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Windscreens Clear - Danger Ahead

Let’s get this absolutely clear. If we lose our wildlife, we lose our future, indeed everything.

When Wild Justice emailed me asking what I and my party would do for nature I thought quite carefully before writing this.

I’m a naturalist politician. I do the politics principally to help save as much wildlife as we can, the better to represent those voters that understand the dire situation we are in and where I’m coming from. I am brave enough to support Real Hope: Real Change for all the issues that face us. But wildlife is my passion. It’s visceral.

I will bravely stand up in any forum, on any platform in any house or palace, to give voice to wildlife. I am not worried. I’ve swum with great white sharks after all and I’ve held a bird on the edge of extinction, seen cut gorilla hands in bush markets in Gabon, Amazon deforestation, bleached coral reefs, and so much more.

Creatures are innocent to the degradations and destruction wielded upon them in the name of profit. Having taken form so far below ourselves, they are regarded as expendable, externalised from the bottom line. But they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and creation of this unique earth. Their loss is our loss and a lonely planet is a grief too far.

The Green Party’s philosophical basis is clear:

“Only after the last tree has been cut down,

Only after the last river has been poisoned,

Only after the last fish has been caught,

Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”

And how close are we to seeing this apocalyptic outcome coming to pass. Closer than you might think. Read the stats, ask questions, seek the truth.

I challenge all other parties to show me their policies on restoring nature. I ask them to support the introduction of the Natural History GCSE, and the local designation of the Forest of Dean as a UNESCO Biosphere.

But if you ask the other parties what they think of nature what do they say? Do they lump “the environment” as an issue near the bottom of their agendas after economy, NHS and migration, missing the elephant in the room (pun intended although elephants, like all creatures, can’t vote for their future).

Do they even understand what poisoning the earth actually means - putting people and planet above obscene private profits. What about food chains, predator prey cycles, specialists versus generalists, alien invaders, the interdependencies of plants and animals in the creation of fully functional ecosystems, national parks that prefer a minuscule return from sheep farming to the full economic, social and environmental potential of a rewilded landscape.

And what about the ecosystem services we cannot afford to do without!

And then the inability for species and their habitats to adapt, let alone evolve, to the changing climate, the seasons, the record heat.

Both the Green party and I advocate for greater education, bridging the nature deficit disorder gap prevalent in our culture, teaching the deepest value of wildlife and the benefits they bestow on our intrinsic well being, reconciling the protection of biodiversity with its sustainable use.

In my neck of the woods, the once beautiful River Wye has become a regular toxic, open sewer, particularly during heatwaves. ( And the Severn is not far behind.)

A child asked me where have our salmon gone? Relegated to some videos and wildlife programmes I fear. Like the eel. Then she said what’s an otter, the name dropped from the children’s encyclopaedia for lack of use.

When Therese Coffey, the last but one (?) minister for the Environment was interviewed by the Breakfast News programme earlier this year, her final, passing comment was that our rivers have never been in such a good condition. That one comment said it all.

And so if Green MPs are elected in this election, they will fight for the resources needed to protect, monitor and then enhance nature. Funding to resource Natural England, the wildlife watchdog was cut by 66% by Liz Truss in her time as environment secretary, resulting in it being less able to enforce measures to protect and restore the nation’s biodiversity. The cuts to the Environment Agency were stinging, and disabling.

I should imagine reversing those cuts, recruiting and retaining specialists and rolling out a value change in how we relate to wildlife is what we Greens are about. It’s so insidious that the Green Party see no alternative to the parasitic influence of the private water companies and their share holders than to transition them quickly into public hands.

So I say this to Wild Justice, and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust who have finally seen the light that without political representation, our wildlife is lost. Of course I will sign up to the pledges asked of me with respect to nature. I am a member of both your organisations. Lets work together.

Elected Green Party MPs will hold whatever government is in power to account, to their pledges. We won’t judge them for their words but for their actions ( or lack of actions year after critical year). We will work with landholders and our farming colleagues to bring nature back through regenerative agriculture. We will work with economists to regulate and enforce the polluter pays principle and to localise economies for the common good. And we will work tirelessly to unite the country and bring it back to the top of the biodiversity table as urgently as we can.

And as for me, I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create as many ripples as I can. Look for me on our

Forest of Dean Green Party website:

Vote Green, and if you elect me as your MP, you know what you’ll be getting.

Chris McFarling

Parliamentary Candidate for the Forest of Dean Green Party.

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