November 16, 2013

New Networks for Nature

I gave a reading at the New Networks for Nature conference yesterday, and it was wonderful: a room full of interesting people from disciplines as varied as politics, sculpture, conservation and poetry, all come together to discuss where we're at in terms of our relationship to nature, and what more needs to be done.

There was good news and bad: I loved hearing about the Heygate Estate and the plan to preserve the huge London planes that tower over the site, and it was fascinating to hear how citizen scientists can have a real impact on conservation and how letters to government ministers can actually have an effect. And I was blown away by Harriet Mead's sculptures of animals made from iron and incorporating agricultural implements and tools.

We also discussed the problems the big NGOs can have in setting egos aside to join forces, talked about the badger cull and HS2, and touched on the issues surrounding the idea of monetising natural resources in order to make them part of the economic landscape. I came away unsure about whether the outlook was good or bad, but keener than ever to add my voice to those trying to find a way to represent the value of the natural world to those yet to be convinced.