The more things change…

Mike Clarke

Thursday 26 July 2018

Yellowhammer perched on a yellow flower calling

Next year will be crucial for our mission of saving nature.

I gave an interview to last weekend’s Observer, which was given the headline ‘one last chance to save endangered species’. However, as you would expect, we are not just looking at the next 12 months, we are preparing for the next decade and beyond. 

Which means looking at what we can do as an organisation and the role we need to play for nature and those who care about it. New challenges are emerging as existing threats are changing, so we cannot afford to standstill, we need to support and nurture our natural world across the UK; on our reserves, in our communities and where each of us lives and works.

We are approaching a significant milestone as next year will mark 130 years of the RSPB. In that time we have become and remained an effective organisation because we have changed with the times, responding to the greatest threats to our natural world. 

Our message has resonated with people, and we are now Europe’s largest nature conservation charity and the world’s biggest youth nature conservation organisation. 

To be an effective voice, that is worthy of the backing of over a million members and countless more supporters we have had to work hard to remain relevant. Just like nature we have evolved, so that what we do and how we do it have changed. But, we have never deviated from why we do what we do. We give a voice to nature and all of the people that care about our natural world. 

In the last century just about every aspect of daily life has changed, but regardless of social, political and economic shifts the RSPB has stayed true to its mission to save nature. The pace and scale of change in the world around us is getting faster and more profound.  Our natural world is vanishing before our eyes, and we need urgent action to save our wildlife and the habitats they depend on. 

To rise to the challenges of today and the future we will become more focused in our work, and we need to do more to inspire and encourage others to play their part. 

 We will continue to save species and take an active role in ensuring our most threatened wildlife can recover. Through our reserves and working with land owners we will aim to not simply set the scene for the governments of the UK to meet their targets for land that is well-managed for nature, but this will be the right land in the right places to make the biggest difference to nature. On and around our coasts we will be pushing for urgent action and the creation of essential protections to reverse the drastic declines in both our fish stocks and the populations of many seabird colonies, creating the conditions so that our seas are well-managed for nature too. 

This is not something we can do alone, so we must look at saving nature through people. We need to not just inspire people from all walks of life from politicians to school children to recognise and understand their connection with nature, but we must motivate and provide the tools for every individual to take action and every organisation to recognise it can be part of the solution. This will mean raising awareness of not just the threats to nature, but also the benefits that come from a healthy and vibrant environment, the difference an individual can make as a volunteer and the impact a private or public sector organisation can deliver.

This will not be a simple process, but it is necessary. Inspired by our amazing heritage and track record of evolving we will reshape the way we work to meet the threats to nature. And, recognising that with limits on our resources we will look at how we can be innovative and inclusive so everyone can play a role as we look at saving nature in the UK and our Overseas Territories, working with local and international partners as well as guiding our Governments in setting the global agenda.

With the support of our passionate supporters we are confident we can bring everyone together to save nature.

Last Updated: Monday 10 September 2018

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