Green Britain…How rewilding can bring our wildlife back from the brink
Today, Dale Vince our founder put out a powerful call for rewilding large areas of Britain to save our natural spaces and wildlife from extinction.
Rewilding is simple but essential
Writing in the Daily Express as part of the Green Britain campaign, Dale explains the compelling case for rewilding and how we can achieve it.
Rewilding is a concept as simple as it is evocative. It’s simply giving land back to nature. It’s about trees and undergrowth, bees, and insects - and ultimately the return of larger mammals such as pine martins and even beavers…that’s the evocative bit, nature in all its glory.
I did my first rewilding some 15 years ago, a local farmer offered me 40 acres of land that was once woodland and had been cleared for grazing. We planted 20,000 trees, locked the gate, and walked away. The last time I went there it was like stepping into a land that time forgot - the rate at which nature works is incredible. We’ve seen an enormous boost in biodiversity, of insects, birds, mammals - not yet beavers, it’s not that kind of land to be fair. That was our blueprint, our first giving of land back to nature. It still feels good.
Most of us are familiar with the devastation of the Amazon Rainforest - it gets plenty of attention, especially from developed countries, which I find ironic and hypocritical - because we’ve ‘been there and done that’ already in our own countries. The loss of ‘Britain’s Amazon’, our natural habitats and wildlife - goes almost unnoticed.
Our ancient forests of Oak are long gone - the few that are left are being trashed now to make way for HS2. Iconic creatures such as beavers, pine martins and red squirrels we lost more recently. While in the last 50 years most of our birds and insects have gone - we’re turning Britain into a wildlife desert.
And we’re not doing it for urban sprawl, more houses, and more roads - the built environment of our country takes up only 5% of our land.
We’re doing it for food. Farming uses 75% of our land, not to grow food for us directly, but to feed the ever-increasing number of factory farmed animals. One billion animals are farmed and killed in the UK each year, it’s a staggering number.
And it’s incredibly inefficient - taking up to 10kg of plant protein fed to a cow to produce just 1kg beef. That’s why it takes up so much land.
We eat more animals now than ever before in history and to do that we’ve taken all the land from nature. The problem is not the 8 billion humans on earth, it’s the 80 billion farm animals and the land needed to feed them.
Factory farming is the root cause of the destruction of the Amazon and wildlife habitats worldwide, including in Britain. We’ve reached a place where 96% of animal biomass on earth today is made up of humans and farm animals - just 4% are wild creatures. That’s how far wildlife extinction on earth has progressed.
One of the big changes we need to make to avoid the worst of the climate crisis, is to our diets - we need to eat less meat and dairy. And from that comes the great opportunity to re wild our country. We can give half of Britain back to the wildlife we’ve taken it from and that will transform our country and our lives.
Dale Vince, Ecotricity and Ecotalk founder
Swap your SIM and save nature
You can use your mobile to make space for nature, simply by switching your SIM to Ecotalk + RSPB.
We just need 5,000 people to switch their SIM’s for us to be able to fund a new nature reserve in the heart of the New Forest. The plot of land, known as Horse Common, will be transformed into a wildlife haven making homes for Britain’s precious nature.
Swapping your SIM takes just five minutes and you can keep your current number.
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