Politics of Nature: question time at New Networks for Nature in November 2018

New Networks for Nature has always been politically independent, but our programmes have had an increasingly sharp political edge to them as the threats to the natural world have become ever clearer and this is explicitly highlighted in some of the sessions scheduled for 2018.  

On Friday 16 November, for example, the day begins and ends with two contrasting approaches.  In the first session Mark Cocker will be talking about his major new work, Our Place: can we save Britain’s wildlife before it is too late? He ends the book with an eloquent and passionate call for action in the form of ten ‘truths’ about our situation that he sets out, highlighting the paradox between our expressed love of our ‘green and pleasant land’ and its actual denatured condition.  But how much can individuals do in the face of the huge countervailing forces of industrialisation, urban development, intensive agriculture, and the demands of a growing world population for better standards of living?

The day ends with two politicians, Caroline Lucas (Green Party) and Barbara Young (Labour peer), addressing the corresponding political question – what can governments do and what are the limits of conventional means to effect change?  Should we look rather to activist protests, of the kind Mark Avery has led on behalf of hen harriers and Mary Colwell on behalf of curlews? Or do we need more authoritarian forms of government to address global problems like climate change and the exploitation of natural resources, where individual or local interests may need to be overridden?  Have the politicians failed us or have we failed the politicians?  How does one muster electoral support for radical new environmental policies that will have any hope of implementation?

Please help us prepare some challenging questions for our panellists to answer in these highlight sessions by adding your thoughts here.

Jeremy Mynott

Co-organiser of New Networks for Nature, 15-17 November 2018

Comments are welcome. At New Networks for Nature we value debate that is lively, polite and informative. Contributions that are not in this spirit, in our judgement, will be deleted.

Mary Colwell