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Something for Something

Posted: Tuesday 11th March 2014 by TheWildlifeTrustsBlogger

Nature can make people happier and healthier (photo: Paul Harris/2020Vision)

Everybody loves a bargain. Trying to get ‘something for nothing’ is embedded within the deepest psychology of us all. Unfortunately, when this is at the expense of the natural environment, what seems like a bargain is actually masking significant costs not just to wildlife, but to people, communities and the economy.

Today with the launch of the 2nd State of Natural Capital report, we will reach a new level in our understanding of how our hardwired urges to get something for nothing are reflected in the current state of our natural environment. More importantly, the report will hopefully also shine a bright torchlight in the direction we need to travel to address the decline of nature and to secure, within a generation, a substantially better natural environment than the one we have inherited. 

The natural environment – and everything it provides us with for life - underpins our social and economic future and therefore, as a species, we must apply all our intelligence and expertise to making things right. We need to take time to listen to that other innate sense we have inherited over millennia but are in danger of losing – that nature, a healthy natural environment, is good for us, because we are a part of it.

The time has come to plan properly for nature’s recovery, to work out and put into place the legislative, social and economic frameworks that will enable it to happen. Politicians will need to show strong leadership. They will also need to start talking about the things that people actually care deeply about – the quality of places, nature, natural beauty and our connection to it – and how by putting back wildlife into our landscape, towns, cities and day to day lives, that this supports the other things people care about – jobs, risks to their homes, their health and the health and wellbeing of their children.

The 2nd State of Natural Capital report might not make the headlines but it is helping to create the ‘mood music’ for the critical debates we need to have about the quality of places, our quality of life and quality of childhood.

Deep down we all know that there is no such thing as something for nothing. So let’s start a new era of something for something, where nature is no longer sacrificed at the expense of a good bargain, but is treated as one of our most treasured belongings.

Paul WilkinsonPaul Wilkinson is Head of Living Landscape at The Wildlife Trusts.


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