It’s hard for us all to acknowledge, but humanity has on average wiped out 60% of all animals and plants since 1970. Our own vast population and growing consumption of food and resources is destroying the web of life. We are changing the climate, destroying forests, polluting our oceans, and squeezing wildlife into ever smaller corners.
At the same time we are continuing to hunt, poach, and trade wildlife. From migrant birds to elephants, sharks to geckos, rare orchids to trees, we steal, kill, and collect almost incalculable numbers of wild animals and plants.
Intensive agriculture has seen enormous changes in land use, huge declines in biodiversity, and massive increases in the use of toxic chemicals – fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides.
And all of this is taking place to a background of climate change, desertification, floods and wildfires.
As much as we may not like to admit it, we are engaged in a War On Wildlife.
But together we can help tackle that war. Together we can share solutions, encourage and support each other, educate and inform.
Welcome to The War on Wildlife Project.
In September 2018, broadcaster and naturalist Chris Packham launched ‘A People’s Manifesto for Wildlife‘ at an event in London.
Conceived to “publish a set of informed ideas from a parliament of strong, independent voices…ideas which, if implemented today, would make a huge difference for wildlife tomorrow“, the Manifesto presented a series of essays by eighteen ‘Ministers’ highlighting some of the most critical concerns affecting the UK landscape and its species, each accompanied by ten commandments – ‘no-brainer’ solutions (as Chris labelled them) to the problems.
The Manifesto arose because of Chris’s strong feeling that the destruction of wildlife and the environment was becoming normalised. On his website, he wrote that, “It’s time to wake up. We must rouse ourselves from this complacent stupor, because we are presiding over an ecological apocalypse and precipitating a mass extinction in our own backyard. But – vitally – it is not too late. There is hope we can hold to, and there is action we can take.”
To promote the Manifesto on social media, Chris – and of course many of the supporters of the ideas it held, including many of us here at Lush – used the hashtag #waronwildlife.
In the summer of 2019, during a meeting in Poole, a group of us met and wondered whether it was time to resurrect the hashtag and sentiments behind the War On Wildlife. Lush, for example, had been working on numerous recycling and regeneration projects for many years and has a strong tradition of supporting campaigns that protect wildlife. Could a team supported by Lush enhance that work by using the concept of a War on Wildlife as a ‘container’ for the work we were are already doing producing podcasts, videos, and articles to highlight our conservation concerns?
Could we perhaps revisit the Manifesto, talk to the ‘Ministers’ that wrote it, discuss whether there had been changes – either positively or negatively – to the issues they wrote about.
And thinking about that “hope we can hold to, and action we can take” that Chris wrote about, how about asking conservationists, authors, thought-leaders, and activists for advice on how to tackle the War On Wildlife in a series of one- or two-minute recordings? We could call those WoW Shortcasts…
Of course, we would need a Twitter feed. And a website. Something relatively simple, based perhaps around a WordPress theme that wouldn’t require a degree in coding and IT to update. Or to navigate around. A website that could provide a platform for like-minded individuals and organisations. Something like this website in fact.
And the point of all of this work?
The War on Wildlife is real and it’s happening right now. We need a platform and a place to discuss solutions and support each other.
More to the point, we think that our wildlife needs this project.
So here it is.
- The War On Wildlife Project and website is coordinated by Charlie Moores. Charlie co-founded the group Birders Against Wildlife Crime and is a former trustee of the League Against Cruel Sports. He began podcasting under the banner Talking Naturally and has been working with Lush since 2015.