It’s been a funny old year, hasn’t it. The Brexit fall-out just seems to have become more and more deranged as the year progressed, culminating in the last few week’s utter chaos.
There have been a few chinks of light though. The new Agriculture Bill makes its slow progress through Parliament and continues to promise a new approach to supporting farmers, paying them to provide public goods, rather than just because they own the land. Just last week the first clues to what the new Environment Bill will offer, in the way of a replacement for previous environmental protections provided via the EU, were less promising, but it’s early days and there will I am sure be opportunities to strengthen weak protections. And then we were treated with the excellent news about Lodge Hill last week.
This year, sharp-eyed readers of this blog (that’s all of you, of course) will have noted that I have been mainly writing over at Lush Times, then reprinting those columns on here. I have been writing a more or less weekly column over there – and it’s surprising how much time it takes to write a thousand words a week, but I am enjoying it a great deal. Thanks to Lush (and all my friends there) for supporting me and giving me the opportunity to write about the things I care about.
Once again, as in 2017, Brexit has been a huge distraction and is probably now a displacement activity for many (including me). Will it cease to be so, once March 2019 passes (assuming it isn’t postponed or cancelled.) Who knows. I have no crystal ball.
People Need Nature has not progressed quite as quickly as I had hoped. I really was very naive in thinking that charity funding was out there in the same way that it was in previous times. It has been a shock to discover how little funding is now available. Anyway I will try and make progress with PNN as and when I can. Emphasising the spiritual value of nature and nature as a source of inspiration for creativity continues to be my overall goal – and given how nature and wellbeing is now so well established as a reason for valuing it, I think the prospects continue to be good. I look forward to seeing some of you at the Oxford Real Farming Conference, where I am talking at a couple of sessions, one on the spiritual value of nature, the other on the perils of natural capital.
A few of you will also know that this year has been very difficult for personal reasons, which I cannot go into at this time. I’m hoping that 2019 will be much better.
So it just remains for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas/Solstice/New Year – for if you aren’t Christian it is all the same mid-winter/turning of the year, celebration. My Christmas present to you is that I have taken out a subscription to wordpress, so you won’t see any more annoying adverts. At least that’s what I’ve been promised!