Our wildlife is in ‘crisis’ – ‘56% of UK species are in decline’ and ‘165 species are considered Critically Endangered in Great Britain’

Our wildlife is in ‘crisis’ according to a new report launched this month entitled the State of Nature, which brings together data and expertise from over 50 organisations (including BTO, RSPB, WWF, ZSL, National Trust, Woodland Trust, Butterfly Conservation et al). Britain’s wildlife is in ‘crisis’ as ‘56% of UK species are in decline’ and…

“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…

Education: “It is the uninitiated that matter…

…They are the majority, and until more of them are made conservation conscious all or efforts will be wasted.” – Maxwell Knight (The Frightened Face of Nature – unpublished – Chapter XV). “Laws, rules and regulations will not themselves solve the problems of the future of wildlife,” wrote Knight in 1964 “It is only by education…

Why can’t we all become amateur naturalists?

It is nigh impossible to change the culture of a business let alone change the culture of a planet; however, it is possible – but everything’s against us. Which is why we all need to start today. Take, for example, the food that we eat: how on Earth (literally!) are we going to provide enough…

Ministers reject second request to use banned bee-harming pesticides

“Campaigners welcome decision to turn down National Farming Union’s application for ‘emergency’ use of neonicotinoids for oil seed rape, ” reports The Guardian today (8 July). Dave Timms, Friends of the Earth’s bee campaigner, described the government’s move as “great news for bees and other wildlife”. But he said the victory is at risk following the EU…

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…

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…

So what sort of person was the real-life “M”?

To answer that question, we need to better understand the contrast between Maxwell Knight’s (recently publicised) life as one of Britain’s most talented World War II spymaster’s – the original ‘M’ – and that of an early (largely unpublicised) environmentalist. Clearly he was an incredibly gifted man who had a sixth sense for identifying and…