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Kiss the rest goodbye?

Updated Thursday 7th April 2011

Nature television presenter Chris Packham explains how he first became aware of environmental concerns

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Chris Packham
My name is Chris Packham, I'm a naturalist and a broadcaster, but I'm also very keen on doing what little I can to help the environment.  I was fascinated with wildlife from a really young age, I was crawling around on the lawn catching ladybirds and woodlice, putting them in matchboxes and that kind of stuff, but it wasn’t until much later in life of course that I became aware of environmental concerns.  I grew up in a time of save the whale and save the tiger and save the panda, but all of those creatures seemed a long way away from me, and it was only when they decided to put a new motorway through a study area where I was looking at sparrow hawks and kestrels that I got concerned about what was happening to the environment, because they were cutting the trees down that my beloved birds were nesting in.  And from then on, you know, I became increasingly aware of the often damaging impact that we were having on the planet.  My fear, if I have one, is that we’re going to have to wait for some sort of dramatic catastrophe to happen, and I mean a catastrophe in our own back yard, each of our own back yards, before we all get a big shake up and then act. 

I'm essentially pretty optimistic that we have an arsenal of abilities, technologies, practical means of dealing with environmental change.  What I worry about is the fact that we’re not doing it quickly enough, and there are several reasons for this.  One, you and I aren’t driving it, I think there’s a certain lethargy, I think we tick our box and vote for someone and hope that they're going to do the job for us when that certainly isn’t currently the case, so we really have to get up and do something about it personally.  And then when it comes to conservation, I think that again our pot of cash is quite small, many of the projects that we’re pursuing are out of date and they should be updated, we need to rethink, we need to modernise, and if things aren’t working we need to find solutions that will work, and I say I think a great many of those potential solutions are out there. 

So that’s all good, but then there is one thing hanging over that, rather like the old sword of Damocles, and that is that unless we address climate change, then we can kiss the rest goodbye, and I really don’t think yet that everyone has embraced what that is going to involve.  We need to start adapting now, and unless we adapt as a species, we stand no chance of looking after all of the other species which we share our planet with, and I like the idea of sharing a planet with a rich diversity of other species.






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