Guest blog by Mark Avery I have a feeling that nature conservationists are too nice. Well, I’m trying hard not to be too nice. Some say I’m succeeding.
Wildlife is under great and increasing pressure in the fields and woods around us, and in the rainforests and oceans on this planet. We aren’t doing a great job in conserving nature. Should we beat ourselves up, all of us, in a mass bout of self-flagellation, for we are surely all to blame? We are all to blame just as we are all to blame for everything that happens on the planet. But some are more to blame than others. When we hear through the media that a child has been mistreated or a person murdered then we sometimes wonder “How could ‘we’ have let this happen?” But we also wonder about the people who were more directly to blame and want to see them named and shamed. Nature conservationists don’t do much naming and shaming. We tend to treat everyone as the friend of the natural world and hope that by being nice the world will become a better place. We act as though if we encourage the good then the bad will follow – do we really believe that is true? Partly as a bit of mischievous fun, but also as a serious attempt to get some issues out in the open, I have launched the Nature of Harming ‘award’ and I’d ask you to vote for the group of people who you think has done most to further the loss of wildlife in the UK. Like many voting decisions it’s a difficult choice, but choosing the worst on offer isn’t really more difficult than choosing the best, is it? And as I say, I’m trying hard not to be too nice these days – do you think I am succeeding? The Nature of Harming ‘award’
Dr Mark Avery is an independent writer about the natural world. He worked for the RSPB for 25 years until standing down as Conservation Director in 2011. He writes a daily blog, ‘Standing up for Nature‘ and a book of his RSPB blogs is available from lulu.com at the knock-down price of