To improve how we treat this planet, we need to first understand the impacts we are having on the world around us. In almost every country around the world there are teams of dedicated scientists researching the natural world and providing us with evidence to base our ideas and knowledge on.

The latest report to get media attention in the UK is the State of Nature Report 2019. This report showcases some major concerns as well as a few highs about the current state of nature in the UK. The knowledge gained from this report is only possible due to the contribution of almost 90,000 people who collect data throughout the country – 70,000 of which are volunteers.

The 2019 report shows a shocking 15 per cent of wildlife species in the UK are under threat from extinction. The majority of the issues arise from a combination of climate change, intensive farming, pollution, destruction of habitats and an increase in non-native invasive predators.

Since 1970:

  • Out of the 8431 species assessed, 2% of species have already become extinct, with a further 15% currently under threat of extinction
  • Overall wildlife abundance has fallen by 13%
  • 41% of species have seen a significant reduction in numbers
  • Mammals alone have reduced by 26% across the UK
  • Prior to 1970 the UK’s wildlife populations had already been reduced by centuries of habitat loss, pollution and persecution

It is not all bad news though!

Case studies have been included in the report showcasing successful reintroductions of certain species, increased habitats for others and a definite increase in public awareness that can help drive change in policy and practices.

To reverse the decline in nature in the UK every single one of us can contribute too. Take a look at some simple things you can do that would directly influence the UKs State of Nature.

5 easy ways you can help…

Support small local farmers – buy produce from local farmers markets and shops, focusing on organic where possible – reducing pesticides and herbicides from being used

Buy fish that has been line caught or are labelled as sustainable – reducing the use of trawlers that damage the sea floor and other unsustainable fishing practises.

Donate time to volunteer with your local wildlife trust – this could be attending a stall to hand out leaflets to the public, or taking part in collecting data through a bat walk or bird watch.

Re-wild your back garden – leave some of it wild, plant bee friendly flowers, dig a pond, feed the birds, leave log piles to encourage insects and hedgehogs – any one of these ideas will help support wildlife in an otherwise urbanised areas.

Litter pick – whether you organise a community litter pick or just take a bag with you when out walking the dog, reducing litter in the local environment can make a direct impact on the wildlife that live there.

Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot