Watching Brian May take on ambassadorial responsibility for badgers this morning on BBC Breakfast TV caused me to reflect on my brief time working for Natural England, the Government body now licensing the slaughter (the word preferred over ‘cull’ by the Badger Trust) of Badgers.
I was given a final warning that I could no longer do my knowledge ecology/storytelling talks externally (including the sweet story of a farmer poisoning a badger back in the days of Ernest ‘the badgerman’ Neil – who must today be turning in his grave) without having my ‘script’ signed off by two senior managers in advance. That was when I decided that my “best job in the world” had crumbled and I should escape with some dignity.
I well remember running workshops on the merger with the founding bodies of NE where long serving ‘English Nature’ staff would regularly put the needs of precious wildlife before that of over-populating humans. We once had an ‘onion skin’ analysis where the external facilitator worked down through the layers of what we believed important, and had never seen beliefs (in the importance and equality of nature) so deep, deeper even than most religions.
It doesn’t take a prophet to realise that this issue will grow and grow and grow like a beanstalk until someone takes his call (Brian May?) to take on the giant and will become a major turning point not just for the current government but for conservation organisations and hopefully young impressionable minds who really want to pursue a career that matters. Social networking will play a massive part. The twitter stream for newsnight last night already polarising views and coalescing around major attractors as they emerge, like #stopthecull and Brian May and the 38 degrees – Rethink the Badger Cull – campaign which can be found here.