Simon's Blog: Out Standing in a field
I was lucky enough to attend Latitude music festival recently. What, might you ask, has a music, literature and comedy festival got to do with the environment? Quite a lot, I think it is the environment, or the setting of the festival that I think is one of the key reasons for its success.
As I walked around the venue at Henham Park, situated in the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, I heard artists and festival goers all commenting on the natural beauty of the venue. I would even go as far as saying the festival would not be the national success it is without the backdrop of one of England’s finest landscapes.
This illustrates a wider point. The natural environment appeals to our sense of wonder and enjoyment but can also support economic well-being. Latitude festival is perhaps the biggest example of this but businesses up and down our nationally designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty benefit from the environment they operate in.
Add to that the opportunity for organisations such as the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Woodland Folk to engage with young people and spark an interest in the natural world. While some of those diving beetles may not have appreciated being hauled out of the lake by an excitable child, if they could have appreciated the bigger picture they may have accepted the ignominy.
If at least some of those children develop an interest in wildlife then what the Chief Executive of Greenpeace described during an interview at the festival may be slowed, halted or even reversed. He spoke of the sixth great extinction, this time of our wildlife species. As he said nature can bring such benefits to all of us we would be foolish to carry on in this manner.
Perhaps we all need to take the time to share our love of the natural world with friends, family and colleagues. It can bring benefits to our health and well-being and bring benefits to our economic well-being too. Help make sure we don’t lose it. Once it has gone, its gone.
First published in the East Anglian Daily Times July 2017