I have just been reading Jay Griffith’s latest book ‘Kith’, in which she urges us not to lose sight of our relationship with nature and our connectedness with the earth:
“Land can make someone who they are, can create their psyche, giving them fragments of themselves… shatter the relation to the land and you can shatter personalities”
Common Cause for Nature (CCfN) brings the same plea centre stage as a means to guide the conservation sector in their task of championing, protecting and restoring the environment that is our home. Demonstrating the importance of nurturing intrinsic values, which foster care for others of every species, ‘Common Cause…’ provides an important caution against the ever increasing reliance we now place in economic value and market solutions. Read more
We in the West are living in an age of food plenty: faced with dizzying choice in our supermarket aisles, with foods from across the globe available – whatever the season – at prices that would have been unthinkable 50 years ago. How do we navigate this? What guides our decision to pick one product over another, or to forgo some foods altogether? And how much can our own personal choices really affect the way the food system works?
When it comes to the big issues we are concerned about, be it animal welfare, climate change, or health and nutrition, there is only so much that our individual shopping choices can do. The responsibility lies also, and sometimes more so, with the powers that structure the food industry. In the UK, for example, we generate about 16 million tonnes of food waste a year, but 60% of this occurs in the supply chain, before it even reaches our shelves. So the power we wield with our shopping baskets, in cases like this, is somewhat limited. However, if we understand what motivates our food choices, on our own and as a society, we can get a better understanding of what’s accentuating those bigger problems we care about. And this will hopefully give us a better idea of how we can be more effective at making the changes we’d like to see. Read more
This is a guest post by Jon Alexander of the National Trust.
The lessons for the conservation movement held within Common Cause for Nature are deep and many. But I would argue the most important is the simplest of all, and comes before you get beyond the cover. It is the title – Common Cause for Nature. This is a call to arms to all of us who work in this space not just to work and campaign separately on our own specific ‘bits’, but far more importantly, to get beyond those bits and work together to create a proactive, persuasive, powerful whole. Read more
The Common Cause for Nature report highlights the importance of both talking about and experiencing nature in motivating people to support the environmental agenda. We asked author of Silent Spring Revisited and Looking for the Goshawk Conor Mark Jameson to write something about the importance of connecting with nature. He found inspiration from nature in an unlikely suburban setting, via YouTube.
I’m not sure why I laughed so much when I saw Fenton the black labrador in what is by now a legendary piece of amateur footage. It has even gone viral, viewed about 10 million times on the internet. In fact I’m not sure it’s even right to laugh at it, but laugh I – and so many others – obviously have. I’m not actually sure why it’s even funny. I’ve been trying to analyse the reasons. Read more
Common Cause for Nature highlights the importance of frames in motivating support for wildlife and the environment, and discusses dominant frames in nature conservation. Here, Nadine Andrews discusses her own research on people’s personal frames around their own relationship with nature.
Scholars like George Lakoff, John S Dryzek, Brendon Larson and Arran Stibbe have analysed political and environmental science discourse. A dominant frame is nature as a useful resource which is there to be exploited for human benefit. Its value is not intrinsic but instrumental. Read more
For the launch of the Common Cause for Nature report Ralph Underhill explores the endless ways we can get in touch with nature.
“Gonna get myself connected
I ain’t gonna go blind
For the light which is reflected”
Frankly I have no idea what the origins of this song are but it is just possible that the Stereo MCs were motivated to write this classic after the feeling of connection produced by a chance meeting with a pine marten on a forestry path in the Cairngorms. Read more
Creating and maintaining a sustainable, wildlife-rich world requires active, concerned citizens and a political system capable of rising to the challenge. Governments, businesses and the public will need the space and motivation to make the right choices. The UK conservation sector is large and well-resourced yet, as the recent State of Nature report attests, biodiversity is still in decline. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.
Where is the public concern and political will to address these issues?
In 2012, thirteen UK conservation organisations – including WWF-UK, the John Muir Award, RSPB and CPRE – came together to commission an analysis of the values they promote in their work. Led by PIRC, academic researchers from Lancaster University, Royal Holloway, and Essex University carried out innovative linguistic analysis of six months of external communications of these organisations. The analysis was supplemented by interviews, surveys and workshop discussion with those in the conservation sector. Today sees the release of the resulting report. Read more
“Immigration is like trade. It makes us rich” – The Times (paywall), May 27th 2013
“Immigrants: don’t you just love ‘em? They travel to Britain from far-flung lands, coming here to toil away in our shops and offices and homes, paying their taxes and generally making us all better off.” – The Telegraph, June 13th 2013.
On the Australian campaign website, Kick a Migrant, you’re encouraged to chuck an immigrant into the sea (“as far as you can”). I’ve just hurled Kumar into the shark-infested sea, screaming. As soon as he hits the water, I’m confronted by a box condemning what I’ve done: Kumar was a scout-leading, local employment-improving, community man. But totally overshadowing this is a big, bold, red dollar sign and a large negative number: what I’ve cost the Australian economy by kicking Kumar out. Subversive, I think.
Immigration is a regular hot potato. It’s surrounded by economic myths: immigrants cost the health service millions, “they” are taking “our” jobs, they’re claiming loads of benefits and taking “taxpayers’ money”. But recent figures from the OECD show that – much like the Australian campaign – immigration has provided net economic gain for the UK. Great. I guess we can all stop arguing about it, and Nigel Farage will go away and leave us in peace? Sadly, I think there are five reasons why not. Read more