Yes today I’m celebrating five years of a new nature blog. I can’t quite believe it myself.
Five years seems like a long time, perhaps because so many things have happened in that time, with the big one of course being Brexit. Looking back, I see I have written a great deal about how rubbish the Common Agricultural Policy was – and now, assuming we are actually going to leave the EU (still a big question mark there), we are going to say goodbye to the CAP.
I’ve also written at length about the rise of the Far-Right in Britain. UKIP has come in for some bashing by me, for various reasons. Indeed, some of the most well-read posts of all time are about UKIP, including this one on their bizarre former environment lead, Doctor Earth.
And then there’s the frankly awful record of the Coalition Government; and then Cameron’s short-lived majority Government, on the environment. Considering just how useless or actually malign characters like Owen Paterson, Liz Truss and Andrea Leadsom were, Michael Gove does appear to be quite good – or at least knowledgeable. Still the proof of that particular pudding has yet to be determined; and we must not forget where he has come from.
I’ve covered in depth a few cause celebres – including Lodge Hill – whose fate still hangs in the balance, and Rampisham Down, which has become a significant victory for conservation. Natural England played their part in both these campaigns, but whether they will survive in their current form for another five years (or even another year) is moot.
Who would have thought, five years ago, that the Government would be seriously considering a widespread reintroduction of the Beaver to England? That perhaps above all symbolises how rewilding has captured the imagination of the public and the media, and therefore politicians. Long may that continue and other species also deserve to return – including the Wisent.
And I’ve also indulged myself with some frankly silly articles, and some think pieces – thinking about how the ghosts of Elephants and Rhinos still stalk our landscapes.
Along the way I’ve had my own fair share of personal triumphs and setbacks. I have set up People Need Nature, and we are starting to make a bit of an impact – especially with the Pebble in the Pond report on farming post-Brexit. How much further we progress will depend on the success of the current fundraising campaign. I lost my brother to cancer at the ridiculously early age of 52 and then had a brush with death myself thanks to a septic kidney.
I had no idea at the time that writing this blog would lead to opportunities for writing (some even paid!) but this is what has happened and it’s been great to write for British Wildlife (where I will continue to contribute occasional articles) and other blogs like Mark Avery’s and Green Alliance. I find I am enjoying writing more than doing conservation now. Should I admit to that?
For the last year or so, I’ve been splitting my time between People Need Nature; and researching and writing for Lush Times. I write a weekly column called No Tern Unstoned (the silliness never quite goes away) which I am really enjoying writing. I’m also working on some other projects for Lush, more of which anon.
So it just leaves me to say a massive thank you to all of you – readers, and especially those of you who leave comments. It’s been great and I hope to continue writing here, and elsewhere.