Blogging: good for conservation?
The festive season is over, the new year dawns but there are still dark evenings with little worth watching on the television. There are notes and reports to write up but there are windows of time in which to read for pleasure ….
The latest volume that I have recently been given (bless you daughter) is Mark Avery’s new book “Fighting for Birds”. Forget the reviews just read it. It was published by Pelagic Publishing back in April 2012. I won’t pass judgement nor wax lyrical but his views on the NGOs certainly make for interesting reading. Particularly his suggestion that members run them (he refers particularly to the RSPB), now there’s a radical suggestion! That members of large NGOs are actually allowed to influence policy or strategic direction – that’s certainly a hypothesese worth testing! I looked for their current Board of Trustees on their website and then I tried in their glossy Annual Review – perhaps I’m just not looking in the right place. Look at the composition of these Boards, then let me know when you find any real local grassroots activists on them, the lists I located were awash with ‘professionals’.
There was reference to needing to recruit some 300 members a day to maintain current membership levels, that’s some tall order amidst the austerity chain saws at work.
The Wildlife Trusts met with a mixed review, but then when there are around four dozen of them then it’s maybe predictable that there will be good and bad. There’s the affluent proactive southern trusts like Cambs. Beds and Northants whose model for ecology groups are encouraged through provision of training courses. Avery doesn’t mention The Great Fen which the RSPB have no material interest in, but the WT have delivered on landscape scale. Not fragmented pieces of marginal land that landowners are happy to receive HLS for and still exclude the public who finance such schemes, but swathes of land gained as planning offset into which one hopes will spread species from the core refugium at Woodwalton and Holme Fens.
If austerity has bitten too deep then a daily dose can be obtained via Standing up for nature
“Muzzled Watchdog to Toothless Terrier” (17 Jan.) received some interesting responses from a variety of unidentified but easily recognisable types, but don’t take my word for it …. read it fo yourself, better still feed back comments to the regular daily post.
Thanks Mark, you’re doing a great job highlighting topical issues and keeping them on Defra’s ‘desktop’.