A Focus On Nature

A Focus On Nature, Issues in conservation

What do you want nature to look like, now and in the future?

Matt Williams asks whether you’d like to be a Vision for Nature campaigner over the next few months. If you already know the answer, email mattadamwilliams@gmail.com. If you’d like to know more, read on.

A Focus on Nature is filled with young people brimming with passion and talent to communicate about nature and to protect it. But as many of us know, decisions about nature don’t always go our (or nature’s) way. This is because those in power don’t feel enough pressure to decide in our favour. Just take the case of Lodge Hill, where Medway Council in Kent want to build 5,000 homes on a Site of Special Scientific Interest that’s home to the UK’s most important breeding site for nightingales, or attempts a few years ago by the Government to remove nature from the curriculum.

As young people, we’re going to suffer the worst consequences of this. When the politicians in power now are retired or dead, we’ll be living in the natural world built by their decisions. That’s why those decisions have to reflect our ambitions.

What kind of natural world do we want to see in the future and how do we want to get there?

My Vision for Nature is of me, at the age of 64, catching the train to a city in the North of England. It heads out of London across the Fens, now restored for nature and home to bitterns and cranes once again. The Fens have provided an important backstop against sea level rise on the East Anglian coast, even though climate change has been limited to two degrees by a shift to a renewable energy system in harmony with nature. The agricultural areas of Lincolnshire we pass through are sensitively managed for wildlife, with corn buntings trilling and turtle doves purring from extensive hedgerows.

As we pass through a moorland area I see on the horizon the unmistakable grey outline of a male hen harrier hunting for prey for his chicks.

Pulling into the city I’ll be visiting today we hug the edge of my destination – a huge nature reserve on the edge of the city centre – one of a number of city natural parks created over the last few decades – that allows people and families of all backgrounds to access nature every weekend using affordable public transport.

Young people growing up in 2050 are going to be more connected to nature than any generation in many years.

That’s my Vision for Nature. But if I want that to become a reality I need to ask for it.

Over the past few years I’ve been a key part of the growing youth climate change movement, and I’ve watched that movement come from nowhere into a voice that we know governments listen to. The crisis facing our wildlife is no less urgent than the one facing our climate. So it’s about time we did the same thing for nature.

In the run-up to the general election in May, we’re running the Vision for Nature campaign, culminating in the Vision for Nature report in June or July.

I need you to help. Nature needs you to help.

We want to show politicians that there’s a youth conservation movement out there that cares about nature and wants decisions to save it.

So, over the coming months, we’re asking you to tweet your MPs, telling them that you have a #visionfornature and you want nature to be taken into account by the next Government.

We want you to write letters to your MPs. You’re a talented bunch so we want you to send them postcards with your photos of nature and wildlife on, or your poems. Write blog posts dedicated to them and email them the links.

And we want to see your Visions for Nature too so we can put as many of them as possible in the final report.

For the first time, let’s put the youth conservation movement on the map.

If you’d like to help by becoming a Vision for Nature campaigner for about four or five months, please email mattadamwilliams@gmail.com. You don’t have to be over 18 to take part, MPs need to know that young people who will be voting in a few years’ time care too. If you sign up, you’ll get plenty of help and support along the way.

Here’s a very handy list of UK MPs on twitter: https://twitter.com/tweetminster/lists/ukmps/members

You can find out who your MP is by going here: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

Here are some sample tweets you might want to use:

@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx My #visionfornature is a thriving natural world by the time I’m retired in 2050 @AFONature

@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx I’ve got a #visionfornature and it’s for the next government to take nature into account in all decisions @AFONature

@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx if elected, save nature for future generations. Youth conservation movement will be watching. #VisionforNature @AFONature