We live in a world where the natural environment is exploited to serve human interest to the detriment or at best with only the casual nod of the head or token gesture to any other living creature.
In the last few decades species lost, many more on the brink, most suffering massive decline.
We live in a world of separation, we even talk about the natural world immediately placing the areas where other species live as something other than our human world.
You don't have to look that far or at anything other than the once ordinary, everyday, to witness this. The hedgehog is one such species. Common, undoubtedly more plentiful once than it would have been due to the way we managed land but now with populations crashing. Out of eight Royal Parks in London one has hedgehogs present, and this is park land we are talking about.
So who is to blame?
Land management in the 'countryside' has changed massively resulting in vast swathes of wildlife sterile land. Urban centers have sprawled swallowing up the surround green areas, garden management less sympathetic to wildlife. So do we blame the landowner, the corporate, the government, the town planner or ourselves?
We love to be able to put blame into boxes to be fixed, but all of the above involve humans and all of them rely on an exchange of goods, services and money with us.
Who is going to fix it?
The RSPB later forming from the Plumage League founded in 1889. Founded by women against the use of birds feathers in clothing and later amalgamating with the Fur and feather league to become the Society for Protection of Birds. Now one of the foremost wildlife organisations in the country and striving to secure a future beyond birds.
The Wildlife Trusts the later coming together of regional groups after the founding of the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves by Charles Rothschild in 1912. I am sure then that the world was not in the state it is today and if only he had known how portentous his wish for nature reserves would be.
There are far too many organisations to name that have played and are playing a critical role in bringing awareness, creating wildlife havens and fighting to change the way we, business and government view our world. Notice I said 'our world', not the natural world.
However, no one has actually 'fixed it', have they? In truth although changes are made, areas protected, local successes achieved- decline is still rampant. In fact things are generally for the worse. Why? It is rather like the painting of the forth road bridge there is always something else to do and so many people can only do so much.
Separation in language.
The Natural World. Preservation. Conservation.
We separate everything non human or non man made into the box of the natural world which is somewhere over there... somewhere on that reserve. We aim to preserve which makes me think of setting something in perspex so we can pop it in a museum to never change. We conserve, rather like a Jam Conserve where we take bits of nature and preserve it for a certain amount of time for us to use when we will. Is this being pedantic, I think not. Words have power and I think that we need to re-think. To not pigeon hole nature, to place it in a location to be visited at a time.
Without making this overly long and trying to keep things simple my point is that we are all responsible and that we all have the power to make a difference. It also isn't the preserve of any organisation to fix things even with your support. We use separation in language, we maybe offset some of our responsibility with a donation or membership, we all make unnecessary purchases, maybe feel ourselves too busy. But that square or rectangle of land outside and/or indeed in-front of your home is potential habitat, a haven and if indeed we all took part then haven would become a redundant word because everywhere would be filled with birds, butterflies hedgehogs, frogs, beetles. We can all make choices when we spend, support food producers that work with the 'natural world' there it is again....our world. We can consume less, and that is not just food (of which a vast percentage is thrown away) but in goods. We can purchase well for items that last. We can all support a change of attitude passing on higher expectations than the younger generation have. Children today grow up with the expectation of maybe seeing a hedgehog if they are lucky. That wouldn't have been the expectation of someone a few decades ago. The issue is that the present low expectation becomes the baseline expectation and further losses compared to that don't seem to be so bad.
That's the ultimate point to all of this. It up to all of us to change the way we behave. Organisations can achieve great things, they can act as catalysts for change, but ultimately it is you and the millions of others of your species that have the power not to conserve or protect but to enhance, to grow, to give rise to the proliferation of all the other species that we share this planet with.
Change and the future is in your hands and mine and the big organisations... but it starts with simple things by you, and you, and you- millions of times over and then it is painless and easy to achieve. Let's all take responsibility.