Restore Nature Now March

Some of TTW members joined the Restore Nature Now march in London on Saturday 22 June.

It was an epic day. 80-100,000 people – young, old, of every shape and size – converged in London to march from Hyde Park Corner to Westminster, with one, single demand: Restore Nature Now.

The march, brainchild of broadcaster and environmental figurehead, Chris Packham, brought an unprecedented number of organisations together for the first time. This was not without its difficulties. “Trying to get the National Trust in the same place as Just Stop Oil, the RSPB in the same place as Animal Rising, or the Woodland Trust in the same place as the Hunt Saboteurs was a challenge,” he admitted after the event. But, he went on, “I don’t think anyone made compromises. I think what was facilitated was something really important, something that effectively underpins to make a transition to a better world. And that is tolerance, patience and… kindness.”

The spirit of the wild world was with us that day, as we held the beautiful TTW banner (created by the amazing Sue Rickard) aloft. People had come dressed as foxes and owls, egrets and penguins, octopuses and fish. Amazing headdresses, giant puppets, a massive tricycle with an hourglass on its wheel, the sounds of wild birdsong amplified through speakers. Some amazing speakers too – along with Chris Packham was Dale Vince, Feargal Sharkey, Megan McCubbin, Steve Backshall, Dr Amir Khan and others.

The march concluded with an impassioned speech by Chris Packham, an inspired mix of Shakespeare’s Richard III and Martin Luther King. It moved me to tears, and deserves to be read (or watched) in full. If you’d like to watch it – and all the proceedings you can do so on YouTube. (Coverage of the march starts at 5.08 minutes).

Chris Packham’s entire speech, starts at 2:45:01 and the text is below:

“Now is the summer of our discontent. Because – we have a nightmare. Since Frankie Goes to Hollywood told us to ‘Relax’, 600 million birds across Europe have vanished. Including 65% of our cuckoos and 90% of our nightingales.

We have a nightmare.

Since the Sex Pistols pointed out it was Anarchy in the UK, 80% of our butterflies have gone. 19% of our wildlife is gone and one in six species are now in danger of extinction.

We have a nightmare.

Our rivers may be full of sewage but agriculture is the number one source of river pollution in the UK and also responsible for 35% of our greenhouse gas emissions.

And the State of Nature Reports are unambiguous. It’s principally farming policies and practices that are driving declines in insects and birds.

We have a nightmare.

Over a billion animals are confined in factory farms in the UK and the number of intensive factory farms is on the rise. Since 2016, there’s been a 20% increase in the number of industrial pig and poultry units. Factory farming is the single biggest cause of animal cruelty on the planet.

We have a nightmare.

Foxes are still ripped to pieces for fun by entitled savages and at the cost of £60 million of our money we have exterminated 230,000 badgers in an inhumane, unethical and wholly ineffective cull. That’s half the UK badger population. It’s tragic.

We have a nightmare.

It’s estimated that 1.7 million animals are trapped in snares every year in the UK. Almost a third of satellite-tracked Golden Eagles have died in ‘suspicious circumstances’ and woodcock, snipe, golden plover and pochard are still legally shot despite being in serious decline. It’s madness.

We have a nightmare.

92% of our marine protected areas are not protected from destructive fishing. And last year, these so-called Marine Nature Reserves were subjected to 100,000 hours of industrial fishing and 33,000 hours of bottom trawling. They are NOT protected. They are being trashed.

We really have a nightmare.

2023 was confirmed as being the warmest year going back to 1850. And this March marked the 12th month of world-recordbreaking heat in a row. And yet, while the world has been roasting, They have handed major oil companies 53 new drilling licenses including Rosebank, the biggest undeveloped oil and gas field in the North Sea.

But it doesn’t have to be like this.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
Because we can Restore Nature Now.
And we WILL Restore Nature Now.

We have the tools, we have the technologies, we’ve tried and tested solutions – and they work. So let’s MAKE THEM WORK. I’ve got to tell you – it’s too late for dreaming. We’ve been dreaming – and it hasn’t worked.

It’s time to wake up. And start acting. Doing things that really make a difference.
Because there is no longer a choice. The simple truth is: this is our last stand for nature. Now is the time to stand up and start fighting for all of the life that we love so much. That’s not just me, and us. And them (pointing to the houses of Parliament), it’s every one of you. Because you can make the difference. You must make the difference. You will make the difference.

Now is finally the time for the biggest battles, not the easy wins. Another dormouse reintroduction will not save biodiversity but radically reformed, sustainable farming, fishing and forestry policies will. So let’s bang on that door (Parliament) until we get them.

Now is the time to make a liveable earth a reality for all of our children. And everything that creeps, crawls, slithers, slimes and stings.

Now is the time to love Life. To love life harder, madder and faster. To love life with every last beat of our beautiful hearts.

Nature can’t act – but we can.

Nature doesn’t have a voice – but we do.

So let me hear it.
Restore. Nature. Now.
Restore Nature Now.
Restore Nature Now.”

Thanks to Anita Roy for this transcript. There are more photographs of the event on the Events page.

Restore Nature Now March in London