Thursday, 13 November 2014
Moving Mountains Nature Network
2014 Annual Report
It is with great pleasure and excitement that I present our first annual report. What makes this truly special, is the fact that our plans for the Moving Mountains Nature Network, have been influenced greatly by the results of our June 2014 Survey!
255 of YOU cared and shared your views in our first survey. Your input was so valuable to us and it is therefore wholly appropriate to start this report by saying a MASSIVE thank you to all those that got involved. You have and always will help to shape our future!
This has not been presented as a corporate-aimed report. It is a report to the people that have supported us over the past year, and those that are considering adding their voice to this rising force for positive change.
On 13th August 2013, our first batch of e-mails went out to council biodiversity teams, community groups and wildlife-bloggers. Moving Mountains Nature Network was born. The principle seemed simple; create local networks of businesses, community groups and wildlife charities around their local council green spaces, and this would rapidly connect more people to nature and increase participation with councils and wildlife charities.
We started constructing the first network in Bournemouth, whilst taking on board the feedback from our e-mail campaign. Honest submissions from biodiversity officers, wildlife groups and bloggers were giving us clear direction and things were progressing well. However we had overlooked one vital component in our network structure. Two experiences served to expose the problem and completely change our path. Firstly, we started to use our infant social media network to help raise awareness of a petition to licence upland grouse moors and game keepers (1) which would prevent wildlife crime and protect habitat . Despite the best efforts of wildlife organisations and activists across the UK, the petition only just crawled over the 10,000 signature threshold, prompting a lame response from the government. Given the fact that there are millions of members of wildlife charities in the UK, we found it astounding that only a very small percentage actually took action.
At the same time, Sanctuary Local Nature Reserve in Derby was being threatened by an application to build a cycling track on it. Despite a mass of objections to the proposal, and the availability of an alternative site, the council voted to continue with the damaging project.
The apathy and lack of awareness that “the system” had created among nature lovers, together with the complete lack of consideration for the environment by local and central government had to change.
It became immediately obvious that our local nature networks, needed a "big brother" to protect them, both as a vehicle for informing and attracting public support, but also to help change the political climate in the UK and give the wildlife charities greater support. Reluctantly, work on our local networks was therefore suspended so that we could focus our limited resources on the creation of "Action UK" (which later became "Team 4 Nature").
On the lead up to the May 2014 UK European and local elections, the Green Party, which were carrying an extremely solid and wide set of credible policies, had virtually NO media coverage at all, despite being strong in the polls. It appeared that greedy global corporations and their leaders had something to fear, if the masses got to see just how appealing green politics are in today's world.
The mainstream media seemed more focussed on filling the news with war and stirring up racial and religious hatred than focussing on events that would have a positive impact on our world. They should have learned that you can't hide a good thing forever! That was their fatal mistake, because those that saw unfairness from the Green Party exclusion, took time to read their policies and saw that they are for the "common good". We were included in that movement and in May of this year we created "Green World 2015" (2), as a DIRECT result of this unfairness. The "green surge" is now gathering momentum and people are rising to create a governance that actually cares about 99% of the population, not just the privileged and powerful few. The cat is out of the bag!
We now have a vehicle for action to protect and raise awareness of nature and the environment, together with a voice for green politics across the world! Our "Keep Britain Green" event to launch our networks has been postponed till Spring 2015, so that we can include additional elements, that have arisen as a result of your input in our survey and recent developments, which will strengthen the catalyst for positive change.
With over 60,000 followers across our twitter network, we now have a voice, but we also need the structure and policies that can deliver real support for the wildlife charities and cultural change through mobilisation that protects the beautiful world for future generations. The last forty years of destruction have left the planet on it's knees and yet very few people are aware. That has to change!
The format of this report falls in line with our survey. You will see that a lot of our policies arise directly from the views of our supporters.
1. Our Bond With Nature
We asked "What started YOUR interest in nature?";
Childhood interest 60%
A close encounter with nature 8%
Father's interest 6%
TV documentaries 6%
Mother's interest 5%
A friend led you to nature 4%
Another family member's interest 4%
A wildlife or community group 2%
The above results certainly show that the majority of people who are interested in nature started very early in life. The real concern comes from the fact that only 1% of those completing our survey, were turned on to nature through their school. Just imagine if dedicated lessons in nature, conservation and the environment had been on the national curriculum for the last 40 years, with exciting and healthy outdoor learning. Close encounters with the beauty and wonder of nature would have switched on millions of children, who would have grown up caring for our world, and that usually means that they would care for others and society. So many benefits come from sparking our natural bond with life on earth.
The wildlife charities are doing a great job encouraging young people to explore nature. Our networks will act as a catalyst that supports this work. At the same time our "Team 4 Nature" & "Green World 2015" action networks will help raise awareness of the need to get this issue high up on the political agenda. We are a part of nature and need it for OUR survival. It provides our air, water, food and well-being. If a government were against creating generations that care for our planet through education, then it seems obvious that they don't care about your family's future, and don't deserve your vote!
2. Sources of Information on Nature and the Environment
We asked "Where do you get MOST of your information from about nature and the environment?";
Social media 22%
Wildlife charities 16%
Purchase books 7%
Family or friends 3%
Your feedback clearly shows the importance of online information, with half of you surfing to obtain your information via websites and social media. It also suggests that public amenities serve little purpose in being a valued source of knowledge on nature and the environment!
That massive UK membership of wildlife charities is apparent and we were pleased to see them well placed as information providers.
We will continue to develop our presence on social media. We are on course to attract over 100,000 followers on twitter by the 2015 general elections next year, and will establish a strong voice on other platforms too in due course.
We are developing new ways of promoting the wildlife charities and will be making announcements in that regard, before our Spring 2015 local network event.
It is ironic that people cannot obtain inspiring information about nature and the environment, whilst waiting in doctor's surgeries and hospitals. If more people enjoyed the benefits of the great outdoors and it's awesome nature, as well as understanding the need for healthy air, water and food, there would be less people with ailments! Libraries remain a valuable amenity and should be protected, but often I have witnessed that their natural history sections offer little to get the kids turning off their games consoles to go and explore. Our network fund-raising events will include the creation of information points that engage the public. Any government that does not want you to access this information may well have their interests rooted in profits from global corporations rather than the health and well-being of YOUR family and the planet.
Lastly we are developing "bridges" that will serve to enhance the power of social media and the internet, so facilitating our petitioning and awareness work. We will be calling on your help soon to get this framework up and running. Mark Avery's important petition to ban driven grouse shooting will be the ideal cause to test the system! In the meantime PLEASE ALL SIGN AND SHARE this petition (3)
3. Politics - Why do we Blatantly Support the Green Party?
We asked how much you trusted each of the 5 main UK political parties to look after nature and the environment, on a scale of one (low trust) to five (high trust). Results:
1st The Green Party average score 4.142
2nd Labour " " 2.004
3rd Liberal Democrats " " 1.870
4th UKIP " ‘’ 1.636
5th Conservatives " " 1.362
The above results were, perhaps as you may already have expected? So are we supporting the Green Party SIMPLY because they are "Top of the Pops" when it comes to protecting our world? NO!!!
Our thought process runs like this:
a. Capitalism DOES NOT WORK! Earth is not a warehouse with a goods inwards and a goods outwards! There are no back doors! We only have what is already in the warehouse, plus what get's recycled. Corporations ONLY care about THEIR profit. They make goods obsolete soon after hitting the shelves so that you have to buy MORE off them. THEY get fatter in the pocket whilst the waste creates more land-fill sites and resources become scarcer. The only system that will work is a circular economy (that doesn’t just use and dispose of materials, but treats them as a scarce resources to be recycled or released without impact). In 40 years CAPITALISM has brought our precious world and the natural systems that keep us alive to their knees. Conclusion: Support OLD Labour or Green Party.
b. Power is in the hands of the 1% that control the world, using the money they have made from YOU, the 99%, the people, the masses! They can control what you watch and read, BUT they cannot control who YOU vote for (unless they use the media to stir up racial hatred so that you are brain-washed into supporting right-wing parties with no other policies). Conclusion: Support left-wing politics.
c. Where was the opposition to damaging policies like TTIP, Infrastructure Bill, HS2 (Only 10% of you support HS2. We will continue to oppose it) and Fracking (91% of you were opposed to fracking. we will continue to oppose it?) How many badgers died without a revolt ACROSS the House of Commons? (It's no good becoming greener near election time. People are not idiots and will know what you are up to!). If these parties could not fight for you and your home in opposition, then why should you trust them to represent you if they gain power? Conclusion: Support the Green Party.
d. 97% of scientists believe that climate change is man-made (4) and we are getting ever closer to a tipping point - a point of no return, where melting poles will release Methane at a level that can't be controlled. 50% of our wildlife has vanished in 40 years. We need an immediate shift to a carbon free circular economy. There is no time to vote tactically for the "lesser of two evils". The people are finding out now what's needed. They have been occupying Parliament Square in London but the media didn't want to show you that. Conclusion; support the Green Party (Only 6% of you did not believe that humans are responsible for climate change in our survey. We will therefore continue to support our followers and fight for climate action).
e. Have you noticed what effect the rise in support for the Green Party is already having? The Liberal Democrats soon came up with a Nature Bill proposal once they saw the greens preparing to overtake them in the polls! What if the Green Party received 20% of the vote (They are on 8% at present)? The media could not ignore them then! The green surge is the fastest way of saving the ”warehouse”, by creating millions of green jobs in renewable technology, sustainability and recycling. Conclusion: support the Green Party. Environmental politics would have to enter prime-time television and that would really accelerate positive change.
f. What about that party that is conveniently riding on the back of the racial hatred stirred up by the media. Is immigration an issue? Well unemployment is at it's lowest for years and the people that are competent at analysing the economy seem to think that we do rather well from immigration:
Have you ever wondered why the mainstream media have been giving so much time to this party? Conclusion: once the people realise that they have been hoodwinked into supporting a party that has already had to cancel events because of racial unrest, 18% of the vote is up for grabs!!! Conclusion: do not support UKIP (They are not "The Peoples Party" - they didn't even go and support Occupy London! (That was a protest in London that the media didn't show you, like TTIP and the issues around fracking that they haven't showed you either!))
g. Which major party has policies for people and planet (including an exciting plan to boost local economies with a circular environmentally friendly economy that will look after you, your children and their children too. There are no jobs on a dead planet!), significant support, but need a fair crack of the whip, justified by the strength of their policies? (5) Conclusion: support the Green Party
We wish to praise our supporters. Some of you raised the point that we should be more impartial, but you demonstrated that you understood why we were supporting the greens, and commented that it wasn't an issue, because people make up their own minds based on the information available. We value your support and are pleased you accept that we are raising awareness and compensating for a biased media. Thank you.
We are supporting the “green” element of other parties and will continue to do so in order to help their cause and raise green politics to the position that it deserves. Quite simply it will keep the "warehouse" full, and us all alive!
In our survey 42% of YOU did not know what "Transition Towns"(6) were. They offer a bright, sustainable future for communities and we shall be providing more awareness of them soon.
Only 56% of you knew what Permaculture was in our survey. This method of growing, farming, living and working with nature is key to our future and again, we shall try our best to do what the government and mainstream media should be doing, by raising awareness of this way of life, over the coming months.
4. Wildlife Warriors
We asked " Who would you name as the greatest wildlife warrior in the world, fighting for nature's cause? Top 5 were;
1st David Attenborough
2nd Chris Packham
3rd Anyone who fights for nature!
4th World Wildlife Fund
5th = Jane Goodhall
5th = Greenpeace
Our aim is to continue empowering people and encouraging more to join hands and work as a team in order to remove apathy and create real change. It has been a real pleasure interacting with individuals, who are using their power to protect life on earth. We shall continue to promote teamwork and support individuals who are passionate about their causes and petitions. We shall be inviting our twitter followers to send us the petitions and campaigns each week that they feel are important, so that we can support and raise awareness of them.
5. Wildlife Charities
We asked "Who would you say is the greatest wildlife charity in the UK? Top 10 were;
1st Wildlife Trusts
2nd World Wildlife Fund
4th Woodland Trust
6th Friends of the Earth
7th Sea Shepherds
9th Badger Trust
We aim to provide more support to ALL of our amazing wildlife charities. It is important that you are aware of all of them, no matter how big or small, as they all play an important role in protecting the UK's amazing flora, fauna and habitats.
6 Nature’s in Trouble!
We asked " Which ONE of the following do you feel is under the greatest threat in the UK? Results:
Ancient Woodland 10%
Amphibians and reptiles 3%
Birds of Prey 3%
Parks and Reserves 1%
The survey results here made us very happy indeed! 22% of you used the "other" option to tell us that you felt ALL life on earth was threatened. This demonstrates the passion and level of awareness that exists among our followers.
The survey placed greenbelt in joint second place. We have been reviewing our policies regarding the protection of "land". Community is a key part of our networks and we will raise awareness of any petition raised by action groups to protect green spaces. However, we believe that the terms “greenbelt” and “brownfield”, have little use when it comes to assessing the biodiversity value of sites under threat. It is far too simplistic to say that greenbelt is more important to wildlife than brownfield sites. It is a sad fact that modern farming and other land management methods have left some greenbelt sterile, whilst some brownfield sites support a rich variety of threatened species, despite, and often because of man's intervention.
Despite the UK’s island status, our seas and oceans are significantly undervalued in terms of their importance to all life on earth. Climate change and acidification, hunting and over fishing are just some of the challenges facing the marine environment.
We aim to increase our awareness work in this area, and work closer to support our marine wildlife charities. The earth’s oceans and seas protect us in so many ways, and we must all play our part in protecting them too. We are all part of nature.
7. We Must Not Neglect the Open Countryside and "Wild Britain"
We asked "Which of the following do YOU visit most in a year? Results:
Your local patch of open countryside 44%
Local Park 27%
Local Nature Reserve 14%
RSPB reserve 4%
Wildlife Trust Reserve 4%
The above results took us by pleasant surprise. If you have been following our work, we are passionate about the need to protect our off-park and off-reserve "unprotected" open countryside. I fell deeply in love with nature on a patch in South Staffordshire as a child, and it upset me to return to the area recently and hear of the long list of species which have been lost from the area.
It was great to see that 44% of our supporters who took part in the survey, regularly watch over their own similar patches. Wildlife cannot simply jump from one nature reserve to another. They need a network of suitable habitat for post-breeding dispersal and also to prevent populations becoming isolated and genetically weak.
75% of the UK land area is farmland, and one of the main reasons for suspending our opening event was because we wanted our midlands network to include an amazing community organic farm in Worcestershire. There is a great opportunity to repair the damage that has been done to farmland wildlife in recent times, whilst also boosting local rural economies. We are committed to exploring this, whilst helping to increase the uptake of conservation farming schemes.
Just a little note in support of our friends over at the Wildlife Trusts. You may not realise, but an increasing amount of local nature reserves, and areas of open countryside are being managed in partnership with the trusts. This is a large undertaking and it would be great if you could help by supporting and getting involved with your local trust.
Local parks are vital, not only for urban wildlife, but also for engaging local communities in the great outdoors. Our next David Attenborough, may well rise as a result of a wild close encounter in their local park. We are developing "Green Councils" - a project that will address the issues that came from our sharing with biodiversity officers, and also increase participation via our network events and websites.
8. How do You Rate Moving Mountains?
We asked our followers to rate us on a score from one (poor) to five (Excellent);
5. 34% Average rating: 3.95
We were so pleased with the results, considering that we are new, and this was complemented by the fact that 53% of those who completed the survey would like to become a friend of Moving Mountains. We value feedback and team working, and a further 31% of you said that you would consider becoming a friend of Moving Mountains if we take on board your feedback. We gave this option to encourage you to submit your views and we are so pleased to have received so much information. Our objective is to obtain a score of at least 4.5 in time for next year’s annual report.
We asked "What do you like most about Moving Mountains?" Here is a selection of responses;
"It cares and unites"
"Bringing people together - harnessing the power of numbers"
"The positivity! Looking towards the future, but living in the present"
"You're very visual and active"
"Keeps me up to date with lots of information. Good links and up to date news, moves fast"
"Moving Mountains puts like-minded people in touch with each other. As a result more gets done"
"It uses the vast power of social media to effect change"
"The passion, love devotion and fight I am seeing and feeling through work they are doing for the planet, nature, environment and helping others who have and are doing the same work"
"They're getting off their asses, making positive change"
"It is lively and covers a lot of topics"
"I like that you fight our corner regarding our food, water and health. If a group becomes big enough and loud enough, with information and proof to back it up, plus ideas on how to fix things, they cannot ignore it forever"
"They are dedicated to making a difference and challenge passionately everything that is wrong with the way our countryside is looked after. They bring people together to fulfill these challenges"
"Hope, inspiration, conviction"
"Incredible power of social media that it's harnessing so successfully. If we all work together, we can be such a powerful voice for change. Keep up the fantastic work"
"I like the fact Moving Mountains has direct interaction with campaigners, that they find out about the causes they tweet about and help campaigners to reach and educate and prompt others into action"
"They communicate in a way that says they are ordinary folk like me - eco-warriors but without the extreme bits that alienate people"
"It cares about nature, doesn't preach and doesn't get angry. It understands changing people's opinions about nature takes time and like nature, it has patience"
"The prospects of making a difference, change for the better, shared by all"
"It's a fantastic idea to have one place where info is brought together. Love the passion and enthusiasm behind the idea too"
"I like that you have done this survey"
"innovative ideas for protecting the greatest areas under threat"
"Taking an active approach to encourage people to take action"
We are really grateful for your feedback. You have helped to highlight our strengths, and we will ensure that these qualities are never lost as we continue to develop.
We then asked "What do you dislike most about Moving Mountains?"
We had six responses, relating to social media, commenting that we issue too many tweets and that this can cram your timelines on twitter. One respondent provided the following additional comment regarding this:
" ..BUT, I have no problem with this since (hopefully) the network is growing and new members need to know what they have missed. So don't stop - I can easily skip over them"
We have had to strike a delicate balance, between rapid growth, that develops a strong voice to create change, and the provision of a wholly enjoyable experience for our twitter followers. At times there have also been a wide range of active campaigns and topics requiring the sharing of information.
Our supporters have been outstanding, from their passion during campaigns, to the quality of information received from our survey.
We will install controls to ensure that your experience remains wholly positive. We will be producing a survey aimed specifically at your twitter experience. We have gained 60,000 followers in 10 months, and my concern, on the one hand is that to sustain that level of growth, it may be impossible to get things right all of the time. Without budgets for professional websites and marketing, our growth on social media has been essential to achieving our aims. However, no organisation can succeed if it adopts a "near enough is good enough" approach. We WILL aim for perfection, because that is what the level of support that we have received deserves.
Several respondents commented on the layout of our blogs and postings. We have been rather hampered by limited time and resources, which has had a direct impact on the quality of our blogs. In our own self-appraisal, this came top of our list of gripes.
Our aim is to create better platforms as soon as possible. This will certainly give us a stronger presence, as well as being able to offer more information to supporters. Once we are at the stage where we can employ staff, we shall be able to introduce a continual maintenance and update facility to wholly enhance the experience for visitors to our sites.
We received two conflicting comments, one asking for us to focus solely on UK issues and another wanting us to broaden our horizons more into world conservation. We are aware that 10% of our "Team 4 Nature" followers are from outside the UK, and that they have played a significant role in raising awareness of UK campaigns and petitions. As our support grows, we are also increasingly well placed to make a difference to campaigns across the world that protect nature and the environment. This also adds value to our "all-embracing" and "team-work" approaches.
Perhaps the development of our "Green World 2015" network will resolve this issue, by offering choice. We have ambitious aims with this 5 year project to create a strong global network, supported by “green media”. Our friends in Australia and America asked for Moving Mountains to go global, and this demand is being met by creating a platform to help green politics rise and protect nature across the world.
Many of you commented that you didn't like the fact that we were unfunded. This touched us and the survey results overall were moving because there appears to a "family" relationship developing with our supporters. Funding policies are covered below, as is provision for issuing "voting rights" to our supporters, which hopefully will show how much we value your views.
Two respondents remarked on our support for the Green Party. This has already been covered above.
Many of you commented that we are unknown or that you have only recently found us. It has been so hard to get to this stage of growth without any funding. We are focussing all attention on our "Keep Britain Green" event which will now take place in Spring 2015. A press release will be issued on the run up to that event. If our funding strategy is going well by that stage, then we feel that we can make a real impact and use the media attention as a springboard to gather more support for our aims. One respondent summed up our current position perfectly;
"Relatively unknown outside people interested in conservation - get your voice out there! This will come in time though"
We received one comment stating that we sometimes display a lack of focus. We are aware that there is a tendency to wander off pure conservation issues, and that this arises for two reasons;
a. We often receive requests to share information from followers that clearly does not relate to our aims and objectives. In this situation I have determined that our team approach takes precedent. I rarely have the heart to refuse to help someone where I am aware that they have helped Moving Mountains. I prefer to promote warmth caring and sharing, rather than take a narrow approach, based on our own interests.
b. Regular followers will have detected an undertone to our work. World peace and racial harmony are in our opinion critical to us all. These ideals promote compassion, which will lead to a more caring society that will be better equipped to protect all life on earth. Education is needed, not wars and racial or religious unrest. The mainstream media quote religions daily in a negative way, spending most of their time covering war and bloodshed. This is NOT humanity. They have invested too much time blatantly airing opportunists that want us to resent our neighbours, rather than learn to love and live with them. This is potentially the greatest barrier to conservation. Our maiden event will, once and for all blow away the myths being promoted by UKIP and other right-wing bodies. Love, learn from and educate your neighbour, do not hate them or go to war against them.
We asked "We are completely unfunded and are unpaid volunteers from top to bottom! How do you feel we should finance our work? Results;
Government grants 14%
Corporate sponsorship 9%
Other grants 8%
Continue as we are 7%
Whilst forming our policies we have taken on board the popular comment that independence allows us to have freedom in expressing our views and taking action.
14% of you selected government grants as a source of finance. Whilst establishing ourselves, we are being careful to position ourselves so that we occupy a niche and compliment other wildlife organisations rather than compete with them. This again stems from our team approach. Grant funding is so precious and with many of the NGOs taking on landscape-scale projects, we want our presence to complement this work rather than potentially starve it.
The majority of respondents presented a mix of several sources of finance. We support this approach and will be establishing the following funding platforms;
1. Before going cap in hand to anyone, we wanted to present an innovative funding mechanism that would also serve to create positive change in the world. We are excited to announce that we are creating an organisation with the sole purpose of promoting sustainability and the green economy. We shall be working in all areas, from renewable energy to organic cosmetics and ethical investments. We shall work with companies that not only protect our world, but also create UK jobs and stimulate local economies. All profits generated will be allocated to Moving Mountains Nature Network.
2. We are aware that there are a growing number of foundations and philanthropists that are gallantly using their positions to protect the world. Our freedom and independence, together with our style, passion for change, aims and objectives may well offer opportunities to build relationships in this sector.
3. We are looking to offer a subscription, that strengthens the "family" feel to our relationship with supporters. We want to represent a people's movement and to do our best to replace apathy with real hope and a feeling that individuals can truly create change through active participation. We shall be offering a subscription, where members receive newsletters, invites to annual conferences and voting rights which allow them to participate in our policy making process. We aim to offer a low subscription rate and meet our financial objectives by attracting a large uptake.
4. We were extremely touched to read in the survey results that many of you felt real hope from our work and that you would support us because you feel a passion that will allow us all to truly "move mountains" and create change. I am committed to ensuring that as we grow, we will not, IN ANY WAY dilute that passion or compromise it through associations with other individuals or bodies. Any association that generates funds representing more than 10% of our annual income, will only be entered into with the support of 75% of our membership.
We shall use a trusted online donation platform, and any donations that exceed our subscription rates will attract the option to hold voting rights.
5. Crowdfunding will be called upon where we are undertaking specific projects that require substantial “one-off” expenditure.
6. Corporate sponsorship will also form part of our funding. There is great potential for establishing “symbiotic” relationships with green ethical businesses, who can benefit from our growing ethical audience on social media.
We will be offering a unique and open quarterly report, available online, that records all funds received, referenced so that individual receipts can be traced by a unique verifiable reference. Details of all spending will also be shown, so that you can see exactly where your money has been used.
10. Your Views Determine Our Path!
The following policies arise from YOUR survey feedback:
a. Community Farming
Those of you that have been following our work closely will be aware that we have been creating a farming network. Many of you want to see more done to reverse the disturbing loss in farmland biodiversity. Quite rightly, many of you appreciate that 75% of the UK is farmland, and that any projects that promote farming with nature would have a significant influence on the overall state of nature in Britain.
We have looked for a farming model that resolves as many of the problems facing farmers as possible, whilst also creating the opportunity to enrich rural communities and stimulate the local economy. This scenario creates a platform to raise awareness of the need to protect nature and the funding structure to allow traditional and organic farming to thrive economically whilst embracing people and wildlife. If this model can then be rolled out across the UK, unhealthy and destructive factory monoculture farming methods will soon be recognised by the masses as being inferior.
We have found a model in the Midlands, which was partly the reason for our postponing our "Keep Britain Green" event. We are fed up of organisations claiming to represent rural communities, when all they want to do is profit from hunting and support “men with guns”. Rural communities have so much to offer and desperately need support. Capitalism and the influence of wealthy landowners has neglected and falsely represented people, who truly appreciate the link between nature and our economy.
We will be using our "Keep Britain Green" event to highlight the benefits that community farming can offer to local business, communities and nature, and in doing so make a positive contribution in Worcestershire. More information shall be available soon.
b. Conservation and Cats!
We were surprised just how many comments we received regarding the negative impact that cats have on wildlife. This is a very difficult issue and I hope that our taking this on board demonstrates that we shall not be burying our heads in the sand, whenever the going gets tough!
My grandmother introduced me to nature and she loved and kept cats throughout my childhood. Furthermore a significant amount of our followers are passionate about pets AND wildlife. Very few could argue against the fact that the two often go hand in hand.
We shall be working with charities and friends in the pet industry to create a campaign that gives pet owners the best advice, allowing cats to roam, without bringing nature home! Further updates will be provided soon!
c. Educating the Young
Many of you saw this as critical to creating lasting change.
Our networks and events will involve schools. We are creating a theme that will include species of animals and plants that children can relate to. Events will connect school children to their local parks and reserves, and they will be able to get involved in local biodiversity projects. Wildlife charities and local groups will be invited to give talks and run activities, and there will also be a selection of fun sponsored events involving nature and sport, to raise funds for school projects, learning resources and equipment.
d. Engagement with Business
In our survey only 27% of you could name a local company that supports nature and the environment in YOUR community. Only 9% of you were able to correctly name a national company that supports nature and the environment in the UK. This is not acceptable and must change. I am sure that these survey results will be of interest to the nation’s wildlife charities.
The facts regarding the poor state of the planet are, despite biased media, getting through to more people. We hope that our work is starting to speed up that process. As a result the masses will appreciate that business has a responsibility to look after the environment. A competitive advantage can be gained where businesses demonstrate that they contribute to the health and well-being of communities, by helping to protect nature.
Our networks will offer local businesses the opportunity to become "Team 4 Nature" partners. We will also be inviting companies to team up with us for events, and are in the process of establishing similar relationships at a national level.
e. Climate Action
This was certainly another popular issue raised by our survey.
By creating an organisation that promotes the green economy, we feel that we can become a major player in the battle to halt man-made climate change. We see the installation of solar technology on homes, business premises and community buildings, as vital. However, we have created strict criteria for anyone wishing to work with us.
It is critical that solar equipment allows for optimum recycling and embraces the latest technology to maximise efficiency and lifespan. Companies need to demonstrate that wherever possible, components will be sourced locally and that our relationship would serve to create more jobs in the UK. Successful companies will also be able to provide a clear vision as to how their relationship with Moving Mountains can create a better world and accelerate positive change. It is essential that there are clear aims to engage with communities and support biodiversity work. We shall be inviting a large number of companies to enter the selection process, so that we can be sure of working with the right teams.
Community energy projects also mirror our models for nature networks and they will be involved in all aspects of our work. Transition Towns will also be embraced by our networks.
We shall, of course continue to raise awareness and campaign for climate action across all networks.
f. Petitioning and Direct Engagement with Government and Political Parties
We find it remarkable that so many of you feel that we are in the position to exert influence politically, at this early stage of our development. We believe that we can be more effective in this area once we have got the rest of our policies into motion.
We have prepared two draft petitions that will be raised immediately after the 2015 General Election in May. They are aimed at supporting the work of biodiversity officers and taking nature and the environment right to the top of the political agenda. The details will be released as part of our "Keep Britain Green" event in May and will be finalised by working closely with the wildlife charities.
g. Publicity and Gaining the Support of Celebrities, Presenters and Scientists
Several respondents felt that we should gain the support of individuals that can raise the profile of Moving Mountains. We have taken these comments on board but feel that we still have a lot to prove. We hope that when we present our 2015 annual report, which will be timed to coincide with the Paris climate summit, we shall be able to justify the attentions of prominent figures, that could certainly help to accelerate the changes that we are so passionately working towards.
h. Sustainable Forestry Projects.
We have placed this item last, so that it leaves a "taste in the mouth". Woodland management schemes are vital for protecting biodiversity, and can make a major contribution to carbon control. They also offer the opportunity to inform and engage the public as well as boosting the local and national economy.
Harvesting British timber, in a sustainable manner, MUST be supported and promoted, so that it reduces demand for imported wood, which is often sourced in a manner that is destroying the planet.
We have identified several forestry projects in the Midlands, and will be engaging with them so that we can raise awareness of their wonderful contributions and the fine crafts that they support as part of our first event. We will also be creating a network around a sustainable forestry project in North Devon.
Thank you to all those that have supported us over the last year, and for your time taken, whilst reading this report. We look forward to an exciting year ahead, where we can all move mountains together.
13th November 2014.
Moving Mountains Nature Network
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