Wildlife and climate campaigners to take to streets to call for action on nature

Green groups from the RSPB and National Trust to Extinction Rebellion will take to the streets of London for a march in June calling for action to “restore nature now”.

TV presenter Chris Packham, who will be joining the wide range of groups including the Woodland Trust, the Wildlife Trusts, WWF-UK and the Climate Coalition for the protest, said it was time for everyone to take to the streets to demand action from leaders.

Members of Extinction Rebellion, who use non-violent direct action to campaign for environmental action, are also joining the legal, family-friendly protest which organisers say could be the biggest ever march for nature.

The organisations are calling for all political parties to commit to greater funding for nature-friendly farming, making polluters pay, more space for nature, an Environmental Rights Bill and fair and effective climate action.

Mr Packham said: “As conservationists and environmental groups, we have to accept that the dire state of nature – both in the UK and globally – has happened on our watch.

“So now’s the time for bolder action, stronger demands, braver tactics and a new way of working – together.

“Ticking a box, signing a petition, sharing a post – it’s simply not enough when we are facing the collapse of our living systems.

“It’s time for all of us to take to the streets, shoulder to shoulder, whoever we are and demand our leaders Restore Nature Now.”

The wildlife and environment organisations who are supporting the march warn the general election expected later in the year must be a turning point for nature, before it is too late – with the UK described as one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth.

They are encouraging members of the public to “unite for nature” by joining the demonstration on the streets of central London to Parliament Square

Beccy Speight, RSPB chief executive, said people in the UK cared deeply about nature, but last year’s “state of nature” report, which is drawn up by conservationists, government agencies and academics, showed there had no let-up in the decline of our wildlife over recent decades.

One in six species were now at risk of being lost from our shores, she said.

“But there is hope: while we know the threats, we also know the solutions.

“But we simply aren’t acting fast enough or at a big enough scale to tackle the nature and climate crisis.

“We’re calling for urgent action and a much stronger commitment to nature’s recovery from politicians of all parties because we cannot afford to wait any longer.”

Etienne Stott, Olympian and Extinction Rebellion UK spokesperson said: “I’m really excited that Extinction Rebellion UK is going to be out on the streets with such a great variety of friends and allies who are all passionate about protecting and restoring nature.

“Biodiversity loss, habitat destruction and climate breakdown are now at breaking point.

“I’m deeply worried and I know huge numbers of others are too. The only way we are going to do anything about it is if we all come together and pull in the same direction.”

He said the demonstration was a start to bringing the fight to the mainstream and “getting everyone who cares about our planet and all life on Earth to bring about radical and urgent change”.