Our annual conference, Nature Matters, brings people together from a variety of backgrounds in the arts, sciences and conservation. Over three days we listen to each other, see the world from different angles and celebrate nature as a community of fellow-travellers. We know that many new ideas and plans are sparked when different worlds come together, but where they eventually take root and grow is not always easy to know. But the 2019 General Election proved that one such cross-fertilisation went to the heart of politics. The Green Party’s New Deal for Nature came directly out of discussions between Caroline Lucas MP and various members of New Networks Steering Committee and Ambassadors. After Caroline took part in our conference, she discussed how to make nature conservation more relevant to society. An extract from her speech at the launch, in the Linnean Society, is below.
The origin of the New Deal for Nature report is the New Networks for Nature conference last year, 2018.
Afterwards, Jeremy Mynott and I talked. What nature policies do we really need – not only to reverse the decline of wildlife, but to capture people’s hearts and imaginations too?
What policies would really change lives, especially those of our own species who have too little contact with nature?
What would it take to restore wildlife and biodiversity for its own sake – and for our own human needs?
This all coincided with a major revision of the Green Party’s detailed policy on wildlife and habitats. I’m proud that this is a wonderfully democratic and inclusive process – and ongoing.
Of course, we already have lots of policy on nature. Including in our manifesto – for you all to see and scrutinise.
Nevertheless, in January, Jeremy brought together a group of friends, fellow conservationists, and nature writers. They set out to produce these independent recommendations – not least to inform my work in parliament.
It was not our plan to launch them during a general election campaign!
So why are we launching these independent proposals now?
Fundamentally, because nature needs to be at the very heart of the general election debate.
Even more importantly – nature needs to be much higher on the agenda for action in the next parliament.