Restore Nature Now: why this march matters

With the UK being one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth, and with over 1,500 species on the brink of extinction, the time for action is now

On June 22nd, London will host the biggest gathering of people for nature and climate that the UK has ever seen. The Restore Nature Now march aims to be both a celebration of UK nature and a protest, calling for urgent political action on the nature and climate emergencies.

The Restore Nature Now march is a legal, peaceful, inclusive and family-friendly event, supported by a diverse group of dozens of wildlife and environment organisations including the RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, The Climate Coalition, WWF-UK, National Trust, WWT, Woodland Trust, Wildlife and Countryside Link, Rewilding Britain, Extinction Rebellion and Chris Packham. This is the first time that so many NGOs, grassroots organisations and individuals have all come together, under one united cause and banner.

Ahead of the July 4th UK General Election, the organisers and attendees are fully aware that the election must mark a turning point for nature, before it is too late. “With the UK being one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth, and with over 1,500 species on the brink of extinction, the time for action is now. We cannot afford to wait,” urges Will White, Sustainable Farming Coordinator at Sustain.

“Time after time, the importance of environmental protection is squeezed out of political debate in favour of short-term wrangling,” says Richard Benwell, Chief Executive of Wildlife and Countryside Link, one of the key delivery organisations behind the march. “We demand that all political parties commit to the legal protection, action and investment needed to revive our natural world.”

Politicians end up ignoring nature’s needs because louder voices and vested interests crowd out environmental sense. So let’s set the balance right. Please join us. Richard Benwell, Chief Executive of Wildlife and Countryside Link

“For too long those who care about nature have been written off as dangerous radicals or naive idealists,” says Guy Singh-Watson, founder of Riverford. “For too long, despite the science, despite the existing technical solutions, we have been told there is no alternative; that we cannot afford to act now. For too long, our leaders have played politics with our collective future.

But nature, the environment, and our future is the preserve of all; whatever your political affiliations or views, this is our and our planet’s common future. Our politicians may be divided, but we can stand together and demand environmental action, now,” says Singh-Watson.

While it’s easy to feel disheartened and disempowered by headline news and myopic politics, there is immense power in coming and marching together, under one united cause, stresses White: “The Restore Nature Now march is our chance to secure a thriving future for all. It is crucial that people come out and march to make their voices heard. Our collective presence will send a powerful message to those in power that we demand immediate and effective action to restore and protect our natural world.

A natural world of which our British farmers are the natural custodians. “With 69 per cent of the land in England being farmed, it’s clear that species decline cannot be halted without more support for nature-friendly farming. This means far more ambitious farm support, with a greater budget and easy-to-access advice and resources for farmers.

Without our farmed landscape being transformed to provide many more biodiversity benefits in field and around the farm, we will continue down the ever-steepening path of nature loss with associated threats to our food supplies, water, wildlife and wellbeing,” adds White.

Vicki Hird, Strategic Lead for Agriculture for the Wildlife Trusts, agrees: “Without this transformation in farming and land use we won’t have food security, and wildlife will continue to be harmed unnecessarily. But we know we can do both if we have the right kind and level of support,” stresses Hird, who says the following three steps are crucial in executing such a change:

“Firstly, a major increase on the current budget, to at least £4.4billion. Then, for all British farmers to deliver nature- and climate-friendly farming, everywhere, by being amply supported to diversify production and protect great British wildlife including beneficial insects, soil and water.

Crucially, part of this support for farmers can only come via a much fairer supply chain with transparent new regulations so that retailers and manufacturers do pay a fair price and don’t demand ridiculous cosmetic standards, alongside new routes to market so farmers can reach customers more directly.

And finally, we need new trade policy so our farmers and growers are not undercut by lower standard food imports,” concludes Hird.

We hope to see you on June 22, 12noon, Central London.

Information about meeting points, planned route and getting creative can be found here: https://www.restorenaturenow.com

1 Comments

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  1. I am so grateful to our environmental groups who do the hard work day in, day out, of cutting through the propaganda fog put out by the government that we’re doing great, nothing to see here. Truth is, by 2050, they could be right. Nothing to see here, indeed! No native wildflowers, bees, hedgehogs, nightingales…

    Thank you, all you who care enough to spend your Saturday speaking out for those who can’t. You will show them there is no more time for nonsense and delay. Even protecting wildlife is not enough anymore. We must adopt a wartime urgency, as we work together to restore our natural heritage. How can we call ourselves patriotic if we turn our backs on our native plants and animals?

    I wish so much I could attend physically but my disability prevents it. However, my thoughts (and donations!) go with you.

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