My passion for wildlife was stimulated in my teenage years, mainly thanks to my Mum (a biology teacher) who made me look at the world differently and being inspired by writers such as Paul Colinvaux. This early interest developed into biological research in my 20s, when I did practical conservation work in places such as the Comores and Mongolia.
Today, any free time I have I spend pottering around the flatlands of East Anglia or escaping to our hut on the Northumberland coast looking for wildlife and castles with my wife and children.
I studied Biological Sciences at Oxford and Conservation at UCL, and worked at Wildlife and Countryside Link before spending five years as Conservation Director at Plantlife.
I joined the RSPB as Head of Government Affairs in 2004, became Head of Sustainable Development in 2006, before becoming Conservation Director in 2011.
This week I am looking at the role that business can play in protecting the planet.
But for a business to remain in business, they do need consumers to buy their products or services. And that means we all have a role to play.
Even at breakfast.
Because if you start your day with Jordan's cereal and a couple of slices of toast made from Allinson Bread, you'll be helping wildlife from the comfort of your kitchen.
These are just two brands that support Conservation Grade - a scheme encouraging nature friendly farming. Farmers that supply conservation grade products are obliged to allocate 10% of their land to create wildlife habitats. This is on a par with what we do at our Hope Farm. And, as at Hope Farm, Conservation Grade farms have more wildlife. It is estimated that they are home to five times more wildlife than conventional farms.
They achieve this by being pretty prescriptive about which habitats farmers need to manage to get the most wildlife on their land. Nearly all Conservation Grade farmers will be rewarded through agri-environment schemes and then receive a premium payment on top.
And, in farmers like Robert Law (former Farmer of the Year and Nature of Farmng Award regional winner), they have fabulous advocates. Sometimes it takes a farmer to convince a farmer"
I am a fan of Conservation Grade and any other schemes that drive up standards. I hope that their market share grows. And let's remember that we, as nature-loving consumers, can help make that happen by choosing the right products when we shop.
Do you buy Conservation Grade products? If not, why not?
It would be great to hear your views.
I told you they were good - watch this - www.youtube.com/watch