On Tuesday evening, I headed to Westminster to attend the launch of the Response for Nature report: England. This report is a response to the State of Nature report that was released in 2013 and found that 60% of the species studied in the UK had declined in recent decades and that more than 1 in 10 of the 6,000 red-listed species are thought to be under threat of extinction in the UK.
The Response for Nature report outlines the key actions needed by the governments in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales with 34 different conservation organisations contributing to the project.
The event was launched by Steve Backshall and then, with a very tough act to follow, I was up next! I was very nervous, but thankfully my speech went better than I'd expected it to and seemed to be very well received, which was brilliant! If you're interested, here is a full transcript of my talk. On stage after me were Rory Stewart MP (Undersecretary of State for DEFRA), Dr Martin Warren (Chief Executive of Butterfly Conservation), while Steve Ormerod (Chair of RSPB Council), rounded off the first part of the evening and introduced the second part.
The second part of the event consisted of 4 talks going on simultaneously for each of the three time slots. Obviously I didn't manage to listen to all of them, but those that I did hear were very interesting!
Overall it was a great evening that left me feeling inspired and hopeful for the future. It was great to catch up with a few A Focus on Nature members as well as having the chance to network with people from some well-known organisations within the conservation sector, including RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, Birders Against Wildlife Crime, National Biodiversity Network, and Sussex Wildlife Trust.
|Line-up for the first half of the evening - no pressure then!|
|Me and Steve Backshall after we'd done our speeches|
|Steve Backshall and the AFON representatives|
|Westminster Abbey lit up at night|
|Big Ben at night|