At Festival of Nature we are all about celebrating this beautiful, complex, awe inspiring natural world and the amazing people and organisations working tirelessly to keep it that way.
But nature is in trouble. As we change our landscape to meet our human needs in the short term, we run the risk of pushing out the wildlife that we love and the ecosystems that we ultimately depend on.
As conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts, we want to inspire positive action for nature and ensure that nature is central to decisions being made by people, businesses and policy makers. But, with so many different environmental issues from marine plastic to climate change and species extinctions to pollinators, it’s no wonder people feel paralysed and confused about what actions they should be taking.
That’s why this years Festival of Nature includes three new, pioneering elements to help the 100+ organisations looking to inspire positive action at Festival of Nature 2019.
ACTIONS FOR NATURE
From plastic straws to signing petitions, eating less meat to planting a tree, there are so many different specific actions that people can take to support wildlife it can be hard to see the wood for the trees.
That is why we will be encouraging Festival visitors to follow four simple “rules of thumb” for how you can make a difference and take action for nature, with some top tips and inspirational ideas from the over 100 organisations that you can meet at Festival of Nature
- TAKE LESS for Nature – Reduce your personal impact on the natural world by cutting down waste and consumption
- CHOOSE BETTER for Nature – Switch to more sustainable products and services, supporting a nature friendly economy
- DEMAND MORE for Nature – Lend your voice to encourage policy makers, businesses and institutions to be more nature friendly
- GIVE BACK to Nature – Give nature a helping hand by volunteering, creating a space for nature or supporting a charity
For a long time we have had the evidence, research and reports to show that nature is in trouble, and often highlighting what we need to do to get things back on track – but data alone does not inspire action. From climate change and air quality to population trends and biodiversity, those working directly with the data have been frustrated – “Look! We know what’s going on here! Why isn’t anyone taking this seriously?!”
If we are to use this wealth of knowledge for nature’s benefit, at scale with meaningful impact, we need to tell the story behind the data—to reveal the soul behind the numbers. How can we use data stories to inspire positive action for nature and what are the pitfalls and risks of misrepresenting the science and opening ourselves up to criticism?
On Monday 3rd June we’ll be hosting a one day workshop bringing together researchers and practitioners from the biological recording and citizen science community with communications professionals from across the spectrum of policy, conservation, media and research. Together we will explore the opportunities and challenges of using data to communicate about biodiversity issues as well as using communications techniques to support citizen science outcomes.
CITY NATURE CHALLENGE
Between 26-29 April 2019, Bristol and Bath united under the Festival of Nature banner to compete with 185+ cities on seven continents and show the world how amazing our region is for people and nature during the 2019 global City Nature Challenge. Defending our 2018 title of most observations in Europe, together we embarked on an epic contest: to discover and record as much wildlife as possible over 4 days.
Ordinary people have been watching and monitoring nature in the UK for hundreds of years, making our little cluster of islands one of the most well observed areas in the world. Dedicated volunteers and expert enthusiasts have created huge databanks providing baseline knowledge of the distributions of thousands of UK native and non-native species, which is an extraordinary achievement – but this is still just the tip of the iceberg. Conservationists, researchers, planners and policy makers need more complete, up to date information to make better-informed decisions to secure a future for local wildlife.
This makes wildlife recording a really tangible way that people can take action for nature simply by sharing their observations with those who can process the data and put them to use.