The American sit-com Friends had 236 episodes and each, bar the first and last, had a title which started with the words "The One...”
True friends are hugely important to the RSPB. We can achieve far more for London’s wildlife with the support of our friends than we would working alone.
The Tate Modern help us by allowing us to set-up telescopes on their Southbank forecourt so we can point out the wild peregrine falcons perched high-up on their hundred-metre tall chimney. Peregrines are true Olympians, the fastest living creatures on the planet. What’s more amazing is that they’ve slowly inched back from the brink of UK extinction and the Tate peregrines are amongst the UK’s first to colonize our cities.
Other generous friends include The Royal Parks, The City of London Corporation and the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. They all work with us in partnerships to improve their open spaces and to share the benefits and relevance of those spaces with Londoners.
There are unexpected friends too. We have strong links with London Underground. They own a lot of land and have worked hard with us to create management plans for their embankments that ensure passenger safety while providing wildlife habitats that look good for passengers and residents without being expensive to maintain.
Then there’s Crossrail. The RSPB is often accused of being anti-development. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are against stupid development, as everyone should be. Crossrail have thought through their impacts and have been prepared to invest in something that will bring future benefits. Stuff dug-out of the tunnel is loaded on to barges, shipped down the Thames and up the River Crouch to Wallasea. Here it’s forming part of Europe’s largest conservation and engineering scheme. The aim is to combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding by recreating ancient wetland landscapes.
London’s wildlife is even more diverse than its human residents, but unlike us humans, it can’t be administered by any one council or land-owner. This is where the London Biodiversity Partnership can play a major role by pooling and sharing collective knowledge and resources.
This matrix of mates is helping London develop without destroying its natural heritage. But London is pushing its boundaries and the vision of development going hand-in-hand with the needs of nature and people is now being extended over larger areas. The RSPB calls it Futurescaping. Like us on Facebook, support the RSPB or join the conversation on Twitter and together, we’ll be The ones to step up for nature.