A while ago the results of a poll on this website suggested that the RSPB should not change its name, but it was only a few hundred people and the reasons for not changing were varied and contradictory.
Then at the RSPB AGM there was a question about whether the RSPB was going to change its name where Mike Clarke’s answer was along the lines of ‘not at the moment but we wouldn’t rule anything out’. That seems to me to be the right answer informed by the right thinking.
Now, it isn’t the name that matters most – it’s what the RSPB does and how well it does it and what it stands for – I think. But once you have sorted all that out then you need a name that works.
In the current issue of BIRDS magazine (might that be SAVING NATURE magazine in a few years time?) Adrian Pitches interviews Mike Clarke about the RSPB’s ‘Saving Nature’ strategy. It’s well worth a read.But it is a bit confusing, I think. The wording of this article isn’t very clear – at least to me. It appears that the RSPB is adopting ‘a wider nature remit’ but ‘Nothing’s changing apart from our reference points’ and ‘birds remain at the forefront of what we do’.
The RSPB needs ‘to build a wider understanding of our work’ and ‘look beyond our traditional supporters and reach out for more public support, beyond the environmental sector to the business community. We need to influence them.’. Does that mean get into bed with Tesco or does it mean campaigning for businesses to do better – is it their money or their actions that the RSPB wants? It really isn’t clear.
Is the RSPB working to protect nature or environmental services or to give people a better life. Maybe it’s all of these but the phrase ‘We need to build a wider understanding of our work – that we want to make people’s quality of life better’ is pulled out in large letters. That doesn’t sound quite the same as ‘Saving Nature’ to me, and the RSPB’s work with tropical rainforests and peatlands is ‘all about the carbon cycle: reducing emissions.’
The article is clear about whether the RSPB might ‘ditch the avocet logo, even change its name’ and the answer is that ‘these things are under consideration’.
I think that I am, perhaps, too keen on things being clear (and, yes, I know, I could be clearer myself at times). It seems that the RSPB is still thinking about where it’s going, why and with whom and that is obviously fine. I’ll almost certainly be going with it whatever is the answer.
What seems to emerge is that the RSPB is moving (has moved?) to an all-nature ticket but doesn’t want anyone to think that it has forgotten birds. It’s still going to do the whole range of conservation actions from practical conservation work to campaigning, and it’s still going to strive to increase the proportion of its money spent abroad on international conservation action.
If that’s what is happening then I am, as a member, very pleased. If you are an RSPB member is that how you understand pages 6 and 7 in the current BIRDS magazine? And are you happy too?