When was the last time you saw a beautiful butterfly or a bird with a brightly-coloured plume in your back garden? Chances are it’s been a while.
‘Springwatch’ presenter Chris Packham has warned of an “ecological apocalypse” in Britain, after observing declining wildlife populations.
Packham told The Guardian that Britain is becoming a “green and unpleasant land” – alluding to the fact that there may be grass and trees, but there are no splashes of colour from the once varied and plentiful wildlife and wild flowers. Instead there are “only wood pigeons and non-native pheasants and dead badgers on the side of the road”.
The presenter said we’ve “normalised” what is in fact a very dire situation – and has called on people to do something about it: “We need a peaceful public uprising. We need people to say we’ve had enough. We do that every time there’s a terror attack. We need a similar movement for nature. We need people to stand up and say we want action now. We have the ability to fix our countryside.”
Packham’s outcry has hit a chord with the public. Jeremy Barrell, a tree consultant, said he is right to highlight nature in crisis. “I have lived in the New Forest all my life and it is much worse now,” he tweeted, citing pesticides, habitat loss and failed governance as just some of the reasons why.
Marketing manager Daniel Jarvis said Packham’s views were “depressing but true”. He recalled seeing skylarks, barn owls, lapwings and hares galore in his youth, but not anymore. “Even in my lifetime the decline has been heartbreaking,” Jarvis added.
Natural history writer Patrick Barkham said action must now be taken: “Hundreds of thousands of us should be marching on Westminster about this scandal. Until then, (almost) every politician will continue to ignore it. In the meantime, thank goodness for the existence of Chris Packham to talk about it.”
The presenter has called on people to take action by recording what wildlife remains. The ‘bioblitz’ from 14-23 July involves documenting wildlife in various habitats like allotments, parks, farms, nature reserves and roadside verges.