Tuesday, 23 June 2015

#Team4Nature Networks Launch

Nature provides our air, food, water, health and well-being! So why are so few people connecting with their natural environment and protecting it ?

The media and established politics create major barriers,
preventing the UK population from appreciating
and protecting nature and green spaces
We have spent almost two years, studying why nature, despite it being key to our survival, has become so divorced from society and everyday life. We drink it, we eat it and we breathe it, but do we truly value and protect it, to the extent that it warrants?

In every community, nature quietly and beautifully provides our health.
We are always close to it, so what stops us all from fully appreciating and protecting it?
Our followers and supporters will be aware that we suspended work on our local nature networks, in order to create a "Mother-ship" to help raise awareness and protect green spaces. With over 90,000 followers, and a clout that places us inside the world top 50 influencers of green infrastructure on twitter, we now feel that we have achieved that aim (THANK YOU to all network followers, who took part in our tweet-storm and helped #GreenEconomy trend on Twitter last night!).

The experience and information that has been gained, whilst creating this national "guardian", has added steel to the design of our local networks.

Communities and nature; so near, yet so far!
With 60% of UK species in decline, how can we mobilise communities
quickly enough, so that they are all strongly connected to nature,
before it's too late to act?!
We have developed a mechanism which can provide the following benefits;

For Business:

1. An opportunity to reward businesses for taking an active role in protecting their local communities and green spaces.
2. Providing a structure that can actually increase sales for businesses, and stimulate the local economy.
3. Actively promoting businesses that provide information about nature, and resources for the protection of their local green spaces.
4. By facilitating the shift towards a sustainable low-carbon local economy, the future for business becomes more certain as resources are safeguarded.

For the Community:

1. Establishing local networks designed to increase participation within community groups that provide important services.
2. Strengthening communities by developing pride for the local environment, and promoting teamwork and interfaith relations. Children will live within communities that encourage and develop caring attitudes, increasing health and safety, and reducing anti-social behaviours, such as crime and vandalism.
3. Providing increased local job opportunities. By stimulating the local economy, and connecting to schools, colleges, universities and employers, our networks are designed to demonstrate that communities can benefit from embracing and protecting nature.
4. By stimulating local economies, communities will benefit from local prosperity that occurs as a direct result of valuing and protecting nature.
5. By protecting nature and green spaces, the future health and well-being of local communities is secured.
6. By facilitating the shift towards a sustainable low-carbon local economy, the future remains bright for communities.

For Local Councils:

1. Provision of human resources for maintenance and biodiversity work across Parks and Reserves, by supporting and creating local "friends" groups.
2. Creation of funds, held by community forums, that help to maintain and enhance infrastructure and biodiversity, within parks and reserves.
3. Providing increased participation in surveys that help biodiversity officers assess their performance and work towards 2020 biodiversity objectives.
4. A network that identifies members of the local community with the passion and desire to develop careers within council green space teams.
5. By stimulating the local economy, networks can deliver positive outcomes for a wide range of departments within councils.
6. Increased resources, generated by local networks can help councils execute management plans and biodiversity action plans. Key local species, requiring protection, will feature prominently within local networks to raise awareness.
7. Development of caring local communities will reduce antisocial behaviour.
8. Greater awareness of and participation in council green space events.
9. By facilitating the shift towards a sustainable low-carbon local economy, our networks can help councils reach targets set by central government.

For UK Wildlife Charities and Local Nature Groups

1. Raising awareness will increase membership, as will the mobilisation mechanism itself. Networks will incorporate direct links to all local and national charities and groups.
2. Providing increased participation in surveys that help wildlife charities monitor and protect nature.
3. Providing funds, held by community forums, for biodiversity work, creating and executing management plans, and activities, across local Parks and Reserves. This should help towards achieving 2020 biodiversity objectives.
4. Increasing the number of volunteers available to wildlife groups and charities.
5. Helping to raise awareness and protect species which are threatened in the local area.

Nature, business and community can flourish
together, for the good of all!
Once we had developed an effective and unique mechanism for our networks, we then had to look at the time frame for rolling them out across the UK.

Two simple but alarming facts, together with a video, influenced our decision-making:

A sobering statistic from the World Wildlife Fund
UK Hedgehog numbers have crashed. From, perhaps 35 million in the 1950's
it is thought that there are now around just 1 million

Finally, we took a look at what is happening to world climate. 97% of science agrees that we are having a profound and dangerous affect on our atmosphere, by releasing excessive levels of carbon into it. I am sure that you will soon agree, after listening to this speech by Jeffery Sachs, of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN), that the time to act is NOW!

So, it was agreed that we should roll our networks out simultaneously, with the goal of having robust, efficiently operating local "Team4Nature" networks in all areas of the UK by 2020.

For this to be achieved, we needed to place something extremely dynamic and powerful at the core of our networks. To this end, there was something, that over the past eighteen months, has stood out like a beacon of light!

Across the country, passionate individuals have given their hearts and time to come together and form "friends" groups and forums, helping to maintain and enhance Parks and Reserves. We have therefore customised our networks, so that they fit perfectly around these amazing bodies of people and help to create others around the nation's green spaces.

We are appealing for 650 friendly groups or forums, one in each UK parliamentary constituency, to become "guardians" for their communities and join us on a very special journey.

We are in the process of creating a UK network site, where you can access YOUR local community.

We are producing a video to demonstrate exactly how our networks will work, and also act as a tool to kick-start the mobilisation mechanism nationally.

If YOUR "friends" group or forum would like to become a "guardian" of the green spaces in YOUR constituency, please contact us at mmnnactionuk@gmail.com

We shall be sending our "Team4Nature Networks" video to every council and university in the UK, and also to those groups and individual bloggers and "patchers" (who watch and record wildlife within a specific local area), that have expressed an interest in our networks over the past eighteen months.

If YOU have read this article and would like to receive the video, when it is released, contact us via the above email and we will add you to our mailing list. There are special elements of our networks that will appeal to large local employers, farms, local sustainable forestry projects, low-carbon industries, organic producers and electric vehicle manufacturers. "Patchers" and wildlife bloggers will also be featured, as guardians of our open countryside. All interest groups are welcome.

Media organisations, that care for their readers, and want people and planet together in harmony, can receive advance material by joining our "Green media" database here

Thank you, as always, for taking the time to follow our work. We really do appreciate YOUR kind support.

Let's get "Moving Mountains" together!

You can help spread the word, by supporting our launch thunderclap: