A Focus On Nature

A Vision For Nature

Dear new MP… what’s your Vision for Nature?

Welcome to our series of blog posts in the run up (originally) to the general election (7th May 2015). Over this month AFON members will share their own Visions for Nature: what they want the natural world to look like by 2050 and how they want to get there. Despite the election being over, we have decided to continue the series as more posts keep arriving from our members! We have created a hashtag on Twitter so why not join the conversation? What’s your #VisionforNature?

Over the past month or so I’ve been so inspired by the Vision for Nature blogs I’ve read. I’m going to be writing a blog reflecting on them all soon.

But I wanted to return to one of the key reasons behind Vision for Nature. Why are we doing this? In part, it’s because we want nature to flourish by 2050 (to paraphrase everyone’s blogs) and we need political change to achieve that – a political system that considers nature a far higher priority.

How do we achieve that? Part of the answer has to lie in letting politicians know that there’s a movement of young people who care deeply about nature’s future and that we’re going to hold them to account their decisions and choices over the next five years, that affect the next fifty years for nature.

Now that we have a new Government and new MPs, one of the best things you could do would be to write to your MP, along the following lines. If you do, please let us know.

Here’s what I wrote to my MP, Heidi Allen, Conservative (I’ll post another blog here if and when I receive a reply and further correspondence):

Dear Ms Allen,

Congratulations on your election as MP for South Cambridgeshire.

I’ve already written to you previously regarding my concerns about the natural world and I hope that over the next five years in Parliament you’ll act to protect and restore it.

I’m part of A Focus on Nature, the network for young nature conservationists in the UK, led by and for young people.

The previous Government attacked badgers (on the basis of rhetoric rather than science), planned to issue licences to allow buzzard nest destruction, and ignored (and misinterpreted its own) evidence on bees and neonicotinoids.

It spectacularly failed to designate Marine Protected Areas.

And it proved itself hostile to the renewable energy industry and too supportive of the fossil fuel industry at a time when we need to be leaving the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground. This threatens both our climate and our wildlife.

Even if these failures had been successes, it would still have been a long way from the necessary measures to secure nature’s future.

Nature’s future looks very precarious – I refer you to just one document, the State of Nature report. Our economy, our food, our physical and mental health rely on it. We all have a responsibility to look after it but equally we all have a right to enjoy it. If things aren’t turned around then by 2050, when I’m about to retire, the natural world will be in a sorry state, and many of the UK’s best loved species could be extinct.

That’s why young people are setting out a different path, our Vision for Nature: where we want the natural world to be by 2050 and how we want to get there.

A growing youth conservation movement cares deeply about the future of our natural world, for their own sake and that of future generations. You can find a series of our blogs at afocusonnature.org/blog. Our Vision for Nature campaign illustrates the depth and breadth of the movement of young people who think that nature should be a political priority.

We all hope, and I as your constituent do, that the Conservative Party and this Government will turn around its track record on the natural environment and take steps that help young people and young voters to achieve our Vision for Nature.

In the immediate future, there are some very simple things I’d ask you to consider doing:

1. Call a Parliamentary debate on the issue of nature’s future and what politics and politicians can do to protect it.

2. Support a Nature and Wellbeing Act (being called for by the RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts).

3. Reply to this letter or tweet with your Vision for Nature (using #VisionforNature).

When we have completed the Vision for Nature report later this year, I’ll be sure to send you a copy.

I would be grateful for the opportunity to discuss these issues further in written correspondence or at one of your constituency surgeries.

Yours sincerely,