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Why we need to protect the environment for our wildlife

Updated on June 1, 2014
Imogen French profile image

Imogen is from West Dorset, in the UK. She works in publishing and writes mainly about the environment, gardening, and vegetarian food.

Bumblebee | Source

In 2013 several of the UK's major conservation charities joined together to produce a report on the state of Britain's wildlife and to ascertain trends in populations over the last 50 years. The results are truly shocking with as many as 60% of the species studied shown to be in serious decline, and several already-threatened species now facing extinction.

The report, entitled "State of Nature" was carried out and supported by 25 different wildlife charities, including the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), The Marine Conservation Society, The Wildlife Trusts and many more, and was also endorsed by well-known BBC TV presenter and naturalist Sir David Attenborough who introduced it at its launch. The full report can be viewed via the rspb website.

Summary of the Report

Some statistics from the summary of the report are as follows (taken from

  • 60% of the 3,148 UK species we assessed have declined over the last 50 years and 31% have declined strongly.
  • Half of the species assessed have shown strong changes in their numbers or range, indicating that recent environmental changes are having a dramatic impact on nature in the UK.
  • Species with specific habitat requirements seem to be faring worse than generalist species.
  • A new Watchlist Indicator, developed to measure how conservation priority species are faring, shows that their overall numbers have declined by 77% in the last 40 years, with little sign of recovery.
  • Of more than 6,000 species that have been assessed using modern Red List criteria, more than one in 10 are thought to be under threat of extinction in the UK.
  • Our assessment looks back over 50 years at most, yet there were large declines in the UK’s wildlife prior to this, linked to habitat loss.
  • The UK’s Overseas Territories hold a wealth of wildlife of huge international importance and over 90 of these species are at high risk of global extinction.

Why all the fuss?

These alarming statistics are a wake-up call to the country as a whole, as well as to the government to start implementing policies to protect our environment and the wildlife that lives in it. Those of us who remember the days when there were more birds and bees in our back gardens will recognise what this report is about.

This is not a slow general trend - it is an alarmingly rapid loss of wildlife in a very short space of time.

This is not just happening in the UK, but on a global scale. These statistics are a damning indictment of the human race and our lack of care and respect for our host planet. In the wider context, this report shows the impact that man is having on the natural environment: loss of habitat, changing conditions and lack of care is having an irreversible effect on the natural world.

The decline in species results in loss of biodiversity, and the eventual collapse of whole ecosystems on which the human race itself ultimately depends.

This is not a trivial matter. We need to act before it is too late.

What can I do to protect the environment?

  • Start local - plant your own garden with wildlife in mind. Provide a range of habitats with trees and hedges for nest sites, nectar-rich flowers for insects, a pond or water-feature - all animals need to drink, a wild patch that encourages native and indigenous species.
  • Reduce pollution on a personal level, by taking care with your own use of energy and resources. Recycle as much as you can, avoid using plastic bags for your groceries, be generally conscientious about litter and waste.
  • Branch out a little into your neighbourhood, encourage local authorites to consider wildlife habitats in your local area.
  • Organise local people to pick up litter in the countryside, clean beaches and get involved in looking after their own local environment. Children are very receptive to these ideas, and doing something with the local school might be a good option
  • Join a wildlife charity. These organisations do invaluable work in lobbying governments for environmental protection, recording species and working very hard to preserve the habitats and the wildlife that we have left. They do all this without government funding and rely entirely on volunteers and funding from the public. Many of them have volunteer programmes where anybody can take part in organised conservation projects and do their bit for wildlife.
  • Get involved politically. Join pressure groups such as Greenpeace, who are a major force in lobbying governments on policy change. Vote for politicians that actively endorse wildlife conservation and have sound environmental policies. Write to your MP to tell them how you feel about it.

A plesiosaur fossil.  Many ancient species disappeared during mass extinctions due to natural causes. These took place over many thousands of years, but the current extinction trend is much more rapid, and could be prevented
A plesiosaur fossil. Many ancient species disappeared during mass extinctions due to natural causes. These took place over many thousands of years, but the current extinction trend is much more rapid, and could be prevented | Source


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    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks for getting the word out, as I am trying to do the same thing here as far as I can reach in the US.

    • techygran profile image


      3 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Dear Imogen, This is a nice succinct hub that raises the alarm without blowing out our eardrums. Voted up and useful, and shared.

    • Imogen French profile imageAUTHOR

      Imogen French 

      4 years ago from Southwest England

      Thanks for reading and commenting suzette, although I wrote this a while ago the issues are still very valid, and need to be kept in the public eye.

      p.s. I have just fixed the link to the report in the first paragraph, for anyone that tried to view it and couldn't - it must have moved since I published this.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      This is such an important hub that is interesting and informative. I agree with everything you say about preserving our environment and wildlife. If we don't out planet will eventually die. Thanks for all your suggestions and tips you give to help save the environment. They are good ones. I enjoyed reading this.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      4 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hi Imogen French, what an important topic and hub. I think it is critical that we do the things you mention and begin to care a lot more. I try to clean up in a common ground area where I live sometimes, and am amazed at some of the trash I find! Plastic bags get caught up in the dirt and mud and soda and beer cans, etc. I am always amazed, and figure some of the bags got caught up in the wind perhaps and blew and blew until they stopped.

      As for my own backyard changing, I see it too like you mention in the hub. It is so sad. Just less than a decade ago, there were many more bees and butterflies to the point that I wonder, "what happened to them?" I wonder if chemicals and pesticides have a lot to do with it, and it is just heartbreaking for the greater effect it has. It takes a great balance in nature and wrecks it almost and its hard for it to recover I think. Anyway, thanks for drawing attention to a serious problem in our world. Making little differences in our own area and the other steps you mentioned can make a big difference. To the species affected, it means everything to them.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      4 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      I dont know the statistics locally, but, like you mentioned, it is happening everywhere. I like your suggestions, especially "start local".

      I am pinning this. Thanks.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Preserving the wilderness is such an important venture. I enjoyed reading this and I agree with all your suggestions for becoming involved with wildlife preservation. Thank you for a most interesting and informative hub and article!

    • Imogen French profile imageAUTHOR

      Imogen French 

      4 years ago from Southwest England

      Thanks for reading, and for your kind words billybuc. Raising awareness is what I try to do, in my own small way :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are a good writer and I apologize for not being here more often. This was well-researched and well-written. Such an important topic...hopefully things will change because of this article and others like it. Raising awareness is always the very first step of many steps that need to be taken.

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 

      5 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      It's pathetic what humans have done to destroy the earth's environment. If everyone had your attitude, the world would be a better place for all.

    • Imogen French profile imageAUTHOR

      Imogen French 

      5 years ago from Southwest England

      p.s. tobusiness - I just checked out your lovely bee-friendly blog, thanks for adding a link to this article, I appreciate it :)

    • Imogen French profile imageAUTHOR

      Imogen French 

      5 years ago from Southwest England

      Thank you audrey and tobusiness. I know the conservation charities are doing a fantastic job in many areas, and with the general public like yourselves getting involved there is some hope.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      5 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      You've done a wonderful job with this article, but those statistics makes sad and depressing reading. I support the Woodland Trust and I know they are doing some good work protecting the ancient woodland and encouraging people to be more bee friendly. They are giving away 4000 free trees to schools and local communities to plant.

      My husband and myself have been doing what we can to encourage the bees back in the garden and was delighted to see a lot more of them this year. I'm aware that people need houses but every year more of the green belt land seem to be disappearing. The pesticides we use also play a role in this disaster. Voting Up and sharing.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      5 years ago from California

      Such a fabulous hub and spot on!

    • Imogen French profile imageAUTHOR

      Imogen French 

      5 years ago from Southwest England

      thanks for commenting chitangadasharan, you're right, raising awareness and all doing our bit is essential :)

    • Imogen French profile imageAUTHOR

      Imogen French 

      5 years ago from Southwest England

      tireless traveler, you do have a dilemma with your tree, but I think I would be tempted to leave it where it is, so long as it is not dangerous. Dead/dying trees have a very useful purpose in the environment, as they provided homes for all sorts of insects, grubs and birds. If you go for the severe pruning option, the best thing is to wait until after nesting season - I'm sure the birds will find somewhere else next year. Actually the woodpeckers here in England don't usually use the same hole twice - they make a nice new one each year.

      Thanks for commenting on the article and photo.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      5 years ago from California

      A conundrum. My tree is the territory of woodpeckers in the spring. They appeared to have killed the tree. These birds are fascinating. After four years the tree appears, while leaning to one side, to be healthier, which is the conundrum. Cut the tree down or see if a radical pruning will revive it. Examining the issue from all angles I keep coming up with all sorts of ideas I have even learned how to relocate the birds. Because of all the non native plants in the area we have changed the climate. All this to say preservation of wildlife isn't really clear cut. Luckily for the wood peckers no one here likes to garden, but me and I am forbidden from heavy lifting for awhile.

      Very nice article. The bumble bee photo is stunning. If you made it the first thing on your hub it will certainly draw readers

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      5 years ago from New Delhi, India

      You have done a wonderful job by creating awareness among people, about the need to protect environment for our wildlife.

      I think each one of us should do our bit. Thanks for reminding and sharing this very relevant hub!

    • Imogen French profile imageAUTHOR

      Imogen French 

      5 years ago from Southwest England

      Hi msdora, you're right, it is not trivial. If everybody just took up one of these suggestions it would be a step in the right direction. Thanks for your comment.

      And ajayk - thanks for reading and commenting.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Really, this is no trivial matter. We have to plant more, protect more and clean up more. Your suggestions for protect are excellent. Thank you!

    • Imogen French profile imageAUTHOR

      Imogen French 

      5 years ago from Southwest England

      thanks for your comment and votes, chef. I'm glad there's people out there that agree :)

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 

      5 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      A welcome article on a very disturbing report, with good action points. You also note that this is not just a UK problem, many countries have similar downward trends for wildlife populations.

      We do need radical thinking and planning now. We all have to do a little bit and build up a viable response. The rapid decline of songbirds is an unnecessary tragedy.

      Votes and shares.

    • Imogen French profile imageAUTHOR

      Imogen French 

      5 years ago from Southwest England

      Hi Livingsta, and thank you for reading and for your votes. Raising awareness is vital, as the media and government don't seem to be paying enough attention to this hugely important issue.

    • livingsta profile image


      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very important and useful information here. We all need to raise awareness and do the best we can to help protect our environment. Thank you for sharing this with us. Voted up and sharing!

    • Imogen French profile imageAUTHOR

      Imogen French 

      5 years ago from Southwest England

      thanks for your comment and votes, sgbrown, and well done for your efforts in supporting your local wildlife - if we all did as much the world would be a better place :)

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This is an awesome article. I am always concerned about preserving nature and wildlife. There are many species here in the US that are on the endangered list as well. There are many ways which we can help and your ideas and suggestions are excellent! Living in the country in Oklahoma, I have the opportunity to help much of the wildlife by retaining our two ponds, woods and pastures. Voting this up and awesome! :)


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