Monday, April 29, 2013

RSPB........all things to all beasts!

Well, we finally have it!  A statement in Birds magazine from the RSPB's Chief Executive , Mike Clarke, on the future direction the Society is to take.

Most importantly, in my view, and simply dealt with today, is the fact that there is to be no name change as such. So let's set that time and resource wasting issue aside. Well done, RSPB !  Subsequently, if an issue does arise with Royal Patronage, then leave it to be dealt with by a few "grey suits".  The main aspect agreed on is that there is a pledge to retain birds at the heart of the Society's mission.

I'm also not fazed by the inter-dependency of wildlife view and the intention to gain the best for all forms of nature. To some great extent this has always been applied within RSPB reserves management. To promote such as the wide and sensible principle of the approach to be taken is, well, terribly sensible! After the odd less inspiring issue, the latest version of Birds magazine also seems to have got a better mix of articles and depth of subject treatment in perspective.

However, I do wonder if anything more lies behind the " However, a step change in public support is critical for the far reaching and fundamental reforms needed to tackle the threats."   Is this just a bland statement of realism or of the RSPB launching a membership drive?  If it's the latter, I would hope it would not be to the detriment of the many other conservation partners the Society works alongside given the harsh economic realities all are facing. In the public's eyes the RSPB's  newly declared  "brand" of  all nature being provided for could be a little confusing as to who does what!

By contrast, the appearance next month of the partnership report, " State of the Nation" in the UK, drawn together by over 20 scientific and wildlife organizations, suggests a healthy relationship operates between all concerned. It begs the question of whether such combined efforts can be encouraged even further. There is a compelling need to put pressure at the present time on a Government  whose attention to wildlife and environmental matters is woefully inadequate. In that context I would sincerely hope that the "the need for a re-invigorated movement for nature conservation"   can be achieved and then maintained. Nobody would deny that pressure for change and improvement needs to be harnessed to an extent never seen before. I, for one, would like to see a " Consolidation for Conservation "  movement apply across the UK, where all bodies concerned embrace certain common goals and campaign objectives. This would harness the combined energies and accompanying voices of the many people who already give much to conservation. Sadly, in these hard days of financial crisis, utter independence for the sake of it is wasteful and an expensive luxury.

Now is the time to act and present a series of  "no nonsense expectations",  both to the public and Government alike,  in advance of the next General Election. The time of benign expressions of hope, muted criticism and indulging in endless polite exchanges has gone by. The UK's conservation movement needs to toughen up and to be seen to have bite and intent...........and I'm afraid that goes for RSPB too!

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