It’s a fairly simple question but the answers will vary dramatically from person to person. Family, friends, holidays, pets, comfort, security, money, cars….and maybe on a few peoples lists….’the environment’. I know that I prattle on about the same things in these blogs but maybe if I keep repeating myself then perhaps people will eventually take notice?
I have concluded after many years of travelling the country talking to various groups of people – that most people just don’t think about the longer term issues with the world around them? I’m being very sweeping in these statements here – but most ‘young’ people (…within the term ‘young’ – I cover anybody younger than me…which is getting to be most of the people I ever come across) want somewhere to live and play on their X-Box, perhaps someone to live/love with, some form of transport …and enough money to eat, drink and take recreational drugs (I include alcohol within the term ‘recreational drugs’)….and that’s pretty much it.
Talking to them about politics or the state of the world’s economy is a difficult one…but try and get them interested in the state of the world’s plant bio-diversity and you have a difficult ‘sell’ on your hands.
Now don’t get me wrong – I know that there are people far better qualified and experienced with these issues than I am – and a lot of them are far younger than me. But I’m not talking here about the people studying at university or scientists within government funded organisations …I’m talking about Joe Blogs…the man in the street…the everyday bloke….how do you get the general population to sit up and take note?
How can you get ‘the public’ to be interested in invasive non-native species?
It would appear there is an answer to that question and the answer is probably money.
If the …’general public’…think that their ‘pocket’ is going to be affected by these plant invasions then they seem to get very hot under the collar about the issues involved and suddenly everyone sits up and takes notice.
Over the last ten years or so I’ve been writing and talking about problem plants and ‘countryside disappearing under swathes of invasive non-native plants’ and nobody has taken much notice* – (*apart from the odd housing developer who suddenly finds himself with a problem costing him hundred’s of thousands of pounds).
However…recently with the advent of anti-social behaviour orders with fines of up to £2000 and Species Control Orders where the Environment Agency can come on to your land to deal with these problem species ….suddenly everyone wants to talk about how we stop these ‘alien’ invaders. Newspapers line up to tell horror stories of building being demolished and Television studios want footage of the… ‘elderly lady turned down for a mortgage because of Japanese Knotweed’.
So suddenly I find myself not as the owner of …‘Japanese WHAT….weed Solutions???’ …but the owner of ‘Japanese Knotweed Solutions’…. ‘aaaah yes that’s the plant that will destroy a house’…
So whilst the above statement isn’t exactly true…I’m happy to live with this perception… if it will make people sit up and take notice of what’s going on in the world around them? Maybe some financial penalties or cost implications will save our ever shrinking ‘native’ countryside from being over-run with invasive non-native species??? ….and maybe on people lists of what’s important to them….we will start to include our native plants and our British Countryside?