A Mis-placed Wildlife Message

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

For a change, I watched a nature programme on TV: the new David Attenborough series, Wild Isles.  It was as spectacular as promised, although I failed to see any coherence to it.  We flitted from video of life and death struggles: orca v seals, dormice v tawny owls, puffins v black-headed gulls, barnacle geese v sea eagles, to vicarious encounters with damsel flies, gannets, oaks, golden eagles, trout streams, bumblebees, kingfishers, and arum, more or less randomly.  It was all beautifully done, took ages to get right, and must have cost a fortune.

As Attenborough lay with the puffins on Skomer, his key messages seemed to be:

[i] "Though rich in places, Britain as a whole is one of the most nature-depleted places in the world."

[2] "Never has there been a more important time to invest in our own wildlife, to try and set an example to the rest of the world and restore our once wild isles for future generations.”

One aspect of the second sentence is curious.  It seems that we're being told that a key purpose of  investing in our wildlife is to try to set the rest of the world an example.

This is a fashionable idea these days, and it's a key reason for going headlong for net-zero.  But in terms of wildlife it seems ridiculous.  The idea that illegal loggers in Brazil or Indonesia are going to down tools because cute dormice are on the BBC – or Kenyan poachers or Maltese hunters will cease their murderous activities because of kingfisher pictures (etc. etc) – doesn't bear a moment's scrutiny.  Surely we ought to be investing in our wildlife because it's both the right thing to do for the sake of wildlife and also for our own sake as we need wildlife in order to survive.

Maybe that fundamental dependence message will get through in episodes 2 to 5, though I doubt if I'll be watching.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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