Future of this blog

In about two months’ time this blog will downsize considerably, for at least several months but quite possibly for ever. I’ve said this several times but, perfectly reasonably, not everyone reads every post here every day!

I’ve been told I won’t do this, that I shouldn’t do this and that I mustn’t do this, but mostly people have wished me well for all the ways that I intend to fill the time freed up by spending far less time blogging – thank you.

I’ve had some interesting offers on helping to keep the blog going – and I’ll discuss them with the relevant people. If you have any constructive suggestions along those lines then I’m open to consider them – but those options need to allow me to cut my own blogging time very considerably (so volunteering to do some work might work better than anything else – but I would have to trust you). And no, I’m not interested in monetising this blog (partly because it’s a ghastly word, and partly because this is a labour of love, a way of putting something back into nature conservation).

I’ve decided to keep going with book reviews and they will appear uninterrupted through the rest of this year (God willing!).

Why two months’ time? Because then I will have been blogging here (with the help of many other contributors) for a whole decade. That’s a fair stint (as Temminck once said) and I am fairly amazed that during that period the readership has grown steadily. It is fair to say that there is nothing very similar to this blog anywhere else in the UK that provides news and expert commentary across a similarly large range of conservation issues, with a mixture of images, poems, guest blogs and cartoons. I wish there were someone else doing this – then I could read their blog!

How am I going to spend the time freed up? I will spend more time walking around Stanwick Lakes this spring, I will grow tomatoes, I will write a book and start some others, I will happily devote more time to the growing work of Wild Justice and continue to devote time to being Chair of the World Land Trust. And I might snooze more in the afternoons.


47 Replies to “Future of this blog”

  1. I fully understand your wish to de- blog Mark. It must be hard work and time consuming just when you want to do other things. However your blog has achieved great things. For example it has very greatly increased public awareness of the wide variety of abuses that come from Driven Grouse Shooting. Besides this, much greater public awareness, I think there is now a real momentum towards eventually banning this very nasty blood sport and it’s wholesale abuses. Your blog is almost totally responsible for this change of attitude.
    Without your blog in some form we may lose this momentum. I also think a blog is often better at sending the message across than a book that perhaps fewer people read.
    With its rapid response your blog is also a very good informer of general wildlife and environmental news and issues. It would be a great shame to lose it.
    So why not revert to say, a weekly blog or if someone else that you know could take on most of the blogging role either work with him/her in a joint role or delegate certain activities to them.
    Surely there are ways and means of giving you more time for other things but at the same time “keeping on air”.
    However very best wishes on whatever you decide. The important thing is that, with your skills and knowledge, you remain at the heart of campaigning for a much better deal for nature and our wildlife.
    With this lot at Defra in Westminster heaven knows they need it.

    1. You don’t need to keep this on air but you do need to ensure that the void it leaves is filled by something of equal weight. You also need to ensure that there is no opportunity by the opposition to declare victory at your disappearance. That would set things back quite a bit too.

      After all that, you’re free to go. I will miss it however, it gave everybody the sense that something could be done. Don’t underestimate that.

      Also it’s about time that Wild Justice blog got somebody writing for it. That would be a nice transfer of responsibilities. It offers a good transition path since it sends a strong message that something that started as a “one man with a vision” kind of thing now has strong support and the muscle to go with it.

    2. I’d mainly just like to echo exactly what my namesake has just said. Your blog has provided information and inspiration in equal measure to me and numerous others for years, and IMO has become a really important and influential component in the conservation effort.
      I can only guess at the huge effort and commitment that has gone into producing it year in, year out, and I fully understand your wish to devote more time to other things. I will be very sad to see it either disappear or even be diminished in any way – it would be a considerable loss to me personally and the conservation movement more widely.
      If it’s not too presumptuous, might I perhaps draw a parallel with another of my favourite blogs, that relates to one of my other obsessions – climate change. For about 15 years one of the most popular, trusted and influential blogs has been the Arctic Sea Ice blog, run by a guy called Neven Curlin. This became an invaluable source of data and opinion with a large following among professionals and interested laypeople around the world. However, it took an increasing toll on its founder, both by the sheer workload and the often depressing nature of the content – a good, if slightly dated, summary is given here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/11/30/he-created-a-beloved-blog-about-the-melting-arctic-but-it-got-harder-and-harder-to-write/
      Neven has now drastically reduced his own input to the project, but the blog survives and is in rude health. A group of regular contributors provide nearly all the content and handle the moderation and administration duties, and the blog has lost little of its influence and respect.
      I don’t know if this has any relevance to ‘Standing up for Nature’?

    3. I have been blogging for nature since I read your book of that name 2011(ish).

      I would never have done it at the time without that nudge. I have also been a guest blog on here.

      So you have been a model for me and multiples of others. I know you know how many of us appreciate what you do and wish you well. Looking forward to the odd
      soupçon in the future

  2. Yes it must be time to move on Mark, I remember thinking when you left RSPB where of course you had a blog for a considerable time if your talents and work ethic would be used as much after leaving. Well looking back now how silly was that you have carved out great new career and for sure your talents will be used to the full for the benefit of wildlife and if you do manage more relaxing time then you have certainly earnt it.
    Maybe it is a good chance for one or some of the great young naturalists to take the chance and replace your blog.
    Best wishes for the future.

    1. Dennis – you’ve been reading my stuff for a very long time. You need a break as well as me. Thank you.

  3. You must do what is best for you.
    I’ll miss it if it goes but I’ve really appreciated it while it was there.
    I originally found it after I was given “Message to Martha” as a xmas present.

  4. I can understand your decision and respect it. For the largest part, I also agree with Alan. Your blog has quite simply been a ‘go to’ place to read objective and reasoned commentary on so many important issues surrounding conservation. It also holds Defra and not so Natural England to account on so many levels, that us mere mortals would otherwise be blissfully unaware of.
    I rather suspect your mind is made-up, so my thoughts are merely a personal expression of sadness and loss that your imminent departure from the blog produces.
    Whatever your path in the future, I wish you well and success. I will miss your direct and inimitable style of keeping us so well informed.

    1. We join you, Peter, in all you say here.

      Mark, Animal Interfaith Alliance has tried to support you et al on many vital issues and we shall miss you, but hopefully stay in touch.

      There’s plenty for all of us to do in many spheres – and I’m sure we shall.

  5. Ideally the blog continues, but with more support from more people in terms of running and maintaining it, it’s not fair it falls on one person and becomes a bit of a ball and chain to them, but a resource for everyone else to dip into when convenient. I’m enormously grateful for having somewhere I can spout off incessantly about double standards and general inaction re deadwood conservation, non native invasive shrubs having been and still being used as game cover, lack of any major conservation organisation pushing upland eco-restoration as a brilliant way to combat flooding to the general public etc, etc, etc. That, however, means I’m dependent on the voluntary effort of someone else who might just possibly need a break from reviewing them before ‘publication’ for the quadzillionth time. If what continues can still post guest blogs that would be brilliant, but if anything your announcement today is actually overdue. We’ve been enormously lucky to have had this blog for so long, there’s nothing like it – maybe some of us can try starting our own ventures in a similar vein?

    1. So there’s someone else out there annoyed by deadwood … my bugbear is the amount of felled trees lying on the ground due to overzealous safety concerns. I wonder how many ash trees are being felled when not necessary or when the height could be reduced to leave a monolith

      1. Within a two mile radius of my flat there were THREE separate locations that were the subject of public consultations exercises which led to dead trees being cut up/down because some people didn’t think they looked very nice. No one even tried to point out to them that dead trees are extremely important for conservation purposes. The politics of public consultation triumph over public education yet again. I am writing a blog about this at the moment.

  6. Mark,.
    After ten years I can fully understand your feelings with this. You are leaving this on a high and it must be difficult to see how it can keep developing over the next ten years. WJ is the obvious way to take this forward and the success of that has come about mainly from awareness created by this blog and a couple of others such as raptor persecution.

    Keep up the good work with WJ and I hope still with a few entries on Twitter to keep us all looking in the right direction.

    Best wishes for the future.


  7. I’ll be sad to see this blog’s output reduced, let alone disappear, but you don’t owe us anything and are quite entitled to do other things with your life – especially as some of those “other things” are pretty important too. I’m just immensely grateful and impressed you’ve kept it up so long.

    However I can’t help thinking that the picture on this blog looks like one you’d put on a dating site… looking very charming, flattering lighting, perhaps a picture that’s few years old… Do you have other plans for for your new free time?!!!

  8. Nooo! We’ll miss you, as others have said, your punditry and sharp shooting is unique, powerful and very helpful! Thanks and best to you for developing other endeavours.

  9. In a way your thought provoking blog helped to create the scope for Wild Justice. Therefore as long as we, and more importantly our adversaries, continue to hear your informed views and are held to account via Wild Justice, then you have my permission to move on!

    This blog will be sorely missed but congratulations on all you have achieved. If you could find a home for Tim Melling’s stunning photos at WJ, I for one would be grateful.

    Well done Mark and thank you.

  10. I shall miss this blog greatly if it goes and whilst it will leave a small hole in my daily morning routine, I can’t say I blame you for wanting to take your foot off the blogging pedal. Nor can I fault you for wanting to devote more time to your sterling work for Wild Justice which you must find enormously satisfying.

    I’m extremely grateful to you for hosting this blog so well over the last decade Mark, thank you ever so much.

  11. Having been involved in numerous voluntary endeavours I know how hard it is to let go, but it is better that you choose when to move on. Your blog has been an inspiration to me and I am in awe of your output. I really hope you enjoy having the time to do other things – you have earned it!

  12. 7am; make cup of tea
    7:05, check phone for news across the world
    7:07, check phone for news in Scotland
    7:10, check Mark Avery Blog – and read before going back to any news items.

    I know this is ‘Not About Me’ but what am I going to do?

    1. Bimbling -well, I’ll be writing a book for you to buy (yopu could read it too), or helping craft a law suit or a campaign for you to support so that’ll help, surely?

  13. All the best Mark, whatever you choose to do, but for all you have done and will continue to do. I hope you will still have a presence on “twitter” but as with most things it is important to spend time doing what you wish to do and enjoying time with family and friends. Best regards Andy

  14. I quite often disagree with Mark and am regularly irritated by this blog – but that’s as it should be.

    The great thing is that its creator is forthright – not mealy-mouthed and tepid in the way that characterises the output of some (too many) other bloggers.

    The blog fills a crucial niche where, alas, there might now be a vacuum.

    Who now will keep Whitehall and Natural England on their toes? And the RSPB, the BTO and the wildlife trusts? And the Press?

    On the plus side, downsizing does not necessarily mean extinction. It leaves the way open for upsizing, finger crossed, at a future date.

    In the meantime, Mark, are you going to give us a clue about the subject(s) of your next book(s)?

  15. I don’t know how you have kept it up for so long. I write the blog for our ringing group – and that is hard enough going, just once a week (when we aren’t locked down).

    I am sure we will read all about your continuing exploits in the totally unbiased accounts we will get from the hunting, shooting and illegal wildlife persecution lobby!

    Good luck and thanks for all of the good reads you have given.

  16. “Temminck once said…fair stint!” Oh dear.

    It has been a stellar egalitarian effort, greatly appreciated and highly effective.

  17. “And I might snooze more in the afternoons.”
    Do. It’s great for the general health.
    Many thanks for a decade of your well worked, hard worked weblog. May it somehow drift on, even if slightly submerged — to continue as a valuable perching and meeting place for honest news, ideas and thoughts migrating back and forth across the world.

  18. Wow a decade of quality blogging, well done Sir!

    You’ve been so inspirational to me, you were my first follower on Twitter (I have no idea why?) That was in 2013, sorry to admit I didn’t know who you were then, but your blogs soon brought me up to speed, and I’ve gone on to do things I would never have dreamed of before that date. Like organising Hen Harrier Day Midlands and my current project, who’d of bloody though it, certainly not me, so thank-you for that.

    I am just writing my 3rd blog, and understand the effort that goes into writing them, it doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’m beginning to get to grips with it! I’ll certainly miss the humour and wit you bring with your writing. Your blog and campaigning has been instrumental in bringing change, and feel it would be a sad day if you were not able to find a way for it to continue in some form or another.

    WJ has gone from strength to strength, and long may that continue, but there are only so many hours in a day and sometimes we have to let go of things to focus on the things that make life pleasurable . Of course we all know you won’t be far away, you can’t be, you’ve got far too much to be getting on with 🙂

    Enjoy doing whatever you decide
    p.s. sow those tomato seeds now!!

  19. Sorry to hear this news, Mark, but fully understand the time it takes to write the blogs and to manage the site. I have enjoyed reading the blogs over the years and more than once suggested you move into politics. Either way, perhaps more time to come and see the sea eagle on the Wight!

  20. Mark, I shall miss your writing tremendously, but understand your need for time to concentrate on other things. Your blog has provided me with an invaluable source of trusted information about what’s happening in conservation (or what isn’t, but should be, happening!). Without it, and your willingness to say it as it is, it would have proved difficult to understand the big picture.
    You must be a magnificent worry and deterrent to those who might otherwise hope to ‘get away’ with certain things… Long may you continue doing this with your WJ hat on!
    Thank you!

  21. I will miss the blog very much because it stirred and steered my thoughts back to wildlife whenever I read it. I will keep up through Wild Justice, I hope for years to come or until Wildlife has justice. Best wishes from me

  22. Mark, I will certainly miss your blog when it closes. It’s the first thing I read when I log on and I’m continually amazed by the range of subjects you cover. However, both myself and Sue would like to thank you for your work in protecting hen harriers. We were two of the sodden 570 at the first hen harrier day and we got the feeling then that it was the start of something new and worthwhile, and indeed that is how it has turned out.
    Thank you, perhaps we’ll bump into you at Stanwick or Irthlingborough Lakes sometime.

  23. I’m rather late to the party here. I’ve not been you reading your blog quite so regularly recently, but I’ll really miss it once it’s gone. No other nature conservation blog comes close, which speaks volumes for what you’ve done over the last decade.

    Happy snoozing! Although I’m sure you’ll be as active as ever, just in other ways.

  24. Big decision Mark but as others have said, it’s about what’s best for you. You inspired me to get active & do something about the issues I care about, and for that I will always be grateful. I wish you well & will continue to support you & your work where ever I can. Massive thank you for this blog & all the work you do.

  25. Thanks for all you have done with this Mark. Without fail I have encouraged/cajoled my students to use your blog as the optimum springboard to elevating their understanding of the myriad of conservation issues they need to take on board. They and I will miss you – but good luck and thanks again!

  26. Your consistent commitment in shining light into places many people don’t want anyone to look is just phenomenal… this blog is crucial to getting the news and insights out to many many people who care deeply about our environment. 10 years is a huge commitment and so many people will be thanking you for all the hard yards you have done. It’s so important to keep this going through either a shared editorial panel with multiple contributors etc – Thank you for everything – it cant have been easy. Hopefully it’s Caio not Goodbye to the blog.

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