World Wildlife Day

World Wildlife Day

Today, March 3rd, marks UN World Wildlife Day. Celebrated since 2013 to raise awareness of the world’s animals and plants. This year, it is themed “recovering key species for ecosystem restoration”, seeking to highlight the conservation status of some of the most critically endangered species of wild fauna and flora.

What’s the story in the UK?

In 2019, the RSPB released a ‘state of nature’ report, tracking how our wildlife has changed since a 1970 baseline. This report portrayed a grim picture, with species seeing an average decrease in abundance of 13%. Unfortunately, the decline since 1970 only continues the trend of the preceding centuries, where UK’s biodiversity had been massively depleted by habitat loss, hunting, unsustainable farming, pollution and latterly climate change.

Analysis from the Natural History Museum shows that we have just over half (53%) of our natural flora and fauna left, meaning we are one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. 

UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world

Reasons for Optimism?

It’s not all bad news though… public awareness of environmental issues is vibrant, and policies to protect our environment are now commonplace. The recent COP26 in Glasgow saw world leaders pledge to end deforestation and land degradation by 2030. The mantle is also beginning to be taken up by the corporate world, with 95 UK companies pledging to be ‘nature positive’ by 2030. 

But perhaps the biggest win for wildlife last year was the passing of the Environment Act. The Act will help “clean up the country’s air, restore natural habitats, increase biodiversity, reduce waste and make better use of our resources”. Importantly it will also halt species decline by 2030, with legally binding targets on species abundance, and a requirement for all new developments to deliver at least a 10% increase in biodiversity.

Let’s hope that the tide is beginning to turn, and we create a future where we co-exist with nature harmoniously.

companies are setting targets to become nature positive

What can we do now?

Even now, there are certain things we can all do to help. Aside from the obvious – planet friendly diets, reusing and recycling more, using less plastics and flying less – there are lots of little things we could all do. Here are our top 4:

  1. Plant a fruit tree: if you have a garden, plant a fruit tree. Not only will it soak up carbon as it grows, but also its pollen and fruits are great for local insects and birds.
  2. Feed the birds: On the topic of birds, putting up a feeder or a nest box can really help them – especially in cities where their habitat is threatened. And who doesn’t love the sounds and sights of songbirds in the garden?
  3. Flower Power: If you are growing vegetables on a balcony, let a few of them go to flower and you'll provide a great source of food for the pollinators. Even better, set aside a ‘pollinator pot’ of wildflowers. Many vegetables are insect pollinated, so inviting more in can only be a good thing.
  4. Go Wild: Leave a small section of your garden to go ‘wild’. Leave leaf litter or some logs on the floor, as that can benefit insects. Wild plants can create habitats for native birds and small mammals.
Things you can do to help nature

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