Green Brexit: Farm subsidies ‘must be earned’ – Michael Gove

Michael Gove, as environment secretary, has made Greenpeace UK's day by saying that farming subsidies must be earned and benefit the environment. Looking for a 'green Brexit,' Michael Gove may only be prepared to hand out payments when farmers agree to protect the environment and enhance rural life. "Huge news! Michael Gove has just said [...]

Should urban developers be forced to contribute to nature’s recovery in the UK?

By Simon H King With one in seven of the UK's wildlife species at risk of *extinction should property developers be encouraged (or forced) to contribute to nature's recovery? (*State of Nature report, 2016). 'The natural world needs our help as never before,' warns Sir David Attenborough in the forward to the State of Nature [...]

‘More than 800,000 songbirds illegally killed’ on British military base in Cyprus – Robins and blackcaps are among the birds being trapped for food…

See The Independent online - The Express - The Guardian - BBC News

“Is there to be no room for the Arts?”

"This is the age of science”, is the cry from ministries and other authorities, and it is true that science must play a large part in the lives of our future citizens. But do we truly want or need a nation of scientists where each person can claim that he or she has attained some [...]

The beginning of something great? “Young people urge UK politicians to help safeguard nature”

"Young people" hit the headlines this week for all the right reasons - to share their 2050 vision for nature (#VisionforNature). Let us applaud these nature-protecting protagonists for making themselves heard above the daily noise of grumpy adults. They have spoken. Now, we must listen... what's in the report written by the A Focus on [...]

Chapter IV – goodbye to wildlife?

In this heartfelt chapter of The Frightened Face of Nature, Maxwell Knight drops his guard and invites the reader to consider the unthinkable - "the virtual disappearance of nature". "Does such a question as that heading this chapter stem from the neurotic imaginings of a fanatic," he asks, "or is it one that can reasonably be [...]

As long as there are two songbirds still singing, the percentage decline can’t get any worse

In just forty years between 1970 and 2010 the global Living Planet Index (LPI), which measures more than "10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, has declined by 52 per cent." (source: WWF Living Planet Report 2014). The World Wildlife Fund’s and ZSL’s LPI report states that, “Habitat loss and degradation, and [...]

Maxwell Knight sang praises of the amateur naturalist

Maxwell Knight played a significant part in a number of fields; herpetology was his particular love and he produced a number of scientific papers on this subject as well as adding to national and local records and, through his books and broadcasts, encouraging an appreciation of reptiles and amphibians amongst the British public. The filing cabinet contains letters [...]

Maxwell Knight and The Frightened Face of Nature manuscript

Nature: friend or foe?

“Many people think that animals of all kinds can be neatly put into groups and labelled Friend, or Foe; or Harmless, or Harmful. Unfortunately, nature does not work like this, and there are very few creatures in this country that can be described as wholly beneficial or equally destructive…  This business of friends and foes [...]

Why didn’t Maxwell Knight publish The Frightened Face of Nature?

Maxwell Knight was aware of the furore and criticism from chemical companies and others when Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring in 1962. Indeed, he credits her work in his unpublished manuscript. She wasn't the only one in those years who drew attention to environmental problems and was criticised for not being “proper scientists”; [...]