Nature is not just for environmentalists

You don't have to be a green zealot to care about the environment.

Tarric Brooker


As the atmosphere surrounding environmental issues and climate change becomes more politically and emotionally charged, the criteria of what constitutes a good environmental citizen continues to narrow.

In days gone by, if you recycled, made a deliberate choice about driving an environmentally friendly vehicle, and composted your green waste, you were generally considered an upstanding and responsible, environmentally aware citizen. But in recent years, prominent environmental groups have narrowed that criteria considerably, to the point where anyone who flies to their annual holiday on the sunny beaches of the Mediterranean may no longer make the grade.

Unsurprisingly, this has led to the impression that the likes of eco-activist Greta Thurnberg and members of climate-change advocacy groups, such as Extinction Rebellion are alone against the world in the fight to save the environment.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Many people in nations across the globe care deeply about the natural world and their environment. While some may be sceptical about the extent of mankind’s contribution to climate change, or believe reducing carbon emissions to zero is unnecessary, many of the same people who hold these now scorned viewpoints also believe strongly in protecting the environment.

If you were to ask 100 random members of the public on any high street in Britain if they thought that policies should be enacted to protect fish stocks, encourage reforestation and ensure biodiversity, I would imagine a large majority would agree that they should.

After all, there aren’t many people in this world who purposefully want to cut down the rainforests and consign endangered species to extinction.

While the public is generally reticent to commit to supporting environmental groups as a whole, on an issue-by-issue basis there is often broad public support for protecting the environment. But instead of environmentally focused political parties and advocacy groups pressing hard for policies such as saving the rainforest or protecting fishing stocks, with the overwhelming support of the general public, the focus generally remains on an ‘everything or nothing’ approach.

Policies such as protecting fish stocks could be passed through parliament and start having a positive effect on the environment in the here and now. While their contribution to combating climate change would surely be relatively minor compared with the more comprehensive proposals environmental groups advocate, small-scale achievable projects would still be a step forward.

It is not hard to understand why so many people feel it is necessary to pursue the goal, say, of zero carbon emissions globally, given the potential consequences of inaction laid out by scientists. But environmentalists also need to learn how to take a win, even if protecting fish stocks or a policy ensuring biodiversity in an area of the countryside are relatively minor aims compared to the overall goals of environmentalism.

Despite the mistaken impression that hardcore eco-warriors are alone in the battle to save the planet, there are members of the public who are ready and willing to back the policies and changes necessary to make a difference right now.

Rather than greens solely focusing on a great environmentalist crusade, perhaps a portion of their energy would be better spent pursuing those smaller-scale proposals the public tends to support. If environmentalists could only adjust their sights, and seek to win public consent for achievable proposals, they might be able to start saving the environment today.

Tarric Brooker is a journalist.

Picture by: Getty Images.

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A Game

4th October 2019 at 11:25 am

Good article, and I’m loving J Knight’s comment and quote:

“The Urge to Save Humanity is Almost Always Only a False-Face for the Urge to Rule It”

Blind Freddy can see that is exactly what is going on. The use of children, the ceaseless upping of the ante, the lack of appeasement. They see every gain as a sign of increased power and influence as opposed to just sensible policy. Their pursuit of what isn’t working, will never work, shows fundamentally, they don’t care an iota about the environment.

One of their constant suggestions is population control. My solution is, those inclined to superglue themselves to public fixtures… roll em down the mountain. They are proving to be superfluous to requirements. Seriously… we don’t need people this stupid. And they are drowning out smarter voices, better people.

James Knight

2nd October 2019 at 5:46 pm

XR are the last bastion of anti Enlightenment thinking since the fall of the caliphate.

“The Urge to Save Humanity is Almost Always Only a False-Face for the Urge to Rule It”

Puddy Cat

2nd October 2019 at 5:35 pm

Once upon a time the super rich of this country use to run vast estates with idyllic wooded lands set in never changing environments, I suppose that was ecologically sound. The fact that to achieve this picturesque scenes they would submerge villages under landscaped lakes and alter the further landscape to provide perspective, irrespective of who else’s life they impinged upon.

These movements depicted here are ante humanity, grossly unfair to people in Britain who do not live in amenity rich environments such as London. That so many of us need to take breaks abroad to be sure of decent weather seems to be lost on people that, say, live in London and can distract themselves with tens of theatres, all of the country’s ancient loot and art. Can listen to a live orchestral concerts every day of the week using world renowned musicians. Can eat the very best cuisine in a variety of sumptuous surroundings.

The majority of this country is shorn of any of this expertise, this distraction and with the building-over of the Green Belt has reduced what little amenity there is in nature, lost to development.

This is all part of the greater priggishness of the nouveau riche people who live in such endowment and vast pleasure resource are so indifferent to the lives of others. So grimly spoiled that they can spend hours of their time, because of their wealth and certainty, working to deny those that (through Brexit) we find that they despise and abhor.

Frank Sutton

2nd October 2019 at 5:25 pm

“reticent “; the word you want is reluctant.

Dominic Straiton

2nd October 2019 at 2:38 pm

Refuse to “recycle” “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

provincial suburban

2nd October 2019 at 1:32 pm

Were I to say that we need to reduce the use of fossil fuels because they are finite and we have to rely heavily on unstable regimes for their supply. However I don’t believe in the anthropogenic cause of climate change. This statement would be roundly condemned by the likes of ER even though adopting this policy would be have the same effects as their stated aims. The need to be ideologically pure seems more important that building a united front with people whose policies are broadly in line with their aims.

A Game

4th October 2019 at 11:11 am

P Suburban:
Dead right, there. Never a question of why oil is a politically a bad product. They couldn’t give a rat’s. I’m against fracking at this point in most areas – why tear up a place that already has a purpose, to get at some gas at a time when economically, its not needed. Leave it there for future generations. That there is an environmental argument for the same goal – great.

Stuart Mack

2nd October 2019 at 12:39 pm

We also forget the many projects in companies and research facilities that are taking place eevry day. Aircraft manufacturers and engine designers are always striving to make aeroplanes and transport more efficient. People are striving to develop ingenious ways of generating energy and recycling waste. No doubt many companies are investing in new ideas to maximise profit, but at the same time they are develpoing ideas which are beneficial to the environment.

Stephen J

2nd October 2019 at 8:36 am

Environmentalists make no distinction between bad practise and lack of knowledge.

One of the most prominent examples of what is referred to as climate change is the steady desertification of the planet’s grasslands which cover a substantial part of the world’s landmass. Is this caused by an actual or even a projected increase in mean temperature? Or is it primarily being caused by bad land management?

A farmer/ex-politician Allan Savory from Zimbabwe reckons it is the latter and he has set out and managed to prove his case.

You takes your choice, you can act the right maggot and make yourself a genuine pain in the arse, or you can find out what the real cause of a particular issue is.

Jerry Owen

2nd October 2019 at 7:58 am

Groups like XR are now counter productive, blocking the streets is counter productive . The hysteria of the ‘ green lobby’ is counter productive.
Man does not cause climate change, the evidence simply isn’t there. What tiny rise in Co2 of late attributable to man is virtually immeasurable. Co2 is at very low levels on Earth , we need more not less, it greens the Earth.
Patrick Moore founder of Greenpeace, is well worth watching on YouTube. He is the perfect environmentalist.
We all want a clean efficiently run planet , but adversely affecting our lifestyle comforts is needless.

Ven Oods

2nd October 2019 at 7:42 am

Shame about ‘that criteria’.
I still expect that once all the kids realise that their stance means not being driven to school, they’ll become as conflicted as some of those they criticise.

Ian Wilson

2nd October 2019 at 5:36 am

It’s called “crying wolf”. The more we get criticised by the mass of hypocrites flying around the world etc., the more we just ignore them.

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