World Wildlife Day – Listen to the Young Voices

Yesterday was World Wildlife Day and the theme this year was ‘Listen to the Young Voices’.

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In December 2013, World Wildlife Day was proclaimed as the third of March, which is the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). The United Nations decided that World Wildlife Day would be celebrated this year under the theme ‘Listen to the Young Voices’ due to the fact that a quarter of the world’s population are aged between 10-24 and as the next generation they need to be encouraged to protect wildlife.

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Thanks to the brilliance of technology corresponding with people a long distance away has become easier than ever before. And given the unfortunate low density of young teen naturalists in the British Isles, this has been instrumental in bringing the future naturalists and conservationists together.

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Last year I decided to set up a Twitter account (@My_Wild_Life) and very soon I was talking to many of the incredible young naturalists I had previously only read about in magazines and online. A ‘group chat’ had been set up specifically for young naturalists and this became a hub of support, learning and conversation. I was over the moon to be involved with such a hopeful and inspiring group of young people who shared my interest.

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Young people are the future. And in a world where we humans are advancing quickly in many ways, the future of nature and the environment needs to be put higher up the agenda. And without young people interested in the natural world and keen to protect it, it is unlikely that the environment will prosper.

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Due to the increasing popularity of social media such as Twitter, there has been a huge surge in the ‘Youth Nature Movement’. The work of top naturalists and conservationists has lead to a significant increase in the number of young people getting involved with nature. It has also given aspiring young people looking for a career in wildlife louder voices, which need to be listened to.

Below is a list of excellent nature blogs by under-twenties that are really worth reading:

Dara McAnulty, Young Fermanagh Naturalist: https://youngfermanaghnaturalist.com/
James Miller, Knee Deep in Nature: http://www.kneedeepinnature.co.uk/
Mya Bambrick, My World of Wildlife: http://myathebirder.blogspot.co.uk/
Josie Hewitt, Josie Hewitt Photography: http://josiehewittphotography.co.uk/
Paddy Lewin, Paddy’s Wildlife Blog: https://paddylewinwildlife.wordpress.com/
Elliot Montieth, Elliot’s Birding Diaries: https://elliotsbirdingdiaries.wordpress.com/
Dawood Qureshi, Heart of Wild: https://heartofwild16.wordpress.com/
Thomas, Exploring Wildlife: https://exploringwildlife.blogspot.co.uk/
Charlotte, That Bird Blog: http://thatbirdblog.weebly.com/
Zach, Year of Nature: https://yearofnature.blogspot.co.uk/
Harry Witts, Harry’s Wildlife: https://harryswildlife.wordpress.com/
Michael Sinclair, Michael Sinclair Photography: https://naturephotographer.co/
Luke Nash, Luke’s Birding Blog: https://lukesbirdingblog.wordpress.com/
Louis Driver, Louis’ Wild Northumberland: https://louiswildnorthumberland.blogspot.co.uk
Jack Dawson, Jack Dawson Wildlife: https://jackdawsonwildlife.wordpress.com/
Alex Bayley, A Whiff of Fox: https://awhiffoffox.wordpress.com/
Alex White, Appleton Wildlife Diary: https://appletonwildlifediary.wordpress.com/
Noah Walker, Walker’s Wildlife Photography: http://walkerwildlifephotography.blogspot.co.uk/
Findlay Wilde, Wilde About Birds: http://www.wildeaboutbirds.blogspot.co.uk

Bad News for Wildlife

Yesterday  the UK narrowly voted to leave the European Union. Many naturalists, including Sir David Attenborough, were saddened by this outcome. It doesn’t look good for wildlife in the UK, especially farmland wildlife.

The Wildlife Trusts manage lots of farmland for wildlife and 6% of their income comes from the EU. This is due to funding that The Wildlife Trusts get when they create wildlife habitat on the farmland they own. When the UK is not part of the EU, The Wildlife Trusts will not receive that vital 6%. This could mean that less management can be carried out for farmland wildlife.

The Common Agricultural Policy is a policy which, among other things, provides financial support from the EU on environmental management. This is similar to the funding The Wildlife Trusts receive: environmental management that takes place on farms can be funded by the CAP. The CAP also influences farm management decisions within the EU which we would not benefit from after we officially leave the EU.

The Birds and Habitats Directives hope to contribute to saving nature within the European Union by conserving particular species which fit a number of criteria. It is proven that species listed under Annex 1 of the Birds Directive have had population increases not experienced by species not under Annex 1. Outside of the European Union, this effect has not been observed. Therefore, now that we are leaving the EU, the UK population of species listed under Annex 1 might not display the same increases as the populations within the EU due to the Birds and Habitats Directives no longer applying.

The EU is the most important legal driving force for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, which is a critical measure for marine wildlife conservation. Without the influence of the EU directives the development of the marine protected areas would be at risk. Marine protected areas are very important in the UK due to the amazing biodiversity of species in UK seas. Without protection the biodiversity will be devalued.

International impacts might also be felt. Now that we will be without the support of the European Union, the United Kingdom might try to create agreements internationally which benefit nature conservation. However, due to the UK’s neighbours being members of the EU, they might be less willing to agree to join an additional agreement outside of EU laws.

 

However, just maybe, the future UK government will be highly committed to conserving nature. Like me, Boris Johnson severely dislikes Grey Squirrels and would greatly prefer Red Squirrels to replace them. Therefore if Boris Johnson does become the new Prime Minister, more work could be done to save the Red Squirrel. Hopefully the environment will be higher up on the agenda than it is at the moment. Just maybe all these European directives and the funding will be replaced. It should be a priority.