Well, I’ve started this several times, let me tell you. It has been hard to be positive today, considering the dreary prospects splattered down in front of us with such a charmless lack of ceremony.
Led by the least and advised by the worst, we have with great shortsightedness managed to conjure a completely unnecessary decision out of the ether, one that will affect us for generations. There are serious and pressing concerns, I know there are, from genuine worries about human rights to our sudden economic frailty to working conditions and the treatment of the most vulnerable among us. I get that.
And they should be the chief concerns of all of us. Of course. Of course.
But there are other things, deep, far-reaching, perhaps even catastrophic things, that need addressing. The Brexit vote places us in an uncertain position. I can’t imagine it is news to anyone that the EU, for all its faults, has over the last few years put in place many and varied protections for the benefit of the natural world. Pollution limits, the quality of beaches and coastal waters, the provision of support for farmers who follow wildlife initiatives, the ban on pesticides that harm bees and other pollinators, renewable energy targets…the list goes on.
So what now? Will those ideas and protections remain in place? Will the tearing up of red tape and the urgency to get cracking without all that pesky limitation-setting prove to be disastrous? Well, what do you think?
This post has had all the swearing redacted. I didn’t think it helped, really, though it did allow me to let off steam a wee bit. But anyway. I must be positive, we must be positive.
We cannot be anything else.
So, what to do? Well, doing something is the key, I think. Here are some thoughts. Comment in others, please.
Firstly, get involved with your local Wildlife Trust. The Wildlife Trust run conservation initiatives, sites of special interest, volunteer groups, vaccination programmes, habitat consultancies. Did I mention volunteering? So you can get your hands dirty and do something. Get your hands dirty; do something. And they’re lovely people – they would be delighted to hear from you. What’s more, you will have a local one to talk to, because they’re everywhere.
Read, read as much as you can, be inspired by the people who are inspired by nature. You will find people who share your interests and excitements and who might just spark you into doing something because they write so wonderfully about it.
Melissa Harrison is a novelist, journalist, reviewer and essayist who was one of the first proper nature writers I followed on social media. She lives in London and engages with the nature there and further afield. Her blog, Tales of the City, is a must, especially if you’re rediscovering or discovering nature anew.
Two writers and bloggers who I follow that really get out there and get hands on are Ryan Clark and Tiffany Francis. Ryan seems to have become, through hard work and some might say an obsessional interest in cataloguing his finds, the go-to guy for bug identification and advice on social media. He knows his stuff. He really knows his stuff. Tiffany has written for the Huff Post and Countryfile Magazine and throws herself at her subject with great passion.
There are PLENTY of others. Look at the amazing prints Katie Fuller produces; check out Jack Barnes‘s astonishing photographs (or Mike Arreff come to that). Take a second to breathe over at lagomlagomlagom; or go for a long walk with Robert Yaxley.
Trawl Twitter. There are some great people on there waiting to spark an interest: @, @, @, @, @, @, @, @, @, @ @RSmythFreelance and so many more. I’m missing some, I’m sure – well, I know I am. But get among them and more will present or suggest themselves.
There are other people out there, there is you out there. You’re not alone. Differences can be made, but it’s not daunting if you know others can pull you along. And they will, because they’ll need you. We’ll all need each other. Dive in. Soak it up. There’s a world needs looking after.