On 3 September, Nick Clegg gave the keynote speech at the RSPB’s State of Nature conference. He concluded that our connection to nature is critical to our wellbeing and success, and that society and the economy ‘just wouldn’t function’ without essential natural services such as crop pollination.
Last year’s State of Nature report found that 60% of the 3,148 species monitored had declined in the UK over the last 50 years, including some of our most common wildlife.
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Also speaking at the conference, David Attenborough said, ‘Because of the complex relationship society has with nature, it is obvious that our response to saving it must extend from every possible quarter too. With an increasing global footprint, mankind is intensifying the crisis for wildlife, but as individuals we can all be part of the solution for saving it too.’
In the last 35 years, we’ve lost more than two thirds of the UK’s house sparrow population and in the last quarter of a century our hedgehog population has halved.
97% of our wild flower meadows have vanished and scientists predict that there will be fewer than 1,000 pairs of turtle doves by 2020.
Still, Clegg said that despite growing public concern, the natural environment ‘has been allowed to slip down the UK political agenda.’
Clegg went on to say he ‘was proud’ to back Bob – ‘the red squirrel who is campaigning to put nature on the national agenda’ — and assured the audience that he’ll be urging colleagues to do the same.
‘I’ve decided I can no longer sit here in my tree gnawing on nuts, while the woodlands, meadows and wildlife around me are disappearing. It’s time to make a stand.
Our children deserve to know what it’s like to run through a wildflower meadow and hear a skylark’s song.
It’s time I gave nature a voice – I’ve seen too much of it disappear.
We need to ask every party leader what they intend to do to look after our wildlife, countryside and wild places. That’s why I’m off on the campaign trail – to help ensure nature is back on our politicians’ agendas.
I’ll be popping up here, there and everywhere, reminding people around the UK just why nature is important.’
By voting for Bob and showing your support for his campaign, you’re telling politicians that nature matters to you. ‘The more votes I get, the louder my voice will be and the more politicians I can reach with our message’, he says. 31 politicians have already backed Bob, and the number’s growing.
‘There’s no magic number for how many votes will have an impact, but us squirrels like to aim high (that’s why we like pine trees) so I have set myself a target of 80,000–100,000 votes by the end of October and 120,000–150,000 by the time the General Election comes around next year. However, the more votes I get, the more likely politicians are to listen to you and me.’
Anyone who cares about nature can vote for Bob — you don’t need to be over 18 or live in the UK to show your support. More than 80,500 have voted for Bob so far.
Vote for Bob to show your support, or call the RSPB’s membership team on 01767 693680, who will record your support as a vote for Bob.
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