NGO letter prompted May to go to the country

Last week, 11 environmental NGOs wrote to TM the PM and then she called a general election.


Here is the letter:

Dear Prime Minister,

We are alarmed by recent media reports suggesting that the UK’s commitments to tackling climate change and ending the illegal wildlife trade could be watered down to secure post-Brexit trade deals.

The UK Government has repeatedly promised to leave the environment in a better state for future generations, and the majority of Conservative voters support maintaining environmental protections.

We are already seeing the effects of climate change in the UK and globally, especially on the world’s poorest people.  Many countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia are wildlife-rich and among those on the front line of climate change, and want to develop their economies sustainably.  In the UK, the State of Nature report showed that more than half of our wildlife is in decline.  

To be a great, global trading nation, the UK must deliver on its promises for the environment and the climate and honour our international commitments.  In doing so we will help build a greener, better and more prosperous future for everyone, rather than driving an environmental race to the bottom.

         Yours sincerely


Signed by WWF, Born Free Foundation,  CAFOD, Christian Aid, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Green Alliance, Oxfam GB, RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts and a whole bunch of celebrities.

It’s good to see joint action, but it’s a slightly odd letter isn’t it? It starts by focussing on climate change and illegal trade and ends by suggesting that to be a great trading nation (whatever that is) we must honour our international environmental commitments (which seems unlikely to be true to me). Surely we should honour our international commitments because we are the type of people who keep our word? And there is a random reference to the State of Nature report (to get RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts on board?).

I’m a bit old-fashioned in thinking that such letters ought to have an argument and a point.  This one is muddled. OK for mood music but doesn’t appear as though this group of organisations have a clear or agreed agenda, just that they put something together without too much thought because it’s more important to get several names on board than that the letter makes sense.  Still, it does seem to have prompted a general election.




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10 Replies to “NGO letter prompted May to go to the country”

  1. I suspect, given May's hostility to our wildlife, they thought it better to deal in vague suggestions rather than absolute specifics, but it is an odd mish-mash of a letter.

  2. Agree Mark. And also a muddled, non-reference to foreign aid. Which generally has negative environmental impacts (except WWF and Oxfam handle quite a bit). And the old oxymoron of "developing economies sustainably". Easy to do for the economy, but the natural environment will not be sustainable. What a mess! But that's what you get if you try and get an environmental policy involving religious charities, tennis players, aid charities, bishops, animal welfare and conservation charities, some of which have little or no expertise on the topics concerned.

  3. Mark, always enjoy reading your blogs. Agreed it reads like a letter written by committee. Not an easy job though getting so many diverse NGOs to put their signatures to something. The celebrities in question are "well-known advocates for the environment Andy Murray, Deborah Meaden, Alistair McGowan and Will Young". So tennis, dragons, impressionists and musicians are well represented! If you are writing to the PM you need to have a very clear ask. This lacks that. As a follow up they should write again to each party leader saying we are writing on behalf of X million people and asking him/her to adopting specific policies in their party manifestos. That may have more impact.

    1. Alistair McGowan to be fair has been genuinely pro environment and conservation for a long time now. A pretty deep and thoughtful guy - but yes a muddled letter and your suggestion re follow up is spot on.

  4. Interestingly just seen its been signed by Stanley Johnson. Given the general election has been called so government ministers are not doing their day jobs they may have done better simply going to Boris.

  5. NGOs can warn the Government all they like about an "environmental race to the bottom". The fact is they've failed to build a bridge between huge public interest in Attenborough, Springwatch et al and meaningful political action on behalf of wildlife and the environment.

    TM the PM knows that whatever people may say while sat on their sofa, they aren't motivated to - or maybe don't feel they have the opportunity to - act on behalf of the wildlife they enjoy watching in the comfort of their home.

    As for the letter itself, someone once said: "The most effective committees consist of no more than three people - at least two of whom are absent."

  6. With letters like this, I think one of the greatest threats to the planet is the environmental NGOs. Can they please focus on what really matters, what real damage is being done to the environment, rather than on money-making groundless catastrophism.

  7. It sucks my blood off if I still see rich and powerful deniying climate change with all the evidence in front of them,because of their selfish ends.yes this letter to the mrs may is a step in the right direction.treat the natural world properly and we humans also have a future.we co exist.

    1. Very few people deny climate change, but there are many distinguished scientists who would question what the main causes are. So why is your "blood being sucked off"?
      If an NGO campaigns hard on many issues, some of which are clearly not justified (to me and many top scientists), it discredits all the other good things they campaign for, and so becomes a huge distraction.
      Conversely, I rather like what Trump intends to do about climate change funding. But when I see his unhinged remarks about vaccination, making a huge fuss about 1 person being shot in Paris, when the average number of folk shot in the US is 44 per day I come to think that he has the right answer on climate change, but probably for the wrong reasons.

  8. More likely it was this:


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