Friday, February 17, 2012

How do we mobilise action in defence of raptors?

Spent most of the day firing off E-mails connected with raptor persecution, Hen Harriers and the like. Received a very kind offer from Neil Calbrade to use raptor photographs contained within his web site portfolio. Sincere thanks , Neil, as the inclusion of appropriate shots within the text of forthcoming articles will help enormously. I'll shortly be putting up a link to Neil's site and would encourage everybody to have a look ( even purchase ) as there's some pretty remarkable material on there!

The Raptor Politics web site had put out my recent article on raptor persecution which will help to extend readership. Somehow the big challenge will be getting people to take action. There's lots of grumbling and claims it's all been said before, they've said it themselves even, but consequent and actual action appears difficult to pin down. I also had a horrible thought that,  given the age profile of many conservation organizations is not far short of my own, ( didn't enjoy that comparison a bit!! ) the ability to reach those people using social media and the like is limited. Not all are ageing cyber geeks like me ( and not terribly competent at it either) so have we a problem when calling for support on given issues?  Are we losing out on a significant proportion of potential signatories to petitions and the like? I wonder!  I look through Facebook suggested contacts and don't recognize too many of the faces or names, and those I do are twenty years younger at least! And yet the membership of the RSPB is extremely large, but comprised of many people contributing to the above profile and for whom Twitter, I suspect, is something associated with birds ( My God, I'm going to get pilloried for that! It was a joke and helps to make the argument! ).  As an example, the current number of signatures on the E-petition calling for the adoption of Vicarious Liability is less than 8000, when 100,000 + is needed for it to be considered for debate in Parliament.  If you haven't yet signed, then shame on you and do it NOW!!

But seriously, the question of mobilising support clearly needs a lot of thought before any strategy for action relating to raptor persecution, Hen Harrier protection and the like is developed. The RSPB has had "card petitions", or similar in the past, but can all this be extended much further to draw in the cyber savvy younger people whose affiliation with the social media is virtually permanent.  I'd also dearly love to know how many active birders are in the UK too. This body of support,  plus the addition of the more less active and interested people, must be immense and suggest change could be brought about by organized action. (that's opposition to raptor persecution practices incidentally, not an Arab Spring type uprising taking siege of Whitehall,   lest our cyber chums at Cheltenham start reacting to key words.  Just thought I'd better mention ). Time will tell,  but we need to do something and desperately soon.