Simon Barnes: Why acting for wildlife can make your life better

Friday 23rd September 2016

Simon Barnes environmental campaigner with SRWT Rob Miller  Photo; Kate DawsonSimon and Rob watching the wildlife on our reserves. Photo, Kate Dawson

Simon Barnes, the esteemed wildlife journalist and author of over 20 books, including How to be a Bad Birdwatcher and most recently, The Meaning of Birds, gave an inspiring talk at our AGM on 22nd September.

Entitled ‘A View from a Lofty Place’ the talk centres on the theme of the need for human connectivity with non-human life; and begins with the idea that “we’ve been getting it wrong for the last 5,000 years…that to love wildlife is childish.”

Simon describes how everything in society aims to push us away from the wild world, and that we need to rethink the notion that the ‘wild world’ is something that we can visit and come back from refreshed before re-entering the ‘real world’.

Describing the moment he admired a flock of Avocet on a trip to Sri Lanka as “Feeling like a shepherd looking up at a flight of angels”, Barnes is almost evangelical about his calling to connect with nature, not only in far flung corners of the globe, but here in the UK.

Praising the many examples of wildlife conservation around the world: “good people, doing good work, in good places”, he says that helping to protect the wild world - whether by helping to dig ditches or through donating funds- is not a duty, but necessary “because it makes our own life better”.

You can watch Simon’s talk here.