection, and any replies you receive

    If you'd like more information on the plastics issue check out these Green Alliance blogs here, here and here.

  • Show the Love reaches all the way to the Prime Minister!

    Welcome to the Show the Love finale! Grab yourself a drink and some nibbles and without further ado let’s head on over to the green carpet at the inaugural Green Heart Hero Awards...

    Hosted by Clive Anderson in the spectacular Speaker's House in Westminster on 13 March, the first ever Green Heart Hero Awards have been a huge success! Not only did the Energy Minister Claire Perry attend and give the keynote speech, but non-other than the Prime Minister herself dropped by and met all the short-listed nominees and Award winners. 

    On the left: Claire Perry, Energy Minister, delivers her keynote speech. On the right: Theresa May meets a family from her constituency who were nominated for a Best Green Heart Award.

    It's brilliant that Theresa May and Claire Perry had the chance to witness, first hand, the passion and enthusiasm of people from across the country, and from all walks of life, who are determined to meet the challenge of climate change head-on, with positivity and optimism about what we can achieve.

    And the winner is...

    Across all the categories there were hugely inspiring nominees, from community projects and individuals through to schools and youth projects. Here is the full list of winners:

    Most Sustainable Visitor Site - RSPB's Nigg Bay Reserve, Moray Firth

    Izzy Morgan, the reserve warden for Nigg Bay, came all the way down from the highlands of Scotland to receive the award!

    From left to right: Abi Bunker (RSPB Head of UK Policy and Advocacy), Izzy Morgan (RSPB Central Highlands Reserve Warden) and Mel Coath (RSPB Senior Policy Officer working on climate change)

    Sustainability in Sport - Forest Green Rovers

    Greenest School or Youth Project - St. Mary's Catholic Primary School, Maidenhead

    Greenest Business - Rubies in the Rubble

    Greenest Overseas Project - CAFOD's Community-based green energy project, Kenya

    Rural Innovation - Energy Local, Bethesda, North Wales

    Greenest MP - Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton

    Greenest New MP - Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton Deane

    Most Inspirational Community Project - Rose Hill and Iffley Low Carbon

    Most Inspirational Community Individual - Mark Dixon, Mersea Harbour

    For more information on the winners and nominees and what they were nominated for, head to the Green Heart Hero Awards website, and prepare to be inspired!

    Last but definitely not least, there is the Award for Best Green Heart! This went to the fabulous Claire Tinsley, who read about crafting green hearts in Nature's Home, our members magazine!  Claire created the stunning hare green heart badge that was sent to Liz Bonnin. Huge congratulations to Claire, and to all the crafters, for help making Show the Love 2018 truly memorable. 

    On the left: Claire Tinsley receives her award from Clive Anderson. On the right: The fabulous heart that Claire was nominated for.

     

    Saving the best till last!

    A chance to look back at how it all went down this year, here is The Climate Coalitions fabulous highlights film. See what famous faces you can spot. You might even see your own hand-crafted heart!

     

    Now it's your turn to tell us what you think of Show the Love 2018!

    The Climate Coalition would love to hear how you think Show the Love went this year. Please take a few minutes to complete their survey. It helps us to improve, try new things and learn what really isn't working! You are important to the success of Show the Love: your likes, shares, retweets, crafting, and word of mouth are what help Show the Love reach new people, including our decision-makers. So your view on what is working and what isn't is equally as important and we really value your feedback.

    Take the Survey

  • Show the Love 2018: our favourite bits!

    Another Show the Love week has come and gone and we're already missing the daily deliveries of fabulous crafted hearts that have been landing on our desks for the last 5 months!  Next month we'll have the final figures and highlights from The Climate Coalition but for now we wanted to share some of our favourite bits from Show the Love 2018.

    Crafted hearts smash last years' record, and get nominated for an award!

    Last year around 400 hearts were created by RSPB staff and volunteers for use as part of Show the Love. This year we thought supporters might like to join in too, and you did not disappoint! This year 50 people made a total of 667 crafted hearts of all shapes, sizes and materials. 


    At one point there were four desks (like the above) completely covered in fabulous creations and people were forever stopping to admire the variety and talent on display. Can you spot your heart? (Photo by Kim Matthews)

    I am still planning to get back to people who crafted hearts and let them know where their hearts went and how they were used but in the meantime here is a quick rundown of where hearts were sent from RSPB:

    • Nature celebrities like Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, and Simon King
    • Cbeebies presenters Ferne Corrigan and Rory Crawford
    • MPs, MSPs and AMs
    • Welsh and Scottish Ministers
    • MP and Welsh Species Champions
    • RSPB reserves for visitor engagement
    • New RSPB senior managers, to introduce them to the campaign and encourage them to enthuse their teams about it
    • Our Birdlife Partners in the Gola rainforest, Sierra Leone, when Martin Harper went to visit them in February
    • Ecotricity HQ where they had a special Show the Love day
    • Regional Offices for use with key local partners
    • A further 155 hearts were sent to The Climate Coalition to use with Front-Bench MP's, Ministers and VIPs - including one that went to the Prime Minister!

    Every single one of the recipients will have received a hand-made heart with a personal message on the back about why nature is important and why we need to tackle climate change.  As well as being a lovely thing to give to someone, it is also very powerful as can be seen by the smiles and pride on many of the recipients faces.

    Top Row (from left): Mims Davies MP, Ben MacPherson MSP, Thangam Debbonaire MP. Middle Row (from left): James Robinson RSPB Regional Director for Eastern England, Katie-Jo Luxton RSPB Cymru Country Director, Robert Lingard RSPB Senior Parliamentary Officer. Bottom Row (from left): Chris Packham, Ferne Corrigan and Simon King. All images taken from Twitter.

    On Valentine’s Day itself, RSPB Cymru teamed up with Wales Environment Link (WEL) to invite Species Champions, Ministers and other Members of the National Assembly to celebrate the steps being taken to tackle climate change in Wales. At a lunchtime event held at the Senedd building in Cardiff Bay, 25 Assembly Members (AMs) in total were delighted to be presented with hand-crafted green hearts made by talented RSPB supporters, and could be spotted wearing them in the chamber later that day.  Those AMs involved in WEL’s Species Champions project were particularly impressed with their hearts which depicted the species they champion, and many took the opportunity to declare their support for their species, the project, and the Show the Love campaign when speaking in the Welsh Assembly that afternoon.

    Wales Environment Link tweet admiring all the green hearts on display in the Welsh Assembly (From Twitter)


    Exciting news reached us last week as supporter Claire Tinsley's fabulous hare crafted heart, which was given to Liz Bonnin, has been shortlisted for the Best Green Heart Award at next months' Green Heart Hero Awards!  Huge congratulations to Claire and finger's crossed for a win.  We'll bring you more news from the Awards next month.

    Claire Tinsley's amazing heart that has been short-listed for a Green Heart Hero Award.  Good luck Claire!


    RSPB Regions, Countries and Reserves all Show the Love for our wildlife and wild places

    At least 32 RSPB reserves across England, Scotland and Wales got involved with Show the Love 2018, from having stickers to give to visitors to running specific activities like crafted heart-making and self-guided walks that highlighted reserves' climate stories and how the RSPB is managing habitats specifically to help wildlife thrive and adapt in our changing world.

    Left: Climate story sign at RSPB Fairburn Ings (tweeted by a visitor). Right: The RSPB Pulborough Brooks Team Show the Love for their reserve. (Images from Twitter)


    While Scotland was busy producing a special week of blogs about Show the Love and climate change (as well as handing out 41 crafted hearts to Scottish Ministers and MSPs!) ...


    Staff in the South West, Eastern England and South East captured video of people talking about the impacts of climate change on their reserves and regions...

    That's all very well, I hear you cry, but how effective has it been?

    Well, initial figures from The Climate Coalition indicate that the campaign had a potential reach (the number of people who had a chance of seeing something about the campaign e.g. in a newspaper or on Facebook) of 1.2 billion! Yes you did read that right. The majority of that figure comes from the sports report they produced, and from the Rankin snowman animation, which also received over 1 million views.  At least 100,000 people had stickers, or liked and shared posts on social media and around 800 events or activities have taken place across the UK engaging at least 8,000 people.

    As for me, my highlight was all the crafted hearts and how we were able to use them. Particularly the increased engagement with politicians. This might be an awareness raising moment when we reach out to new and wider audiences, but making sure decision-makers feel the warmth from Show the Love is important too. To engage people with something so positive and tangible (on an issue that can seem all doom and gloom, abstract and distant) is hugely rewarding and I hope those of you who took part feel the same way.

    Thank you all again for what is always one of the most engaging and magical times of my campaigning year!

    Why not check out The Climate Coalition's highlights too.