Conservation News

Britain's loneliest bat takes to the stage

It has spent 16 winters on its own. Now a playwright has turned one bat’s sad story into a gay parable full of deceit and longing

Inspiration is often found in unexpected places and, last summer, Irish playwright Barry McStay discovered it while flicking through a Guardian Long Read I wrote about a lonely bat. The true tale of Britain’s only greater mouse-eared bat, which spent 16 winters hibernating alone in a disused railway tunnel in Sussex, inspired McStay to write Vespertilio, a new play that opens this week in another disused railway tunnel, this one beneath Waterloo station in London.

Vespertilio begins with a devoted conservationist guarding this rare bat. But what follows is fiction: a young homeless runaway, Josh, seeks shelter in the tunnel, and meets Alan, the middle-aged bat-lover. So begins a fraught relationship between two very different men. Through the poignant symbol of the lone bat, McStay’s two-hander explores loneliness within the gay community, as a story of love, deceit and possibly redemption unfolds in the tunnel.

They wear capes, they’ve got drama, they’ve got momentum … they are the gayest thing in the world!

Related: The last bat: the mystery of Britain’s most solitary animal

Vespertilio is at the Vault festival, London, 20–24 February.

Continue reading...

Sustainability is key to the fisheries bill | Letters

If the government’s plans are implemented, our marine environment will be less protected after Brexit than it is now, say signatories including Sandy Luk of the Marine Conservation Society

In a few weeks the government’s fisheries bill will return to the House of Commons. The environment secretary, Michael Gove, has claimed that his plans enable the UK to “take back control” of its waters and establish a worldwide “gold standard” for sustainable fisheries. It is a crucial part of the government’s pledge to enhance protections for the environment and deliver on its promise of a green Brexit. Yet, if the government’s current plans are implemented, our marine environment will be less protected after Brexit than it is now.

First, the bill does nothing to prevent fishing limits being set above scientific recommendations, meaning stocks will be susceptible to short-term political decisions and destructive overfishing. Second, the bill sets out admirable sustainability objectives, but it does not put any legal requirements on public authorities to achieve them. Ministers understand that the sustainability of our fish stocks is vital to the health of the marine environment and to the coastal communities that depend on them. It is in everyone’s interest for them to live up to their promises, and put in place the necessary legal provisions that will deliver sustainable fishing in this landmark bill.
Sandy Luk Chief executive, Marine Conservation Society
Debbie Tripley Director of environmental policy and advocacy, WWF
James Thornton Chief executive, ClientEarth
Stephanie Hilborne Chief executive, The Wildlife Trusts
Mike Clarke Chief executive, RSPB
John Sauven Executive director, Greenpeace UK
Pascale Moehrle Executive director, Oceana
David Bunt Chief executive, Institute of Fisheries Management

Continue reading...

Bavaria campaigners abuzz as bees petition forces farming changes

10% of German state’s voters sign, obliging authorities to preserve species diversity

A petition in Bavaria on preserving species diversity, popularly known as the “save the bees” campaign, has garnered sufficient support to enforce significant changes to the state’s farming practices.

The organisers reached their target of securing the signatures of 10% of eligible voters in the southern German state well before the Wednesday evening deadline.

Related: Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'

Continue reading...

Brazil environment minister's dismissal of slain Amazon defender stirs outrage

Ricardo Salles’ comments fuel criticism of administration’s stance, which environmentalists say is excessively pro-business

Brazilian environmental groups have blasted Jair Bolsonaro’s environment minister after he dismissed the murdered Amazon rain forest defender Chico Mendes as “irrelevant”.

Related: Climate change a 'secondary' issue, says Brazil's environment minister

Related: 'That's going to burst': Brazilian dam workers say they warned of disaster

Continue reading...

Polar bears in the playground, Insectageddon … and it’s all our fault | Jess French

Humans created these disasters, and only humans can solve them. Yet there are a few beacons of hope

Children’s books are filled with fantastic friendships between humans and beasts. From a young age, we learn that if a tiger comes for tea we should expect it to eat all our sandwiches, and if a Peruvian bear drops in for lunch we had better have some marmalade in the cupboard.

Related: Russian islands declare emergency after mass invasion of polar bears

Related: Politicians are complicit in the killing of our insects – we will be next | Molly Scott Cato

Continue reading...
Latest Job Listings