Over 150 years ago in his ground-breaking paper on The Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin wrote: “Why, if man can by patience select variations most useful to himself, should nature fail in selecting variations, useful under changing conditions of life, to her living products? What limit can be put to this power, acting during long ages and rigidly scrutinising the whole constitution, structure and habits of each creature – favouring the good and rejecting the bad?”
The character of our countryside and its wildlife is the product of hundreds of years of human activity. The way we manage land has profound impacts on its wildlife. Over the last century there was a dramatic increase in the impact of human activity on the natural environment. This led to a substantial loss of biodiversity – the plant and animal species that are linked together each dependent on each other.
The richness of this biodiversity – the sheer numbers of different species and varieties of habitats is the key factor. Biodiversity is about having more, not less. Losing species and habitats reduces biodiversity which, in turn, means that the long-term sustainability of our environment is threatened with risks for our own lives and livelihoods. Concern about these issues was the reason why Green Light Trust was formed nearly 25 years ago. Since 1989 we have helped thousands of people and hundreds of communities and organisations to develop themselves, learn about their relationship with nature and create sustainable lives and a future that protects our planet.
More and more people are now aware of the crucial importance of protecting and conserving biodiversity. And many people are now taking action to protect and conserve the species and habitats that create our biodiversity and enrich our lives and livelihoods. Many of those who manage the land such as farmers and foresters are doing great work to conserve species and habitats as part of their everyday activities.
But we need to increase the momentum since sadly we continue to lose biodiversity. This was confirmed in a recent report from 25 of the UK’s most respected wildlife and conservation organisations which revealed that 60 per cent of the species looked at had declined over recent decades. More than one in 10 of all the species assessed are under threat of disappearing altogether.
Here at Green Light Trust we will continue to play our part by engaging with people and local communities to inspire and empower them to leave a rich biodiversity legacy to be enjoyed by present and future generations of people.