Findlay Wilde says that there are two very simple facts to keep in mind throughout this article: 

  • The human race cannot survive without the natural world. 
  • The human race is responsible for devastating the environment/natural world. 

It seems like madness when you see it written down like that, doesn’t it?   Why would anyone destroy something that they depend on? This isn’t something that has happened overnight, though, this has been years in the making. 

It seems like every generation is so eager to advance in terms of technology, infrastructure etc., but all this comes at a massive cost; and I am not talking financial.  I am talking about the cost to the planet, our planet, our home.  I am 15 years old and live in a technology driven generation, but I 100% believe we are on a journey to self-destruction if we don’t change our path. 

Politicians and those with the power to change things have a massive balancing act to do; they have to priori-tise where time and money get spent, and sadly the environment and natural world always seem to be the areas pushed further down the list.  Plans are made for a political term of five years in the UK, but what the natural world needs is long-term planning, long-term protection and, most importantly, to be at the heart of every decision made. 

A huge problem is that people can choose to turn a blind eye to the full extent of the damage being done to our planet.  We have to educate people so that they can make the right choices, and for me this education has to start at school. Imagine how brilliant it would be if environmental science/natural history was incorporated 

into all subjects within the curriculum in both primary and secondary schools.  It could connect the younger generation with the environment and make them realise why the environment should be protected.  Of course it wouldn’t inspire a passion within everyone, but it may well teach a respect for what many people take for granted. 

It’s not enough to think, “oh that’s a shame,” as another species disappears, never to be seen again.  We should feel angry, we should feel disappointed with ourselves that we allowed it to happen.  We all have a right to a natural inheritance, but the thing is, this right is being taken from us and from future generations.  So if you want it, you are going to have to stand up and fight for it. 

The question is, though, are you willing to do something, are you willing to fight?  You don’t have to do something huge of course, some of the biggest changes come about through all the small things done. For example, if you plant just one flower in your garden that helps to encourage a pollinator, you have done something positive.  However, If you encourage your whole street to plant flowers for pollinators, you have started to build a natural corridor. 

Something else you can do is to challenge things.  Speak out about environmental issues, report wildlife crime, raise awareness through social media channels.  If you feel strongly about something, then do something and encourage someone else to do something too.  Be part of the big positive changes that can happen when all the small changes build together.  

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Findlay Wilde is a young conservationist who is fascinated by all wildlife, but especially birds.  He wants to do everything he can to protect nature now and in the future. Currently he is trying to raise awareness about hen harrier persecution in particular, but he is also trying hard to move the natural world higher up the political agenda.  There’s more information at: wildeaboutbirds.blogspot.co.uk .

This article was first published in NAEE’s 2017  journal, Environmental Education (Vol. 116).  To read more articles like this, you can join the Association and receive three journals a year.