Words for wildlife: A guide for talking to candidates this General Election

The wildlife we love needs us to act now.

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Get nature on the agenda

If each of us speak up, we can let the candidates competing to become our future MPs know that protecting and restoring our natural world must be a priority in the next Parliament. 

This guide has useful tips, facts and example questions to help you have effective and impactful conversations with your parliamentary candidates and canvassers. These can be either on your doorstep or at a local hustings.

Why is this needed?

The UK is one of the most nature-depleted places on earth. Much of our wildlife is continuing to decline. We’ve seen 38 million birds vanish from our skies in the last 50 years, 97% of our wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930s, and a quarter of all our mammals are at risk of extinction in the UK. Despite this, there’s still time to bring nature back from the brink. We know what needs to be done, and have the technology to do it. What we need now is the political will to drive this change. You can help achieve that.

Talking to your candidates – get nature on the agenda

How to have an engaging conversation

Politicians need to know that their constituents care about nature, are concerned about its current state and expect them to act to restore it. The most effective way to convey this is by discussing your own views and concerns. This could range from access to nature in your local area, to the UK's struggling wildlife populations and the lack of action being taken to address this. Speaking in your own words about what you think will have the strongest impact will help them understand that nature needs to be a priority for them in the upcoming Parliament if they’re elected.

Conversation tips

Be clear

Letting your candidate know from the outset that you want to talk about nature can help get your conversation going.

Bring up local issues

Politicians respond well to issues they can champion in their communities. Think about how you’d like to see nature restored or improved in your constituency.

Be persistent

Politicians sometimes don’t want to be pinned down to detail. Don’t be afraid to ask them for specifics and commitments.

Be concise

Think about what you might say, and what subject area you might want to focus on, beforehand, especially if you’re going to a hustings!

Stay respectful

Everyone has different opinions, so remember to refrain from using hostile language and behaviour. It’s not only the polite thing to do, it’ll help convey your point of view in a more memorable and effective way.

Follow Up

If you still have concerns or questions, don’t be afraid to ask about the best way to stay in contact with your candidate to continue the discussion both during and after the election. Continuing to engage by expressing your concerns for our wildlife is essential to holding politicians to account and ensuring they act on their commitments to protect our natural world.

Questions to get nature on the agenda at hustings or on the doorstep

The conversations you have will depend on your personal views, your area and what country you’re in. In the UK, laws affecting nature have largely been devolved and are mainly decided by the national governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. So, the upcoming Westminster election will have the biggest impact on England’s nature and that is the focus of this guide. However, a future UK Government will still have an impact some areas across all four countries, such as funding nature’s recovery.

If you can only ask one question, ask this:

"Can you commit that your party will have a comprehensive plan to halt the decline of nature by 2030?"

The decline of nature in the UK has reached critical levels, with many species in decline and natural habitats deteriorating. We’ve seen 38 million birds vanish from our skies in the last 50 years, 97% of our wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930s, and a quarter of all our mammals at risk of extinction. To bring nature back from the brink, we need a comprehensive, ambitious plan from our political leaders to meet our legally binding nature targets that puts wildlife’s recovery at the heart of policy making.

Find out more. 

"Will you support an increase in the funding available for nature friendly farming?"

The vast majority of the UK's land is dedicated to farming, yet agricultural practices can contribute to environmental degradation. For nature to recover, it needs to be at the heart of our farming. To achieve this, the UK Government needs to increase funding to support farmers in transitioning to more sustainable and nature-friendly farming methods. Around 70% of the UK's land is farmed, meaning that land being cared for in a nature-friendly way is essential. This shift could reduce the reliance on intensive farming techniques and harmful chemicals, ultimately fostering the return of biodiversity and improving air and water quality. 

Find out more  

"If elected to the Westminster Parliament, what measures will you take to expand and enhance protected areas to meet the UK Government’s commitment to safeguarding 30% of land and sea for nature?"

Currently, only 7% of England's land is designated for nature conservation, and much of it is in poor condition or fragmented. With the current levels of progress, the prospect of achieving the Government’s target to increase this to 30% by 2030 seems increasingly distant. Ensuring the quality and connectivity of these protected spaces is essential for the future of nature. 

Find out more 

Lapwing waking across grass looking for food.

Talking to canvassers

You’ll likely get canvassers knocking on your door throughout the election. Whilst they can’t make commitments for candidates, and might not be able to answer detailed policy questions, they provide a direct link between you and your potential future MP. Given this, it’s important you take the time to convey your concerns for nature. And if you want to talk to their party’s candidate, just ask!


A person who solicits votes, opinions, or information, typically as part of a political campaign. Canvassers often go door-to-door to engage with voters. 

A geographical area that elects a representative to a legislative body. Each constituency is represented by a Member of Parliament (MP) in the UK. 

The delegation of powers from a central government to regional or local administrations. In the UK, this applies to the national governments of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. 

General Election 
A nationwide election in which voters choose members of Parliament. In the UK, it determines the composition of the House of Commons. 

Meetings or gatherings where candidates in an election campaign address voters. These events provide a platform for candidates to present their policies and answer questions. 

MP (Member of Parliament) 
An individual elected to represent a constituency in the House of Commons. MPs participate in the legislative process and represent their constituents' interests. 

A regular meeting held by a sitting MP where constituents can come and talk about their concerns.  

Prospective Parliamentary Candidate 
A person running for election to become a Member of Parliament for a constituency. Candidates can represent political parties or stand as independents.

A young woman writing in a notepad.
Person sitting outdoors surrounded by grasses
Printable Guide Summary

Print off this summary to keep by your door or take to a hustings so you’re always ready to have engaging conversations with your candidates!