A Focus On Nature

A Vision For Nature

The Other Power List – by Matt Adam Williams

Welcome to the last post in our Vision for Nature series, that was originally just in the run up to the general election (but continued beyond as more posts arrived from our members). Over the last month and a half, AFON members have shared their own Visions for Nature: what they want the natural world to look like by 2050 and how they want to get there. We have created a hashtag on Twitter so why not join the conversation? What’s your #VisionforNature?

Vision for Nature is all about looking to the future. But indulge me for a moment, if you will, in looking back at the incredible blogs I have read here in recent weeks.

We only intended this blog series to run for a month, but young people’s passion for nature has proved so strong that it has gone on far longer.

The BBC Wildlife Magazine Power List recently featured two friends of A Focus on Nature, and even our own Director, Lucy McRobert. But I think that the real power list – young people who will (and in many ways already are) lead the conservation sector – are those who have written these blogs – nigh on 50 of them.

We’re already leading the way. Senior colleagues at top conservation NGOs are full of admiration for Vision for Nature, and want to be part of it.

We’re saying to politicians, business and even the conservation NGOs “we’ve got a vision for the natural world we want and we’re going to build it. Be as ambitious as us (nature can’t afford anything less) and help or stand aside”.

If you’ve written a blog, or seen one you like, write to your MP and tell them! Part of the point of Vision for Nature is making sure politicians know that a huge group of young people care about wildlife and want them to look after it.

Throughout the blog series, we’ve seen some amazing ideas, and a huge range of topics covered.

Here are some of the best quotes we’ve had.

“I wish for a generation of young people that once again embrace the charms of Mother Nature” James Common

“We should practice the art of being content with what we have” Ryan Lloyd

“It may not seem possible, but it’s all got to start somewhere” Lucia Watts

“We have the power to save what we have left” Amy Robjohns

“We need solutions that work for people AND wildlife” Rory Harding

“These are lyrics ALL conservationists can take to heart” Rebecca Broad

“The environment needs to be higher up the agenda” Sam Manning

I’ve nowhere near enough space to write about everything we’ve imagined in this series. But here are some highlights.

Cat Hudson wrote about the kind of movement we’re going to need to get to where we want to be – one based on community, equality and inclusivity.

We’ve taken a whistlestop tour of the economy and society. Ben Eagle looked at how we may want to change our farming system.

Megan Shersby saw the General Election result as laying down the mantle to all young people to work with this new Government and new MPs to get nature to the top of the political agenda.

Sam Manning felt that our legal system, and constitutional recognition of the rights of the natural world was the solution. And Richard Benwell also wrote about the importance of legal targets and instruments with sharp teeth that prioritised more land being looked after for wildlife.

Louise Farnham wrote about her ambition to find time between life’s daily distractions to make the change happen that she wanted to see.

Harry Martin’s blog was a passionate argument that wildness is something humans need to nourish them. But Lydia Johnson also argued that technology is here to stay and we need to use it to help us.

Lucia Watts imagined something simple – more young people caring about nature and, crucially, getting out there and voting and taking political action to secure its future.

Pete Cooper was radical and ambitious in imagining a future where we could put aside half of Britain for wildlife.

Others, such as Oli Simms and Stephen Le Quesne felt that part of the blame lay at the feet of the conservation movement itself.

Alex White felt that education was the key to unlocking a prosperous future for nature, and Jen Garrett used her own very personal experience to write about the importance of nature in helping some people experience better mental and physical wellbeing.

We have done something here that has never been done before.

Nowhere else is there such a compelling, articulate and passionate collection of writing by young people about how they want the natural world to look by 2050.

We are only part way through the Vision for Nature project, but we should already be extremely proud. Now, onto the next stages.

Send your blog, or someone else’s blog, to your MP. Tell them you want them to look after wildlife and make your vision come true.

In the Autumn we’ll bring out the Vision for Nature report, pulling together ideas and visions we have had from young people across the UK. Keep your eyes peeled for the report and don’t stop imagining the future you want for wildlife and nature.

Matt Williams is one of AFON’s Committee Members and is helping to lead the Vision for Nature campaign and report. In his spare time he works for the RSPB and is a wildlife photographer. Follow him at @mattadamw and mattadamwilliams.co.uk.