The summit comes at a time when threats to the natural world are regularly at the top of the news agenda, including the recent United Nations IPBES global assessment report on biodiversity which demonstrated that nature is declining at an unprecedented rate with over 1 million species threatened with extinction across the globe. In the UK, 56% of species assessed have declined since 1970, rendering the UK amongst the most nature depleted countries in the world. It’s increasingly clear that nature is in trouble and Suffolk Wildlife Trust hopes the Nature Summit will provide a local platform to discuss what a wilder Suffolk could look like.
The evening will feature speakers, panel discussions, Q&As with young environmentalists, live art (from street artist ATM) and music. The Trust’s head of conservation, Ben McFarland will discuss opportunities to create a wilder Suffolk and Dr Amy-Jane Beer, biologist, writer and contributor to Chris Packham’s Peoples Manifesto for Wildlife, will talk about the need for everyone to have access to good quality green spaces. Defra Minister and Suffolk Coastal MP Thérèse Coffey will open the Summit and said: "I am delighted to be taking part in this nature summit as we all have to step up our actions to tackle climate change and biodiversity decline, and I’m pleased that the UK government is showing global leadership on this."
Ipswich MP Sandy Martin will discuss opportunities for nature in the town and the audience will hear from experts in nature-friendly farming, urban and marine wildlife and a panel of young environmentalists will discuss their own commitment to creating a wilder world. The summit will end with a keynote speech from Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, who will talk about current opportunities to create strong and ambitious environment laws, before the audience will be invited to stay and enjoy a live set from electric funk ensemble Fishclaw.
Ali North, Hedgehog Officer at Suffolk Wildlife Trust will talk about urban wildlife at the summit, she said: “Although we are becoming increasingly aware of the threats faced by wildlife and wild spaces, there is cause for optimism. Actions that individuals take such as enthusing neighbours to create wildlife friendly gardens, are making a difference and it’s increasingly clear that collective action can create a positive force for change. This is why we’re holding a Nature Summit, to start the discussion on what a wilder Suffolk could and should look like and how we must all come together to make it happen.”
Ahead of the summit, the Trust has been asking delegates and Suffolk residents more widely about their nature priorities for the county. They have been doing this via an online survey which asks them to select two statements from the below list which they feel will have the biggest impact on improving the county for wildlife. The results will feed into discussions on the evening.
There’s still time to take part in the survey, which can be accessed at:suffolkwildlifetrust.org/nature-summit
- Adopting nature-friendly farming practices
- Developing resilience to climate change by joining up landscapes (e.g. nature-friendly gardens, hedgerows, nature reserves and farmland.
- Improving our towns for wildlife
- Creating more opportunities for children and young people to enjoy and learn about the natural world
- Protecting our seas and marine wildlife
- Bringing more land under the protection of conservation organisations
- Limiting threats to wildlife and wild places by encouraging environmentally sensitive and sustainable development
Tickets for the Nature Summit have sold out but the event can be viewed live on Facebook from 5pm on Friday 7 June at: www.facebook.com/suffolkwildlife