Will you ‘leave it wild’ on International Biodiversity Day?
The United Nations has proclaimed 22 May the International Day for Biological Diversity, to raise awareness of the importance of our precious ecosystems. Admittedly, it’s not the catchiest name for an international awareness day, but anything that encourages us to pause and think about the variety and variability of life on Earth is worth celebrating in our book. We are currently sleepwalking our way through the sixth mass extinction, with around 200 species becoming extinct every single day. One in seven native species in the UK is facing extinction and more than half are in decline. As a result, the UK is now one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. These are mind boggling statistics – and consequently it can be hard for people to engage with them – and perhaps harder still to feel empowered to act. But the good news is that we can all do our bit to boost diversity, starting right now. Today, we are proud to be launching a new campaign called Leave it Wild with Jordans Cereals, encouraging everyone to leave a wild patch for nature, just as Jordans farmers do on their farms. It’s great news for gardeners, who are effectively being asked to put the hedge trimmers down and their feet up this bank holiday weekend, and it seems to have struck a chord, with the story already featured in Metro, Daily Express, Daily Mail, ITV News and the Press Association. It seems our very British obsession with manicured lawns and perfectly coiffed topiary could be inadvertently doing a disservice to our furry friends. A new survey commissioned by Jordans has found that half (49%) of us are gardening more during lockdown and over a third (33%) of people admit to being horticultural perfectionists and striving for the perfect lawn. But in actual fact, letting your grass grow and encouraging small patches of untamed nature will not only create a welcome home for wildlife, it will also provide a vital lifeline for pollinating insects such as bees, hoverflies and butterflies. Mia Hartwell, sustainability manager at Jordans Cereals, explains: “Over-gardening can actually do more harm than good, so Jordans and The Wildlife Trusts are encouraging people to #LeaveitWild and follow the lead of Jordans farmers, who commit 10% or more of their land for wildlife. Biodiversity supports all life on earth so we must do everything we can to protect it. Let’s take the pressure off ourselves to be perfect and celebrate natural beauty, not preened perfection!” Dr Craig Bennett, CEO of The Wildlife Trusts, adds: “The UK is one of the most nature-depleted places in the world and yet we know how important it is, as so many people during lockdown are seeking comfort in nature, connecting to wild places and wildlife close to home. That’s why we’re keen to support Jordans’ #LeaveItWild campaign; by leaving a corner of your garden a bit messy, not mowing the lawn or growing wildflowers in a window box, you can really help to provide food, shelter and stopping places for butterflies, bird and bees where you live – and by acting together we can start to bring wildlife back.” Isabella Tree, author of ‘Wilding’ and co-founder of the Knepp Wildland project, comments: “During lockdown we’ve seen people connect with nature in ways we haven’t seen before. Suddenly there’s been the time to stop and listen - without the distractions of traffic and planes. Everyone is talking about birdsong. We’ve recognised what a lifeline nature is in times of crisis. Whether the soil we manage is in a back garden, a roadside verge or a window box, we can all do our bit. We can allow corners of our gardens to go wild. And we can connect with each other, even if it’s just by so much as a hole cut in the garden fence for a hedgehog, to become a wildlife corridor, part of a network, the arteries of life feeding nature back into our towns and cities. And that is as much a mindset as anything else – not so much about doing – as letting go.” #LeaveItWild Top Tips
- Only cut the grass once a month with a ‘Mohican’ style trim so that some sections are left longer than others.
- Forget five star hotels, build your bugs a hostel from old loo rolls, sticks and dry leaves.
- Leave pollinator-friendly plants such as dandelions, nettles, daisies and buttercups to grow.
- Cut a hole in your fence for hedgehogs and other small animals to get through.
- Plant wildflowers or throw a bee bomb to boost biodiversity.