The RSPB was founded as a campaigning organisation, by women seeking to ban the trade in wild bird plumages for hats that was driving species to extinction in the late 19th century. It took the Society’s early campaigners 32 years to secure that first major victory, the Importation of Plumage (Prohibition) Act, and we’re still in it for the long haul today.
Our campaigns team is made up of Steven Roddy, Steph Landymore and Kim Matthews – our job is to help you get involved in influencing the decisions that affect the wildlife you care about. You can find out about our campaigns here, and on the campaigning web pages: https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/campaigning/.
Want to hear all our latest campaigns news by email? Sign up to be an RSPB Campaign Champion: https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/campaigning/become-a-campaign-champion/, and download our Guide to Campaigning to help with your own campaigns too.
Why Nature’s Heroes? It takes a community of us doing something, however small, to save nature. Join the conversation and share your stories and campaigns in the forum.
It’s spring, and our nightingales have returned, swifts and swallows are back and breeding, and turtle doves and cuckoos can be heard calling on the breeze. Our migratory birds are coming back and they’ve crossed Europe from Africa to get to us.
Today marks exactly one year since we launched our Defend Nature campaign, joining hundreds of other organisations in the UK and across Europe under the umbrella of #NatureAlert to defend the Nature Directives, the laws that protect our shared nature.
These laws underpin a network of over 900 important and iconic sites for our wildlife across the UK and have given bitterns, red kites and avocets the protection they needed for their numbers to turn from sharp decline to rising and thriving populations once more. The Nature Directives set a level playing field for every country in the EU, so no single one can trash their environment for an economic advantage over a neighbour.
We spoke up for nature protection, so what was the result?
The scale of your response to the European Commission’s review of the Nature Directives, calling for them not to be weakened and instead properly put into practice, broke records and influenced MEPs and Environment Ministers across Europe (including our own, Rory Stewart MP) to stand up for them too - see the full story of what you’ve helped achieve here.
Whilst over half a million of us voiced our support for the laws that protect our nature, the Commission was also conducting a full, evidence-based review into how well they work. There is an overwhelming amount of both science and practical case studies to prove the effectiveness of these laws, but the draft findings were clear that problems occur where they aren’t implemented and enforced properly.
But we’re yet to hear from EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella what the future of these vital laws will be: the conclusions haven’t been published. In the coming weeks, the European Commission is scheduled to finally share the results of the “fitness check” of the Nature Directives.
Will the Commission go from #NatureAlert to action?
So now is the time, one year on from the launch of the campaign that made Commission history for its scale, to remind Mr Vella and his 27 Commissioner colleagues that we believe the Nature Directives are fit for purpose, and we want to see concrete action to ensure they can do an even better job than they already do.
Our Birdlife partners across Europe are calling on Commissioner Vella to do just that. Once the “fitness check” is published, the Commission needs to work on a clear way forward – a proposal for full implementation of the laws. If you’d like to add your voice to this pointed reminder that public support for our nature protection hasn’t gone away, please join Birdlife Europe’s Thunderclap on May 16th at 12.00 to urge the European Commission to get moving from #NatureAlert to action.
Here in the UK the country is considering the implications of the forthcoming EU referendum. Whatever the result on the on 23 June, the Nature Directives will continue to matter for our migratory wildlife, which of course doesn't respect political boundaries. These laws ensure that as our birds cross continents each year, they and the stopping points they rely on have the same level of protection across much of their route, which is why we must continue to fight to protect them.