Springwatch presenter Chris Packham warns of Britain’s “ecological apocalypse”

"Our generation is presiding over an ecological apocalypse and we’ve somehow or other normalised it," says Packham

Chris Packham - Springwatch

Chris Packham has warned that Britain is increasingly “a green and unpleasant land” as we head towards “an ecological apocalypse”.

Advertisement

The Springwatch presenter is deeply concerned about the disappearance of wildlife, from wildflowers to butterflies to the swifts that used to fill the skies.

“Nature reserves are becoming natural art installations,” he told The Guardian. “It’s just like looking at your favourite Constable or Rothko. We go there, muse over it, and feel good because we’ve seen a bittern or some avocets or orchids. But on the journey home there’s nothing – only wood pigeons and non-native pheasants and dead badgers on the side of the road.

“It’s catastrophic and that’s what we’ve forgotten – our generation is presiding over an ecological apocalypse and we’ve somehow or other normalised it.”

The naturalist and broadcaster recently caused a stir with his tweets about the absence of insects from his home in the middle of the New Forest national park, which should be a prime location for bugs. He shared his dismay after failing to spot a single butterfly all weekend.

Packham is now urging people to join him in July for a “bioblitz”, where participants will spent ten days visiting road verges, farmland, parks, allotment and nature reserves to take stock of what wildlife remains. The initiative should help highlight the plight of the swifts, who are in decline, and will draw on the enthusiasm of amateur naturalists across the country.

“We need a peaceful public uprising,” he said. “We need people to say we’ve had enough. We do that every time there’s a terror attack. We need a similar movement for nature. We need people to stand up and say we want action now. We have the ability to fix our countryside.”

Ellie Harrison and Chris Packham (Andy Earl for Radio times, EH)
Ellie Harrison and Chris Packham (Andy Earl, Radio Times)

Through Springwatch, Packham gets the chance to work close to nature every day – but it was while filming on the National Trust’s Sherborne estate in the Cotwolds that he “despaired”.

Advertisement

He told the newspaper: “How many wildflowers can we see? None. Where’s the pink of ragged robin? Where’s the yellow of flag iris? The other colours are not there. It’s not green and pleasant – it’s green and unpleasant.”


Sign up for the free RadioTimes.com newsletter