'Do one thing' for biodiversity for a healthier and more sustainable future

Jon Murcott, Breakthrough Community Enterprise/ Nationwide Forestry Solutions, and winner of the Maintenance and Management Award and Overall winner of the 2016 BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards urges you to 'do one thing' for biodiversity...

Firstly, if you’re reading this may I say thank you before we get started as it means I have an audience, and I am always better with an audience!

The terms environmental biologist, ecologist, eco- warrior, sandal wearing tree hugger and beardy pipe smoking veggie monger have been applied to people like me for as long as I can remember. We are now entering a period however where the state of our environment, the number of species it supports and the amount of pollutants we inject into it is being taken a little more seriously…………………………well compared to what it used to be at least, we are moving the right direction.

I say this as a person in his mid-forties who has spent his entire life banging this drum, and rubbing his temples with frustration. The project that we won the Overall Prize at The Big Biodiversity Challenge 2016 (Symbiosis) was the net result of 14 years’ worth of hard work creating a unique business model that I originally designed at University and started in the real world as a result of a Basil Fawlty “that’s it” type moment.

In simple terms, we are the most educated, affluent, healthy inter-connected and technologically advanced generation that has ever been in the recorded history of humanity (I am ignoring aliens with the Egyptians and Mayans if you believe that sort of thing) and yet the catastrophic damage that we as a generation are currently subjecting our globalised environment to is unequalled, and we are conducting this in the full knowledge of the implications. As people, we can only actually effect two things in our lifetimes; Have a positive effect on the people around us and leave our plot in slightly better state for the next generation of care takers than we received it. It could be argued that in many respects we have not been doing too well with either of these. I am however an eternal optimist and there is still plenty to play for.

Organisations such as CIRIA represent a sea change and it is an honour to be carrying their banner.  I won’t go into the details of our entry as you can read the full story on Ciria’s website and anyone reading this has an open invitation to come along and see it in the flesh, but in short by doing “the right thing” we have increased the Biodiversity across all applicable animal and plant groups on a brown field Industrial Estate by using recycled and rescued materials and without significant cost and have successfully reared over 20,000 trees from UK seed which now live quite happily in forested areas across the country.

CIRIA’s strapline, ‘do one thing’ is on the money and as a generation if all of us followed that principle to the letter, the world our children will inherit from us will be a healthier and more sustainable one. We will continue to follow the principles that have got us this far and I would enthusiastically encourage everyone to do the same.

Thank you for your time in reading this and I look forward to planting a sapling with you at some point.