My passion for wildlife was stimulated in my teenage years, mainly thanks to my Mum (a biology teacher) who made me look at the world differently and being inspired by writers such as Paul Colinvaux. This early interest developed into biological research in my 20s, when I did practical conservation work in places such as the Comores and Mongolia.
Today, any free time I have I spend pottering around the flatlands of East Anglia or escaping to our hut on the Northumberland coast looking for wildlife and castles with my wife and children.
I studied Biological Sciences at Oxford and Conservation at UCL, and worked at Wildlife and Countryside Link before spending five years as Conservation Director at Plantlife.
I joined the RSPB as Head of Government Affairs in 2004, became Head of Sustainable Development in 2006, before becoming Conservation Director in 2011.
Earlier today an RSPB delegation led by my boss, Mike Clarke, joined other NGOs and green businesses in a show of support for the green economy in front of Treasury and handing in a letter to 10 Downing Street outlining the case for action (see image below).
This event supports a campaign that we launched this week with Stop Climate Chaos to call on the UK Government to support the green economy. Our message is that the green economy is working – 1 million green jobs already, and last year the green economy was responsible for 1/3rd of all growth – but the UK Government needs to do more to keep on building it. The stats can be found in a report here.
The challenge is clear: we need to cut our carbon emissions to save nature. If we fail, scientists warn that up to a third of all land based species could be committed to extinction by the middle of this century.
We’re asking Government to make a long-term commitment to appropriately located renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Energy Bill this Autumn, and calling for international aviation emissions to be included in our national carbon accounts and targets.
You can play your part by joining our campaign here.
In a separate development we have (with Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and WWF-UK) written to the Chancellor George Osborne following reports that he views climate change campaigners as the ‘environmental Taliban’.
The letter says ...
We are writing in response to the report in today's Independent newspaper that you have referred to parliamentary climate campaigners as the "environmental Taliban".
We would be most grateful if you could confirm or deny the story, as it appeared in the newspaper.
If the story is accurate, please could you be specific about which individuals, MPs, Ministers or organisations you are likening to the Taliban.
I look forward to his reply.
Couldn't agree more , I feel really let down by the Chancellor and his constant sniping at the environment. We need clear commitment and consistent messages from Government if we are to build a greener future for this country. Their Greenest Government Ever aspirations are looking pretty tattered just now.