Jan 162014

Volunteers of the rspb receive a newsletter. This month’s email contained Mike Clarke’s New Year Message. Mike, of course, is rspb Chief Executive. He used to live in our area and went to the Boy’s Grammar School. So I thought it would be a good idea to share this with you.


News from the RSPB


Mike Clarke’s New Year Message

“Having the chance to reflect over Christmas, I realise that 2013 was quite an incredible year. I found it a very interesting experience to see how we went from planning our strategy to landing some of it publicly.

 Whether it was the State of Nature launch across the UK, which collaboratively with a lot of other partners made a big statement about the importance of nature and the challenges it faces, all the way through to Giving Nature a Home, repositioning the organisation and of course, the TV advert, which is something we’ve never done before.

 The gratifying thing is that towards the end of the year we were being recognised increasingly by a number of other organisations – not just charities, but businesses and even some politicians. I think actually, probably in our sector in terms of natural environment we’re about as ahead as anybody and it’s been great just to see some of those elements being recognised by others out there. We should all feel really good about that.

We’re starting 2014 with what I really do believe are some of the important elements that any charity is going to have to have in place in the future. Importantly that’s around making sure we’ve got control of our voice, so we’re being heard the way we want to be heard out there in the media, and secondly that we’ve got messages that work.

Anyone over the Christmas period will have seen how much growth there has been in mobile communications, tablets – all of this stuff that Santa’s bringing that, frankly, two or three years ago wouldn’t have been there – and it’s changing the way in which people are getting their news and forming opinions. We need to make sure that we’ve got all the elements together to be a charity that’s capable of riding through the digital revolution.

Why does this matter? It matters because we need to have more resources to do our conservation work for Saving Nature and we’re really seeing a return to where the RSPB has always been – and that is depending on the support of large numbers of the public in order to generate not only the money, but also the voice to make sure we are able to do the work all of us want to do. Because what this is about, is being a new, modern organisation but absolutely anchored in the roots of our traditional support.

 All around the world, what we’ve seen, pretty much since Lehman’s broke, is the environment being made the scapegoat by politicians for their economic problems. We’re all having to adapt to that and the work we’ve been doing on costing nature is a hugely important part of that. Strategically it’s one of the most important things we can do to change the minds of other people.

The simple fact is we’ve got to win hearts as well (as minds) and that’s where the connection with nature is such an important part of our future conservation strategy. That’s because it is again allowing us to demonstrate how nature can touch people’s lives in ways that makes a real difference to the way they live their lives and the value and quality that they have.

What Giving Nature a Home allows us to do is to take us all the way through to helping save our shared home. We can talk about planetary issues if we want and over this next year, what I think we’re now at a point to do is to start opening up and making links go further. We’ve got a trial this year with the idea of your local greenspace or Wildpatch – how you can look beyond your garden as to what you can do in your local community.

 Of course, the other things are birds without borders, migratory birds. That’s a very easy link for us to make in a year where we’ve got some major political developments in the UK as well as Europe. In a few weeks’ time we’ll be launching the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science and we’re seeing growing momentum around the Conservation Initiative in Cambridge. All of this is about giving us credibility and clout because that’s the only way as a charity we get listened to. We have this in spades in terms of a strong suit and it’s one that will give us the ammunition for the big public message to get heard.

2014 is going to be tough. We know that there’s huge challenge out there. We know there’s going to be massive pressure growing on nature and all that we stand for, but we’re going to stand up for it.

 I think the point about this is that we all know that this is too big to solve on our own. We’ve got a very clear idea of what we want to do, but we need to do it with others and that is pointing to the fact that the enormous amount of success we’ve had only comes about if people are collaborating internally.

We’ve been working really hard at being one team for nature and I’ve seen the commitment everybody has shown. It’s not easy at times, it means having to factor in more complications because you’ve got to think about your work differently, working with other colleagues, but actually when that’s all brought together, it has much bigger impact and it’s getting noticed.

 So, when we look to challenges ahead, we know that the momentum is growing and I have to say I really am confident that with the commitment everybody is showing, we’re going to have an even bigger impact in 2014 than we did last year.”

Posted by Malcolm


 Posted by on 16 January 2014 at 9:18 pm