The more we explore different land uses, the more complexity we discover, the more we must accept elements of change.
Much of the UK land area is upland, home to a sliver of our population. Of which a tiny slice actually work the land within industries from farming and forestry to conservation and tourism – all relevant topics to an enquiry on the uplands.
I like the word enquiry. It’s not talking ‘at’ an audience, it’s not a bear-pit debate of polarised views, it’s not a vague discussion. An enquiry is for those with curious enquiring minds seeking to make up their own views – rather than follow partisan crowds, sign up to blind ‘discipleship’ or form opinions based on loosely referenced media.
‘Framing an enquiry’ is key. Looking back can be as important as forward – especially when talking about alternative land uses in competition with existing land uses, many deeply cultural, formed over centuries. When I introduce a subject to an audience, whether setting out a narrative to inquisitive walkers on a Crickhowell Walking Festival, or those at a Brecon Beacons Society talk*, requires one to paint the whole canvas, not just the area you want them to see.
My framing or talk on ‘Elements around Rewilding’* took 25 mins, whereas hosting the conversation or enquiry (including excellent robust exchanges between members of the audience), covered well over 45 mins. I would liken this to gleaning as much information from insightful comments under an article as from an article itself.
It’s not easy to frame environmental matters in the media. Distracted audiences, short time frames, word count restrictions and debates promoted to raise ‘heat’ (therefore ratings). Informed opinion is skewered by an information deficit.
Let’s find ways to better frame the narrative to enable astuter communication of ideas to those that can deliver public benefit, rather than just paint ourselves into idealistic corners so to just garner public opinion.