We’re all more than aware that the natural world is in trouble. But too much awareness can spell apathy. One of the biggest challenges for environmentalists, researchers (and journalists!) is to find a way to continue covering bad news without turning the public off. Sometimes, finding a new way to present the problem can help. In this month’s dossier, Mark Rowe turns his attention to declines in the bird world. Many of the numbers are horrifying, but what’s particularly notable is that some of our most common and well-loved bids are under as much pressure as many of the rarer and flashier species we hear most about. A world without the energetic sparrows of English gardens, or the red-breasted robin, seems a truly sad world indeed.
Of course, another way to boost interest is to highlight good news and focus on what can be done. The term ‘rewilding’ has become somewhat controversial in recent years but, linguistics aside, there is no doubt that individual projects are transforming pockets of land. More than 60 rewilding initiatives are currently taking place across Europe and, as Jacob Dykes finds out on page 34, its proponents are working hard to overcome the challenges of returning large animals to a crowded European landscape. Reintroducing wolves, bears and lynx is far from easy (for one thing farmers and livestock need protecting), but only by embracing some of the carnivores that once called this continent home can we embrace a healthier ecosystem.
Finally, we’d love you to take a look at our new ‘geo-graphic’ on page 50 – another new way of presenting information to keep our readers engaged.