Based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, I have a number of interests but I am always content to be out birding, which is usually every day walking my dog Fender. I do a lot of birding in Suffolk Breck but of course go further afield too.
Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens, but in the end, it’s always ACTION that wins
The above quote by a Dr William Holden appeared in my Twitter timeline the other day, it was re-tweeted by someone I follow and I don’t have any further context. It did however strike a big chord with me.
The online world is a huge outlet for us nowadays and I really enjoy reading blogs such as Mark’s, in fact I follow it avidly. As I do a few others including Martin Harper’s blog.
Recently a number of posts have caused me to want to respond, and respond fully. Whilst the option to comment exists a number of things have converged and Mark has kindly let me guest post here to clear my mind.
I agree with Dr. Holden, whoever he is. Action wins. Action by RSPB Investigations officers resulted in the conviction of a gamekeeper who was filmed beating trapped Buzzards to death.
Before this, Martin Harper took action and used the Environmental Information Regulations to confirm Natural England has issued licenses for the killing of Buzzards.
I am also fortunate to be surrounded by people taking action; my good friend Tristan Reid is a Tour de Force of action. A walking, running, tattooed monument to taking action. A number of my birding friends take action with varying intensity from taking part in bird surveys like the (due for publication) Bird Atlas effort or simply doing the Garden Bird Watch with family. Even my old man is a mad keen Birdtrack’er now and texts me his revised ‘life list’ as informed by his Birdtrack records.
I do consider this recording of wildlife to be action. It informs the basis on which we can make decisions on behalf of ailing populations and I am delighted it is now extending into other taxa, for example butterflies. My girlfriend actually asked me to do the Big Butterfly Count this weekend! She had seen it advertised the weekend before on the awful ‘Saturday Brunch’ programme. I of course jumped at the chance and we dutifully recorded our butterflies Sunday lunchtime and had fun doing it.
Whilst Sunday Brunch is nauseating I relish the fact that it prompted my girlfriend, who normally groans when I tell her about my latest bird or moth exploits, to get out and record wildlife.
On a similar note, the new RSPB advert, as polled on Mark’s blog, has been a conversation topic with a number of non-birding friends and colleagues. They love it and love the idea of giving nature a home; it captivates children and causes them to cajole their parents into action! Perfect.
What’s not to like?
Well, the common theme to the online complaints as from my more hardened birding friends is; it dilutes the RSPB’s bird focus. I understand this, but with all wildlife so inextricably linked to birds it makes perfect sense to me.
This brings me onto the point I really want to make; action wins.
I am really irked by online experts; they are seemingly common to every blog or forum I read. With no discernable body of evidence or experience behind them they are capable of rubbishing and detracting from every positive put forward. I have noticed them on Mark’s blog and they are especially prevalent on Martin Harper’s blog and the wider Community area of the RSPB website.
I consider it doubly negative to detract from people’s efforts if you are not making positive steps yourself. Given the opportunity I would work as well as volunteer to support wildlife. I would love to be a thorn in more politicians’ sides, the unrelenting voice for nature they don’t want to hear. I recently met with my MP and continue to write to him in support of nature and when required my MEPs too.
I think this is why I took such a dim view of George Monbiot, I read both Mark’s review of ‘Feral’ on this blog and also the shameless plug via a guest post on Martin Harper’s blog. Whilst reading Mark’s review I quickly decided that I wouldn’t be reading Feral, it sounds rubbish.
It’s extremely easy to discount efforts from the comfort of your keyboard. In fact a number of people make a habit of it! Taking the next step and writing a book about it is unbelievable! It would perhaps be more palatable if more informed and based on 25 years in conservation. After all, that is why I read Fighting for Birds.
If Mr Monbiot had applied his ‘rewilding’ principles to his garden or small landholding and successfully recorded a wealth of Butterflies (perhaps for the Big Butterfly Count) then that would be of interest, inspiring even.
I understand Mr Monbiot has a newspaper column in addition to books and also online output. What a great platform to celebrate, inform and inspire. In reading the guest post on Martin Harper’s blog I was reminded of the little (and I mean little) I have read of Jeremy Clarkson’s output. Ill informed drivel.
Here is my challenge. Take action!
Internet ‘trolls’, keyboard heroes, Mr Monbiot TAKE ACTION! Do something positive. Survey wildlife. Upset MPs. Volunteer on your local nature reserve. Fundraise. Anything!
Then write a book and maybe I’ll read it.