In appreciation of Dr Trevor Dines of Plantlife

Trevor Dines. Photo: Plantlife

I was driving along a motorway yesterday morning (as I was on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday too, and as I will be later today) and listening to Today on BBC Radio 4.

My journey was greatly enhanced by listening to Trevor Dines from Plantlife, talking to Martha Kearney about meadows. You can hear what he said on the BBC iPlayer 1hr 43mins into the programme.

There are two things about radio interviews: what did the person say and how did they say it.

Trevor talked about the loss of meadows in the countryside and about the fact that rewilding won’t work everywhere for everything particularly plants) and all that was skilfully done.

But it is the way that Trevor speaks that is so impressive. He sounds as though he is a nice bloke who is having a chat to a million and more people individually; sharing his knowledge and his enthusiasm willingly. He does not sound, as so many from conservation organisations do, like a corporate spokesperson who has got their list of three points that they must get out on air, come what may. He sounds authentic.

I’ve met Trevor only once or twice but I well remember a quite wonderful and perfectly-judged speech he made at this event at the Royal Society in September 2016 where although he was on stage alongside Sir David Attenborough and the new Secretary of State for Defra his was the most memorable speech of the day. Plantlife are lucky to have him.

Whenever I get the opportunity to listen to Trevor Dines I take it (could we hear him more often please?) because he is, these days, for what it’s worth, and in my opinion, the very best wildlife NGO spokesperson out there.

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5 Replies to “In appreciation of Dr Trevor Dines of Plantlife”

    1. Mary – and whereas I’m just a listener, you actually know what you are talking about having made loads of radio programmes! Thank you.

  1. He was also involved in an absolute gem of a series called ‘Wild’ Things’ on Channel 4 a few years ago. This was about the distribution and ecology of native and non native plants in the UK. What I loved most about it was that it didn’t try to apologise about being interested in plants, no jokey references to being ‘geeks’ or ‘nerds’ (why aren’t those terms never used for people obsessed with soap operas or celebrity news BTW?). A few months ago I managed to get an old copy of the book that went with the series from my library for 50p. Being an aspiring naturalist and Scottish this was heaven! Just off to listen now, ‘Wild Things’ is well worth catching too.

    1. “no jokey references to being ‘geeks’ or ‘nerds’ (why aren’t those terms never used for people obsessed with soap operas or celebrity news BTW?).”

      I’ve often wondered why some people who do nothing more than watching tv or going out and getting pissed feel entitled to demand that those who actively pursue an interest such as wildlife should ‘get a life’.

      1. Strange I can’t recall any time in my childhood when I was ridiculed for being into wildlife. It’s when I became an adult that I’d get the occasional snide remark from co workers who didn’t like anybody in anyway different from them – the way it was supposed to be at school. Far worse on two occasions I’ve been deep in conversation with someone in a highly responsible position who had no idea that I was fascinated by nature and they were quite open in their ridicule of people who were. I kept tight lipped and said nothing. One was the driving force behind a multi, multi million pound lottery funded tourist draw that in its big presentation for public support in our town hall said it would incorporate wildlife conservation and education. It got the money, we didn’t get the wildlife anything. The other was the director of an organisation that awarded grants. Twelve years later I saw his organisation admit at a parliamentary event that until now they hadn’t done much to support biodiversity….surprise, surprise! How many good conservation projects never got a look in for well over a decade because of his attitude? He certainly looked very crestfallen that day, finally had to do something he didn’t want to clearly. There are those who pay the barest lip service to conservation and get away with it. We really need to stick up for ourselves far more, we’re brushed off much too easily. There are too many Therese Coffeys about where they shouldn’t be.

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