Best Coalition or Collaboration

State of Nature

Nature became even more important to us all during the COVID crisis. Walks in parks and the countryside, hearing birdsong, and the sound of the ocean were a lifeline for our wellbeing. But we need to look after nature too.

The Campaign

Politicians said they would protect the natural world, but the destruction of nature continued unabated. With our country one of the most nature-depleted in the world, action to restore wildlife became critical. This campaign sought a commitment to protect nature in law and turn the tide for wildlife by 2030, at the latest.

The State of Nature campaign launched in February 2021 with a simple aim: to ensure that the ‘landmark’ Environment Bill included a legally-binding target committing the Government to take action to tackle wildlife loss in England.

Demonstrating the power of sector-wide working, State of Nature united dozens of organisations together around a single amendment and pivoted individual policy, advocacy and campaign strategies to focus on it.

The campaign launched to widespread media coverage. A spoof newspaper about nature’s future was mailed to every MP on April Fool’s Day and multi-platform social media actions took place in the following months. Mental health groups joined in to advocate for the benefits of nature for people’s wellbeing.

A petition, urging the Government to include a nature target in the Bill, was signed by 208,498 people.

The Change

The Environment Act became law on 10 November 2021. The campaign ensured that this new law was a major win for wildlife – making the UK the first country in the world with a legally binding target to end wildlife’s decline by 2030.

This legally binding target guaranteed action from Government to protect our most at risk wildlife and declining species – like hedgehogs, water voles, dormice, birds, bees and butterflies.

This should drive more action and investment from government and the private sector and was probably the biggest win by the environment sector in lobbying for measures to support nature’s recovery. The Environment Act has provided a focal point to drive other government departmental nature targets, as well as a policy to follow.

The Future

The fight is far from over to restore nature. Radical action is required across all government departments to turn this target into reality.
State of Nature will make sure that this target becomes a ‘net zero for nature’ – a benchmark against which policy is tested and a lever for stronger action by government.

This legal commitment to restore nature is a landmark step forward that wouldn’t have happened without the State of Nature Campaign.

Who else was involved?

The campaign was run by the biggest environmental coalition in England, Wildlife and Countryside Link. 70 organisations including RSPB, The National Trust, Woodland Trust and The Mental Health Foundation supported the campaign. High profile celebrities and politicians also lent their name and backing.

Big names who backed the campaign included:

Chris Packham CBE, Steve Backshall MBE, Stanley Johnson, Dr Mya-Rose Craig, George Monbiot, Feargal Sharkey, Peter Egan, Iolo Williams, Megan McCubbin, Dara McAnulty, David Lindo, Simon Barnes, Michael McCarthy, Mark Cocker, Stephen Moss, Peter Marren, Mary Colwell, Henny Beaumont, Mark Carwardine, Roy Dennis, Nicola Davies, Hugh Warwick, Helen Pilcher, Benedict Macdonald, Gill Lewis, Dr Helen Scales, Robert Macfarlane, Hannah Stitfall, Dr Amir Khan, Sophie Pavelle, Hilary Benn MP, Roger Gale MP, Barry Gardiner MP, Lillian Greenwood MP, Lord Krebs, Caroline Lucas MP, Kerry McCarthy MP, Jessica Morden MP, Baroness Natalie Bennett, Baroness Kate Parminter, Lord Randall of Uxbridge, and Baroness Maggie Jones Lord Lucas and the Earl of Caithness.