We’re delighted to have been involved in a new #GetNaturePositive initiative, driving action for biodiversity across sectors ranging from tourism to fashion and finance.
The Get Nature Positive website and campaign explores the challenges facing biodiversity, suggests actions, and provides examples across all the sectors it discusses.
In tourism those challenges include invasive species, climate change, pollution, general over exploitation and land use change. They sound like big international issues, but they are all taking a toll, even here in Devon.
Everyday wildlife is under threat
In fact, within developed countries like Britain, we think one of the biggest problems is the constant drip by drip erosion as development leaches ‘everyday wildlife’ from our landscapes without taking opportunities to build nature back in. Everyone finds reasons why the little bit of damage their new building, car park, fence etc causes doesn’t outweigh the economic benefits. And slowly but surely we all get poorer while we think we get richer.
At Wheatland Farm and eco lodges, our strong environmental policies mean we try to do things differently. Every time we make a change, even a small one, we ask ourselves how it can be done without damaging nature – and preferably how it can actually benefit our Devon wildlife. That doesn’t just mean on site, it also means thinking through purchasing decisions and waste disposal.
The Wheatland Farm case study on the Get Nature Positive site explains our thinking. Basically, we know we can’t fix the biodiversity and climate crises alone. We can’t even hold the line here at Wheatland Farm unless others join us in acting positively for nature and wildlife. But we could – if everyone takes action now.
Devon’s wildlife needs more than nature reserves
We all need wildlife everywhere, not just in special places. Our own experience at Wheatland Farm clearly shows you can’t just protect nature in nature reserves, no matter how hard you try. Our pocket handkerchief corner of Devon is beautiful, and diverse, especially Popehouse Moor Site of Special Scientific Interest. And the wildlife value of the rest of our land, especially the meadows in front of the eco lodges, have risen hugely since we arrived in 2006. But if fewer butterflies are flying across the countryside each summer, then our own little colonies become isolated and more vulnerable to bad weather or other challenges. If they wink out, there’s no where close for them to re-establish from. And some of our wildlife comes from further afield – or should do. When we first arrived at Wheatland Farm we could hear cuckoos calling in spring. We haven’t heard one for nearly a decade now.
Holiday providers can help
Ordinary small scale holiday and tourism businesses really can help. Nobody can fix all the problems alone, but every accommodation provider in Devon (actually, everyone with business or domestic premises) could do something. We need to keep more space for nature in our daily lives and to provide the stepping stones wildlife needs to move across human-dominated landscapes. It could be a window box planted for pollinators. It could be a different mowing regime around a car park. It could be planting and nurturing a locally-scarce species of tree. If you’ve only got space for a little action, you can still make it count. How about swift boxes on high eaves? What about a tiny pond – something the size of a baby bath is still valuable. Better yet, join us at Wheatland Farm in making biodiversity an essential consideration in all your business decisions.
Choose a holiday with wildlife in mind
Visitors to Devon can help too. Just by choosing your holiday, you can contribute. Everyone who stays in the eco lodges at Wheatland Farm is supporting and financing our different way of doing things – whether they’ve come specifically for a wildlife rich holiday or just to visit family locally, attend a wedding or whatever.
Do something positive at home!
The Get Nature Positive campaign is mostly aimed a businesses, but there are many schemes where individuals can join together and make a difference too. Here in Torridge and North Devon there’s the Pledge For Nature scheme for example. Wherever you live, there will be opportunities to be part of something better. It could be as simple as doing a big butterfly count, a garden bird watch, adopting a verge, volunteering locally… the list is endless.
Follow the Get Nature Positive Campaign
If you’re keen to follow and support this campaign, look out for social media posts with the hash tags #TogetherForOurPlanet and #GetNaturePositive. And if you’re a like-minded tourism business we’d love to hear from you. Let’s spread the word together.