This will be my last blog of 2019 as I intend to take a bit of a break from social media. But we’ll see how well that works out!
I’m not going to go into any great depth about the political shennanigans that we’ve seen this past year – as we are all far too familiar, perhaps even tired of hearing about it – and I have written about them ad nauseam.
I thought instead I’d just give a quick update on what has been going on here.
The year started with me continuing to write a weekly column for Lush Times, which I was really enjoying. Yes it was quite hard work coming up with a story every week and I had to keep a close eye on all the emerging environmental stories and also try and find interesting ones that weren’t already out there in the public domain. I was also continuing my work with People Need Nature, albeit this was a bit on the back burner, partly because it has been very difficult to find funding to support it.
Once again Lush had come up trumps supporting my report on farmland tax “Where there’s muck there’s brass“, which was the follow up to the Pebble in the Pond, the first report I produced for PNN looking at opportunities for UK agriculture after Brexit. I worked on this through the Spring and it was published in late June. I’m running a session on farmland tax at the Oxford Real Farming Conference in a couple of weeks time, so please come along if you’re there.
Lush then decided to shift away from social media in April and I could see the writing was on the wall for its digital output including Lush Times. The last piece I did was on their amazing carbon negative packaging made of Cork at the end of July. This was picked up by the Telegraph and went a bit viral from there, which was nice. Also a bit ironic considering how difficult I had found it to get the press interested in my tax report. I was very sad that the Lush writing had come to an end after two years but it also gave me a big nudge to return my focus to People Need Nature again. It was also very sad to see the excellent team of writers, editors, photographers, film makers and podcasters ,that had built up around Lush’s digital work (with Si Constantine at its heart), disbanded.
Away from Lush and PNN, I continue to be involved with the Floodplain Meadows Partnership, which is an excellent project and I feel very lucky to play a very small part in its work. I’ve also joined the advisory board of a new group called Unchecked, created to campaign for the enforcement of environmental regulations. I think this is going to be very significant in 2020, with all the deregulatory pressures that Brexit brings.
There’s also a long running story of family illness which I won’t go into, but it’s thankfully much improved.
What do I hope for in 2020? Well it looks like there might be some very interesting arts/nature projects developing, which I think could be just what PNN needs, to take it forward. We also have some good urban nature/nature connection projects on the go, which I will write more about in the new year. As for politics I think I might take a step back from policy work, aside from one small project looking at the perils of this mad tree planting craze we are in the midst of. I will keep blogging on here as and when I think there’s something interesting to write about.
So it just leaves me to thank everyone who has read this blog (or my never-ending stream of tweets), and especially those who find the time to leave comments.
Happy Christmas and New Year.