Loads of money!

I see that I started being a Blackwell’s affiliate in March 2017 – about 18 months ago. If you buy books from Blackwell’s using the links in my posts (mostly in book reviews) then I’ll get a small cut of what you spend.  That’ll obviously be nice for me and it may allow you to avoid spending your money with Amazon and thereby adding to the income of the Church Commissioners.

I was prompted to look up the time I started this as I’ve just had my first payment – of £30.61. Not a life-changing sum, but very welcome all the same. And the product of very little work on my part.

Thank you to all who have used the link so far, and here it is if you want to give it a try.


If it goes on like this then after another four years I will have recouped my £100 donation to Chris Packham’s Walk for Wildlife. Chris’s crowdfunder isn’t zooming along at the moment so it looks like he will be digging deep in his own pocket to fund this event. Help out if you can please.


#PeoplesManifestoforWildlife – what they say

  • the Countryside Alliance don’t like it – although there is no indication of what they think is wrong with the document except that Chris Packham had a lot to do with it! Both Tim Bonner and Liam Stokes took to Twitter to be snide about Chris (and I guess the rest of the contributors, but it’s mostly Chris). 
  • The Guardian
  • The Independent
  • The Express
  • ITV
  • RSPB – ‘a remarkable and provocative read’, ‘if many of these recommendations were implemented then we would be able to restore what we have lost (or as Chris says destroyed)’, ‘Many of the ideas were either new or felt fresh perhaps because of the context in which they are presented’.
  • Wildlife Trusts – ‘200 ideas for creating a Wilder Britain, including many supported by  Wildlife Trusts’.
  • WWF-UK – ‘Thought-provoking proposals in Chris Packham’s #PeoplesManifestoForWildlife. Great to see a call for an #EnvironmentAct to restore habitats and species, and for an independent watchdog post-Brexit.’
  • Sue Hayman, Labour Shadow Defra – ‘Hoping to meet @ChrisGPackham soon to discuss the #PeoplesManifestoForWildlife and how we tackle habitat loss and species decline across the UK. Nature and the environment must be central to decision making.’
  • Caroline Lucas, Green Party – ”Essential reading for Michael Gove.’ and ‘This is the kind of exciting (and beautiful) action plan our Govt should be championing.’.
  • Michael Gove, Conservative (quoted in Guardian) – ‘Chris Packham and his colleagues have successfully motivated the public to get behind many of these issues. Through our schools we can develop the next generation of environmentally aware citizens and ensure wildlife and the natural world is protected.’
  • the BBC… not news apparently.

So it is a bit strange that the BBC are ignoring it when other media outlets are covering the Manifesto in some detail, the major (and many less major) wildlife NGOs are making sure they say good things about it, politicians are taking notice of it and only (?) the Countryside Alliance hates it for some inchoate ‘reason’ which appears to be more personal than objective. 


Listen #ThePeoplesManifestoforWildlife

You can listen to several of the authors of chapters in The People’s Manifesto for Wildlife on the LUSH Soapbox in a podcast by Charlie Moores.

The voices are :

  • Chris Packham
  • Maya-Rose Craig
  • Carol Day
  • Amy-Jane Beer
  • Bella Lack
  • Dominic Dyer
  • Miles King
  • Dave Goulson
  • Ruth Peacey
  • myself

Is this the wildlife manifesto for you?

Is this the wildlife manifesto you’ve been looking for?

Ahead of the Walk for Wildlife in Hyde Park on Saturday – assemble from 10am, chat and music midday-1pm and then a stroll down to Downing St –  Chris Packham and friends have produced a Manifesto for Wildlife.

Although I am one of the authors (I wrote a few words about the uplands) I hadn’t seen the full, illustrated version until yesterday morning.  I was trying to read it on my phone while heading into London on the train.

Considering that it’s been written by a bunch of busy people, as a favour to Chris and in the hope that it will set an agenda for a better future for wildlife, and in a very short period of time, it’s pretty good.  At least I think it’s pretty good but what do you think?

You’ll notice that it is described as Draft 1 – I can imagine it will be tweaked, enlarged and expanded over time. But what do you think?

Calling this document a manifesto is quite appropriate. I’d vote for this, as a package, way ahead of what any political party will offer us at the next general election even though there are some bits I like more than others.  Some of ‘our’ ideas are everybody’s ideas (they may well turn up in the election manifestos of several political parties), some of our ideas are accepted by many wildlife NGOs,  some of our ideas are very new.  Have a look and tell us what you think.

There are gaps in the coverage of issues, but these can be filled, there are minor contradictions in the document between different authors (but no serious ones that I have spotted) and there are, no doubt, other ricks and glitches.  But still, I think it’s pretty good, and a serious contribution to the debate – but what do you think?

This manifesto was edited by three men of letters (and other skills and attributes); Chris himself, Patrick Barkham and Rob Macfarlane.

The authors are:

  • Mark AVERY
  • Amy-Jane BEER
  • Jill BUTLER
  • Mya-Rose CRAIG
  • Carol DAY
  • Dominic DYER
  • Dave GOULSON
  • Miles KING
  • Bella LACK
  • Georgia LOCOCK
  • George MONBIOT
  • Ruth PEACEY
  • Robert SHELDON
  • Ruth TINGAY
  • Hugh WARWICK

There are contributions from others and the delightful artwork is by Harry Woodgate.

There will be a few thousand free copies available at Hyde Park on Saturday.


National Trust press release

Globally endangered Large Blue butterfly enjoys best numbers for 80 years

Large Blue Butterfly. Photo: NT/Matthew Oates

A previously extinct butterfly has had its best summer on record with the south west of England recognised as having the highest numbers anywhere in the world.

The exquisite Large Blue Butterfly – officially recognised as having died out in the UK in 1979 – has become synonymous with Collard Hill, Somerset since being reintroduced in 2000.

And this year, thanks to three consecutive years of optimal weather conditions and important conservation work by the National Trust, Somerset Wildlife Trust, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and Butterfly Conservation and the Royal Entomological Society, numbers have hit a record high.

The butterfly – which contrary to its name, is actually relatively small in size – was recorded at 40 sites across the country in June and July with three key nature reserves, two in Somerset and one in the Cotswolds, found to support 85 per cent of the UK population.

Its population is believed to have doubled in the last year alone at Collard Hill in Somerset, cared for by the National Trust, with this 17.4 hectare (43 acre) site providing the perfect habitat and conditions to support 22 per cent of the UK’s population.

Creating the ideal habitat for the Large Blue at Collard Hill has been achieved by planting wild thyme plants and introducing ponies and cattle to carefully graze the site with help from the Trust’s tenant grazier, to manage growth.

Ian Clemmett, Lead Ranger for the National Trust’s Somerset Coast and Countryside said: “By working with our grazier we’ve been able to introduce tailor made management of the land.  The livestock carefully graze the hill in the autumn and early spring, which isn’t always easy to achieve, punctuated with a fallow period in summer that allows insects to thrive and plants to flower.

Breeding was initially confined to one corner of Collard but has now increased five-fold.

The grazing regime also helped to provide optimal conditions for the red ant Myrmica sabuleti which is vital for the butterfly’s survival.”.

The Trust also employed a volunteer ranger to help record and protect the Large Blue during its first flight. 

Professor Jeremy Thomas, Chair of the Joint Committee for the Conservation of The Large Blue Butterfly, said: “This rare butterfly is really important because it is more difficult to conserve than other butterflies due to its complex life cycle.

However, despite this summer’s record numbers, numbers next year will most certainly drop due to the drought which will have damaged the ant nests.

It is nevertheless the first butterfly in the UK to now have numbers similar to when it was previously at its peak and our approach has now become the model for insect conservation worldwide.”.

Ian concluded: ‘We’re thrilled to see such a boom in numbers thanks to the partnership work being done to improve the habitat for the Large Blue. This work is part of the National Trust’s commitment to work with its tenants and partners to reverse the alarming decline in UK wildlife, aiming to restore 25,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat by 2025.


Large Blue Butterfly. Photo: Brian Cleckner/NT