Bear in mind that the RSPB had fewer than 80,000 members 30 years ago. I worked
for them when they were undergoing their 'million member campaign' in the '90s.
Things changed in the UK as a result of their attitude and that of groups like
One of the principle reasons why RSBP is so successful is that they control
land and create access opportunities for people to engage. That said, they
began a new focus last year employing people to help them rebrand as they feel
they don't reach or engage enough of the UK.
By contrast, Australian conservation groups, national park authorities and
others who control land access and access to wildlife are 20-30 years behind
this thinking. It's not to do with lack of care in the community, it's to do
with the attitude of those who control access. The only way that can ever
change is by growing support from the community - politicians react quickly to
large consensus but no-one has ever tried to create one.
This might surprise you - we surveyed 80,000 people recently. We had 1,015
responses. 50% of the list were involved in a prize promotion to 'Win a Road
Trip from LA to Las Vegas". All were Australians. When asked to rank the
importance of features of their holidays, 75% ranked "seeing amazing wildlife"
as "high" on their list of priorities.
So if Australians don't "care", how come three quarters of them want to
experience wildlife on their holidays?
Fact is, we've made wildlife inaccessible and most people don't know how to
find it. The job to change this is in our hands and our hands alone.
We can keep blaming bureaucracy as we have done for decades, or we can create
new ways to facilitate change.
I know what I'm going to do : )
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> Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2012 08:26:33 +0800
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Threatened species and the OBP
> Hi All,
> I agree with Debbie, that most Aussies don't really care about our animals
> or environment generally, maybe only about some cute ones, like koalas etc.
> The vast majority of people don't understand even the basic ecological
> principles, sadly even after years of David Attenborough shows and others. I
> think, sadly we often think they do (or hope they do), because we are
> involved with a circle of people who do care and understand, either
> colleagues involved with wildlife or those who visit nature reserves on a
> regular basis. This probably clouds the way the community really is! I can
> only go by what I see and hear from my non-wildlife friends, family and
> local community, generally they know very little and care little, the
> environment's nice and should be saved, but as long as it doesn't upset my
> lifestyle and I'm busy anyway!
> Birding organisations (and others) in Australia in promoting birds and
> environment have dropped the ball for far too long, we have missed at least,
> a whole generation of school kids, who love technology, but not the natural
> world. The community hasn't helped with removing many places (wetlands etc)
> or stopping kids going to places, where the love for natural things grows.
> Mobile phones and computers have filled the void.
> After lots of travel to the UK, I also see a different attitude and
> mentality in Australia to wildlife. Maybe it's the cold harsh winters over
> there where people are forced to read books inside or watch TV, and often
> are more interested in wildlife, plus the British attitude of ' this is our
> British wildlife, so we will look after it, God save the Queen'. I know they
> have their environmental problems too, but more people are in some way
> interested enough in wildlife to do things, the RSPB has over a million
> members alone! What I see of Australia sadly, is a country where, probably
> due to our better climate among many factors, promotes a huge interest in
> sport and being outside. More of an attitude of 'let's have a barbie' and
> 'she'll be right mate'. Australia, I think is one of the best countries in
> the world, but our general attitude is rebellious (from our convict
> beginnings?) and just out to have a good time, without considering future
> implications. I know not all Aussie are like this, but to me this does
> appear to be the 'general spirit' of Australia concerning many issues and
> I'm not sure how it will change, at least not in the short term.
> Richard king
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