The natural world is fascinating and beautiful:
this alone would be reason to protect it. But we also depend on functioning
ecosystems for a variety of ‘services’ that we often take for granted. Healthy
seas, soils and pollinators are vital for food and fibre production. Natural
ecosystems regulate the flow of water in the landscape, protecting us from
flooding and keeping our drinking supplies clean. Climate stability, which has
been so important in the development of civilisation, depends on the natural
world’s ability to regulate greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. In other
words, we cannot survive without making space for nature.
For our local ecosystems to thrive and be resilient in the face of change, we must do everything possible to encourage species diversity, abundance and habitat connectivity.
Further reading: What Nature Does for Britain – Tony Juniper, 2015 Making Space for Nature: A review of England’s Wildlife Sites and Ecological Network – Sir John Lawton et al, 2010
We value cultural heritage
The genius of humanity is our unique ability to
build on the experiences and advancements of our ancestors. The lessons of the
past are embedded in our landscapes, buildings and traditional practices,
providing the reference points from which we understand progress.
Preserving local heritage preserves cultural diversity at the global level. A sustainable, prosperous and peaceful future will be built by combining old ideas in new and innovative ways. We must not limit the range of experiences we can draw on by destroying or forgetting our past.
Further reading: Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity – UNESCO 2002
We value beauty
Beauty is almost impossible to define. It is subjective, often to the point of being divisive. However, beauty is a fundamental part of the human experience. We seek it in nature and appreciate it in every aspect of our lives. Beautiful architecture, gardens, paintings and music make us feel, think and appreciate being alive. We should strive for beauty in everything we create, even the functional things. Threats to natural beauty, such as careless overdevelopment, should be challenged at every opportunity.
We believe in sharing
Beauty, nature, knowledge and cultural heritage
are public goods. Whoever the custodians of these valuable resources may be,
the point of conserving them is to ensure an ongoing benefit for the local
community and society at large. They should be available to support education,
research, informed citizenship, recreation, mental health and the economy.
In some cases, such as sensitive ecosystems or
archaeological sites, care must be taken to ensure that public access doesn’t
cause damage. This is a management challenge for the custodians, but the
principle of sharing should always be respected.
We believe in global responsibility and citizenship
We all have a responsibility to behave in a way that respects everyone’s right to freedom from suffering and poverty. We must be conscious of the way local actions can have global impacts through trade, pollution and environmental degradation.
Climate change is a key issue in this regard. We in the wealthy, developed world have been the largest contributors to the problem, yet it is the global poor who are most vulnerable to its effects. Those of us with the greatest capacity now have an obligation to take the lead and create a more sustainable future for everyone.
We believe in the power of science and reason
There are many ways to make sense of the world,
but we believe that a scientific approach gives us the best chance of making
meaningful progress in our work. Decisions and solutions based on strong
evidence and systematic monitoring are more likely to deliver the results we