Simon's Blog: When it's gone, it's gone

Many years ago, when acting to as a stereotypical 7-year-old with a bar of chocolate my mother said to me ‘when it’s gone it’s gone’. This random memory came back to me while out walking in one of our superb Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty recently.

The incident that brought back that memory was the sight of a butterfly feeding on the plants on a roadside verge. A recent report highlighted how many of these roadside verges contain plants and animals which contribute to the qualities our countryside.

We have all heard of the gloomy predictions about wildlife decline and may have experienced the loss or damage to a favoured location. In many cases the words my mother said to me all those years ago could ring true for our native wildlife. While some species may be able to move or adapt, in many cases when they have gone they have gone.

Does this matter to more than a few dedicated natural history nerds? I would suggest it does. The fabric of our countryside appeals to many and many of us seek rest and relaxation in the outstanding landscapes we have here in the East of England.

The countryside today can bring multiple benefits: walking and cycling can improve our health and well-being, the outstanding landscapes of the Dedham Vale and Suffolk Coast & Heaths Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty support a tourism industry worth £250M per year as well as several thousand jobs, contributing to our economic security. Farming contributes to our food needs.

The productive landscapes we enjoy are a product of many years toil by the farming community and in some cases funds from the public purse. This brought plentiful food to many (but not all) in recent years. You do not have to go far back into history to a time when food was much scarcer.

Many of the health and financial benefits accrue because of the wonderful countryside here in the East of England. Wildlife forms an integral part of that. We should cherish it. Remember when its gone its gone.

First published in the East Anglian Daily Times March 2017

By Cathy Smith on October 20th, 2017

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