This Saturday (30 March), Manx Wildlife Trust's Patron, His Excellency, the Lieutenant Governor, Sir Richard Gozney, launches the charity's Wilder Future campaign as part of the Wildlife Trust’s UK wide work to raise awareness of the loss of wild places and their wildlife. MWT's Marketing and Membership Manager Graham Makeapeace-Warne explains more:
Wild places on the Isle of Man are home to a fascinating variety of wildlife but they are becoming smaller, more isolated, more polluted and more disturbed, largely as a result of human activity – they are becoming less wild and less able to support their dependent plants and animals. Some sites, such as MWT’s 24 nature reserves and the Island's 21 Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) - just 4.5% of the Isle of Man’s land area – are being protected, but even these face challenges to their long-term survival. Many other wild areas are in stark decline and have been for decades including ponds (dubs) and the Ballaugh Curraghs wetlands which have reduced by a third since the 1990s.
Wild places also provide services on which human life depends, but we are diminishing their ability to support us. From soils, carbon storage, nutrient cycling, water purification and regulation to life enhancing recreational activities, a healthy natural world is vital to our survival.
The issues facing our natural world are many and varied and this can make it difficult for people to understand them and take appropriate action. The natural environment may not always feature highly enough in decision making especially where economic considerations are valued more than ecological ones. However, we believe that people do care about the natural world and we want to build on this during our Wilder Future campaign.
We are aiming to:
- create a greater awareness of the issues facing our natural environment, exploring them through the themes of Wildlife’s Value, Species lost, Farming and Fishing, Making space for Wildlife and Sustainability. Specially commissioned information displays can be seen at the Court House, Ramsey, from 30 March to 6 April and in the atrium at Isle of Man Airport from 17 to 24 August. See MWT's events programme for more details. School programmes and MWT events, including those featured in Manx Nature, will contribute to the campaign’s aims.
- Collect the views of people about the Island's natural environment via an online survey and at venues hosting Wilder Future events.
- Use data collected via the survey and at Wilder Future events to demonstrate to politicians that people support the need for a healthy natural environment, with better legal protection for our wildlife. Designating more sites as ASSIs and extending our marine nature reserves beyond our coastal waters is urgently needed.
- Encourage more people to take action to help the natural environment, whether through making changes to lifestyle choices, volunteering or lobbying MHKs.
- Our end goal is a Wilder Future for the Isle of Man and its people, securing benefits for future generations of both people and wildlife.