Fridays for Future and the business of biodiversity

20 September 2019
Claire Hector

Today across the world, millions of people, from Australia, Asia and all the way up here and right to the Isle of Wight where we’re based, are out in their streets and parks to show their awareness of and desire for action on the Climate Emergency. The latest IPCC reports demonstrate stark evidence from across the board that human action is causing both the Climate Crisis and Biodiversity Loss… to the point of mass extinction. It’s not new news and actually it’s common sense not rocket science… but it’s only just getting out there.

It’s hugely important that here on the Isle of Wight, an island community, and beyond, is aware of the risks posed by biodiversity loss, climate change, sea level rise and increased weather events, and is taking action to mitigate. The IW Council has declared Climate Emergency which is great, with deliverable action. And hats off to our schools and to local groups from XR and all over for today!

We attended the Isle of Wight Council’s Environment and Sustainability Forum yesterday. Run by officers at the IW Council and open to all, the forum is helping to better inform projects and interventions by the local authority and Island organisations. It’s helping to provide advice, encouragement to projects now and in the future, supporting the right action at the right time and in the right place with partnerships forming to take practical, useful action for change.

Whether or not we are personally interested in the environment doesn’t matter – whether you’re striking today, attending forums or driving half a mile in a massive SUV, we are ALL in it and part of it and are affected by it. People are nature, simple. Find out about it, make informed decisions and recognise that it’s no longer business as usual.

But before you get overwhelmed, individual action DOES make a difference – everyone can do something. Better still, our ability to team up in the places where we live and work, schools, neighbourhoods, offices and elsewhere is enormously powerful. Shared experience and knowledge, inter-generational, cross-discipline collaboration is essential. Talking to our friends, neighbours, the fella on the street, the woman on the desk opposite, about what we are all doing has the power to form new partnerships for practical action.

Here, the Arc Group, which includes Artecology Ltd and The Common Space and a whole host of partners, inform, advise, engage and deliver nature-based solutions, work for wildlife and people wherever possible, to help shape healthier more sustainable communities of both. We work to our Shaping Better Places standard.  Every day we see reasons to despair, but every day we see and make reasons to be cheerful.

Here’s one – snaps of our revisit this week to a green space and orchard we established (as part of an otherwise frustratingly not best practice development!) – these are trees planted with the help of volunteers several years ago include disease-resistant elm, hazel, walnut, oak and more.

The Isle of Wight and the UK are full of people with the know how and spirit to help make a brighter future, and the Island especially as a UNESCO Biosphere, with a direct link to the UN and part of a global family, can draw on and disseminate our challenges and our wins with 700 other Biospheres too.

Here’s to making every day a Friday for Future!