Yesterday’s Rally for Nature

via wikimedia commons

via wikimedia commons

It was great to see lots of people of similar views coming to Westminster to be inspired by some speeches and then to lobby their MPs on behalf of wildlife.

There were two ‘sittings’, morning and afternoon and short speeches from RSPB, Wildlife Trust and LACS staff.  I spoke on wildlife crime in the morning sitting, and I chaired the afternoon session.

At the morning sitting we had two MPs, Caroline Lucas (Green) and Kerry McCarthy (Labour), and in the afternoon Julian Huppert (LibDem) and Sir John Randall (Conservative).  All four MPs were passionate about nature, non-party-political and talked a lot of sense – including imparting their tips on how to lobby your own MP.

Then there was a question and answer session at each sitting and then we walked, with placards and banners, the short distance to the Palace of Westminster, accompanied by a large Red Squirrel called Bob and a large Red Fox and a large Badger (and a small Bill Oddie) to meet our MPs.

I hope to be able to share some photographs of the day a bit later, and some thoughts, but here, to be going on with, is a link to a blog I wrote for the Guardian and a TV performance by the RSPB’s Conservation Director, Martin Harper and the Wildlife Trust’s Director of England, Steven Trotter  (c26 minutes in).

This event was a joint one by the RSPB, Wildlife Trusts and LACs and already, on the day, people were asking ‘What next?’.  There is an enthusiasm from the supporters of wildlife and wildlife organisations to see more joint events, more joint advocacy and more general collaboration.

You can still email your MP to ask him or her for more action on nature – click here (it’s the work of minutes).

 

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8 Comments

  1. Rob Sheldon says:

    I followed the day with interest, and it seems to have been a successful event. Yourself, RSPB, LACS and The Wildlife Trusts with the support of Butterfly Conservation, Mammal Society and Ramblers, and the few MPS who contributed did a great job.
    But where were the other wildlife NGOs? There were 25 partners when the State of Nature Report was produced last year, why were they not rallying, or at least supporting the cause? Wildlife and conservation remains low on the priorities for politicians, and the wildlife NGOs need to get collaborating pretty quickly if they are to have an impact on the election in 6 months time.
    There didn't seem much support from the missing NGOs via social media (at least using the #rallyfornature) - hardly a peep from WWT, BTO, Buglife, Plantlife, Woodland Trust etc etc. The National Trust tweeted a lot about mince pies. Bumblebee Conservation Trust appeared to focus on Christmas gifts. WWF UK, nothing on UK wildlife.

    As a member/supporter of a number of those organisations above, I do want to see more collaboration, more joint advocacy, more joint events, especially when holding our least green government to account.

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    • I agree with you totally Rob. I had a look at the list of members of the 'Wildlife & Countryside Link' (http://www.wcl.org.uk/our-members.asp). Why were more of these NGOs not taking action?

      Especially when Link's website states:

      "Link's aim is to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the environmental voluntary sector through collaboration." and "Our focus is on Westminster and Whitehall. We therefore deal mostly with England related policy issues, or UK wide issues which are either dealt with by the UK Parliament or affect the UK from an international perspective."

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  2. Howard Broughton says:

    Any sign of Kenneth Clarke MP, he's a member of Nottinghamshire Birdwatchers and in my email to him, I asked him his opinions on grouse shooting, birds of prey persecution, Buzzards, badgers, Fox Hunting, carbofuran and vicarious liability. Looking forward to his reply!!

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  3. Barry says:

    so good to see these NGOs working together

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  4. John Cromarty says:

    Well done Mark and the NGO's for a very meaningful and important rally. Hopefully the momentum started will be unstoppable. I thought the MP's there brought an interesting insite into parliamentary lobbying and to the procedings generally.
    As the "inglorious" 10th brings an end to "the sport" for another year it's worth remembering that grouse moor management (and how that greatly affects "undesirable species") goes on apace.
    But, as Bill Oddie said yesterday though "will we be back here in two years discussing the same things.
    Well done again Mark.

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  5. Emma says:

    Great overview Mark! As I stood stewarding on the street and helping the delegates get to the Houses of Common, I must admit that I couldn't stop smiling. It was amazing to see two groups of people walking together so proud. The amount of them that stopped to tell me that "there were glad to be there" or "proud that they came" - it was clear that for most of them, The Rally was the first time they had ever done anything political for nature. I want to thank you, and all of the other NGO's that worked together to create an opportunity for these people to come together and make a stand for nature.

    Let's hope we have another soon.

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  6. Tony Phillips says:

    Has anyone had a reply from their MP?

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  7. Paul Frost says:

    An enjoyable day yesterday, though disappointed not to have had the chance to rant, no sorry chat to my MP about hen harriers. Mr Nick Hurd MP (Tory) chose not to reply to the email I sent him a week ago and as it turns out was not available to meet me. I now know this as I arrived home to find a letter from him, telling me that he was not available to meet me.
    He'd obviously done some research on our rally as he was aware of the agenda. He told me how he values the Wild Birds and Habitats Directives but the Government had identified 28 measures to "make compliance simpler." Yes I had to chuckle too. Apparently he shares our concerns about crimes harming birds and would encourage people to report them. Oh how I wish I could have met him. My follow up email is imminent.
    Anyway as I said it was good day spent with like minded people talking a lot of sense. It was good to meet you Mark and you may well be a very naughty boy but your still the Messiah. Hen harrier warrior and a sense of humour to boot.

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