Sunday, 2 March 2014

UPDATE: Destruction of The Sanctuary Local Nature Reserve Changes Timetable for Local Networks

On 13th August 2013 the Moving Mountains Nature Network was "born".

We spent the first two months contacting councils in order to present our aims and take note of the constructive comment that flowed from passionate biodiversity officers across the country.

Our initial plan was to work outwards and create an increasing number of local nature networks across the country that would eventually meet to form a national network. We could then influence UK policy in order to help meet 2020 biodiversity objectives.

Each local network would serve as a catalyst, helping wildlife organisations and local groups to "turn on" local communities to nature so that parks and reserves would enjoy greater participation through volunteering and recording. By Christmas last year, we were preparing to start on the ground, with some pretty unique ideas.

Whilst constructing the networks, we were also helping to support wildlife campaigns via Twitter and it was this experience that has led to a complete change in our work plan.

It soon became apparent that only a very small percentage of the UK voting population (less than 0.02%) were actually using their power to protect nature. A very sobering thought then began to sink in. What if, whilst we are on the ground with local networks, something happens via local or central government policy that damages this work?

In November 2013, we had aired our concern over "Biodiversity offsetting", as it appeared to grant a license to trash our green spaces. After helping the RSPB campaign regarding CAP reform, we went on to support a petition to make the destruction of ecosystems across Europe illegal ("End Ecocide"). Less than 20,000 in the UK supported this campaign. The final blow came, when, despite all efforts by a tireless group of warriors in Derby, The Sanctuary LNR fell to a planning application that succeeded despite the reserve's Natural England designation, promises made when the status was first given, and the rich variety of wildlife species present at the site.

As if it were a sign, I then received an image of a new housing estate on the outskirts of Dundee, and was asked whether, what was left of the City's green belt could be saved. It was sickening to feel that whilst nature had no strong voice, there could be no guarantees at all.

So, after a period of deliberation a decision was made. Work on local networks would be suspended until June. We are concentrating all of our efforts on creating change ahead of the local elections in May. With Badger culling, HS2, and a judicial review in respect of The Sanctuary LNR ahead whilst green belt remains under constant threat, we want to throw all energy at our "Action UK" campaign

Badgers have suffered, Skylarks have been evicted (and offered scrubland!!) and a massive scar is planned along the centre of England. Green belt remains under constant threat. Nature seems to have NO protection! 

In one month, however, over 2000 passionate wildlife lovers have assembled on twitter, forming a team that wants to create change. Moving Mountains Nature Network now has almost 12000 followers across twitter. If the "Action UK" following increases to 10,000 by May then our team can reach well over 5 million accounts with their messages. The Green Party have been extremely supportive too. We are also forming partnerships within the business community.

A charity walk will now take place at the start of May in the West Midlands, ahead of the elections. The publicity that this event attracts will be used as a platform to inform voters about the state of nature, and why it is important to protect it. Our "Action UK" team will have formed a single loud voice for nature that WILL be heard (A MASSIVE thank you to all those that are helping to raise awareness of this. To get involved follow @MMNNActionUK on Twitter and use these instructions to enhance your power to protect!).

The charity walk will focus on one wildlife site, which will be used to illustrate the challenges that wildlife faces, and the benefits that we can enjoy by respecting and looking after nature.

As soon as the elections are over, we will turn immediately to the completion of our local networks. These networks will be far more secure, if they are supported by our "battle-ready" amazing "Action UK" team.

Our local networks will reward wildlife-friendly businesses, promote healthy local produce, and will encourage uptake of green technology to produce beautiful sustainable communities. Our networks will "Lock on" to local councils, the Wildlife Trusts and other nature organisations, and serve as a catalyst to increase the level of wildlife recording and volunteering on parks and reserves.

The "green-print" for our Moving Mountains Local Nature Networks, will be unveiled after we have shared minds with a group of individuals and organisations, that we feel hold the keys to a bright future for nature and UK society.

In the meantime, please join our "Action UK" team on Twitter. We will be creating a Facebook page and a weekly newsletter via e-mail to widen this campaign.

Oh and as always....get browsing down the right-hand side of this blog to find the UK's amazing wildlife organisations. You can find out how to join them, make a donation or volunteer for them, which will all help to get Mother Nature smiling again!!

Thank you.

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