This post is not about flooding. Well, not entirely. Perched on my ‘fence’, I see knotty problems that require us to swallow our partisan positions to work together while being more realistic about our needs.
Perhaps I try and cram too much into blogs that conflate a number of issues but I’m going to take the liberty anyway to indulge in a wish list –
- Trees – our obsession with native species exposes us to climate change risks that have been highlighted for years. Especially in the uplands. Conifers in the right place (not Flow Country blanket plantations or near breeding
waders), are best pioneer species when broadleaves fail at wind swept altitudes.
- Curlews – so much research by so many conservation organisations when so much has been done to date. We all love these waders, so can GWCT, BTO and RSPB all work together for the public benefit, not just NGO membership’s appreciation.
- Farming – seek blend of brainy precision-technology with passionate wide-thinking. Take the genetic engineering of the Oxford Farming Conference and mix with organic techniques of the Oxford Real Farming Conference – voila!
- Rewilding – much talk, much good stuff, terrible prejudices that ostracise potential support from ‘those living and working’ in areas that might benefit from this new conservation method (not polemic ideology).
- Synergy – of hunting and conservation. The Americans show us how it’s done, why not us?
- My annoying obsession – what we eat is inextricably linked to the wildlife we see in our fields or gardens. A negative link. Boring I know. Unpalatable even. We want feel-good win:wins but I fear they’re not there, so let’s get real on the tradeoffs.
- Three books – listen to Anton Lesser read, with great feeling, Rob Penn’s ‘The Man who made things out of trees’ on Rad4’s book of the week. A book that every conservationist must read – ‘Conflicts in Conservation; Navigating towards solutions‘ (my piece in The Field mag next year may disturb). Get ready next year for ‘Being a Beast’ by Charles Foster – you’ll get a different take on earthworms.
- Take a beat. Beware frenzy of social media that brings out ‘virtue signalling’ that raises a flag but fails to deliver the goods. We have been through quite a few ‘issue-attention cycles’ for one year from ash dieback, deer culling to upland flooding solutions.
- You never know…who may discover their wild side at a game fair
10. Happy new year!