The statistics may be terrifying – but the UK’s approach to natural habitats is undergoing a quiet transformation
It was the WildEast manifesto that first brought it home to me. An ambitious project bringing together everyone from farmers and landowning peers to ecologists and gardeners, WildEast aims to return 20% of East Anglia’s land – an area the size of Dorset – to nature. The plan will reintroduce locally extinct species such as the great bustard, beaver, pelican and even bison, restore soil health and champion new educational programmes and policies on plastics and food production. Whether or not this exciting vision can be brought to fruition, its scope, urgency and inclusivity are something new.
I’ve been writing a monthly column about nature for several years now, and during that time I’ve witnessed a shift in the UK’s relationship with the environment. While it may take time for its effects to become visible – and time, of course, is in short supply – this change has the potential to affect everything, as disparate groups seek a renewed sense of connection with the natural world.