Hyde Park, central London- a huge crowd, ranging from butterfly conservationists to biologists, owl enthusiasts to hunt saboteurs, waits by a gargantuan stage, with a vast array of placards and their stalls- what could this all be for? This was two hours before Chris Packham's People's Walk for Wildlife, the first peaceful protest for Britain's wildlife. All ideas about the future of Britain's environment were met here with one common goal: to have a voice. When I got there, I met Arjun Dutta, Alex Liddle, and briefly spoke to James McCulloch and Mya Bambrick (both from Birdcamp) and Alex White. In the two hours before the infotainment, I caught up with Mark Avery and Stephen Moss, got my hands on the new London National Park City map (which will help me with my 2nd edition of my London nature reserves map) and had a quick glimpse of Bill Oddie!
Alex, Arjun, my brother Aryan and I with Bill Oddie
Shortly after, my brother and I were interviewed by zoologist Lucy Cooke, which was broadcast onto the large screen next to the stage. The interview was swift, so I had no idea what to say, but managed to talk a bit about the conservation of Bitterns, and giving advice on how to campaign for wildlife. If I had known what to say, I would have spoken a lot about natural history being taught in schools, and encouraging young people to create clubs or societies related to nature. At the infotainment, compelling speeches were made by young naturalists such as Mya-Rose Craig, Dara McAnulty, Bella Lack and Georgia Locock, followed by a powerful speech by Dominic Dyer.
I then marched with Arjun and Alex to Downing Street, but unfortunately Arjun had to leave after we had crossed onto Pall Mall. For one hour, chants of 'keep the ban' and 'stop the cull' echoed through the streets of Westminster, and I saw a Peregrine fly over the Hilton Park Lane- a reminder that central London isn't all just pigeons. After an hour, Chris Packham, Mark Avery and the inspirational George Monbiot concluded the event with gripping speeches, and Chris Packham, along with six young naturalists (including Alex) went to Downing Street itself, to deliver the People's Manifesto for Wildlife.
What an amazing event this was, getting to be amongst thousands of others campaigning for different aspects of wildlife. The outcome? I hope all our voices would have been heard on this day.