Julia Hailes MBE

Sustainability Pioneer


Shameful BBC Totally Ignores Nature March – jun24

What possible reason could there be for the BBC totally ignoring up to 100,000 nature protestors yesterday? The ‘Restore Nature Now’ march, organized by Extinction Rebellion (XR) and numerous wildlife and conservation bodies, doesn’t even feature in the BBC search engine today. I know it happened because I was there.

Restore Nature Now march got very little media coverage

Thankfully, it did get some coverage albeit very modest. Mostly this was focused on the wonderful actress Emma Thomspon, who is sufficiently famous to be noticed. And she’s a very good spokesperson – in this Sky News interview, she even managed to keep going with a choir behind her drowning her thoughts!

She said that ‘politicians have both a legal duty and a moral responsibilty to ensure that future generations inherit a world with thriving nature, free from the looming threat of climate disaster.’

Chris Packham & Emma Thompson from Guardian Article – ‘Thousands march in London to urge leaders to tackle wildlife crisis

Celebrity Involvement

Chris Packham hosted much of it. His key message was that “We are going to stop asking and start demanding that politicians protect the world we love”.

Other well known people were also on the stage including actress Judy Dench, Caroline Lucas, who has just stepped down from being the UK’s first Green Party MP, Dale Vince – founder of Ecotricity and Craig Bennett, Head of the Wildlife Trusts.

I managed to film a short snippet of Craig Bennett talking about politicians treating nature as if it’s a wholly owned subsidiary of the economy. Should business and even farmers have a carte blanche to do what they want to our natural resources? I think not. (*See end for story about my old family home)

Me with my son Connor Bryant, Rubbish Ideas, at the Restore Nature Now march

Political Implications

Given the country has election fever and one of the parties in particular – Reform – is actively campaigning against a ‘net zero’ target, it is appropriate that Chris Packham explained how this goal could create massive wealth-generating opportunities for this country.

Equally, Beccy Speight, the RSPB Chief Executive, explained that one in six species in the UK are at risk of being lost and that if we continue to lose wildlife at this pace it could result in a 12% decrease in GDP. And, Tanya Steele – head of WWF-UK – stated that we have seen a 70% decline in wildlife populations over the past 50 years. Crikey. They were both calling for political parties to commit to stronger measures for nature’s recovery.

Media Coverage Discrepancy

How much more do we need to hear to take notice? Well the answer is that we appear to need a hell of a lot more. Thousands of people marching through central London with banners, children, music, dancing and wonderful headdresses, is clearly nowhere near enough.

Was the Restore Nature Now march far too nice to get noticed?

There’s a certain irony that the two XR protestors who defaced Stone Henge, got blanket coverage across all our media. The BBC alone has six articles on its website on this issue and zero on the ‘Restore Nature Now’ march – not even to mention Emma Thompson! I did find some coverage for example in the the Guardian and Channel Four. I’m sure there was more but not much. Why? Because doing something negative, destructive and perhaps even violent is mega news, but peaceful, loving, desperate marching is not. Inevitably this will mean we get more of the negative and less of the positive.

Just Stop Oil activists at Stone Henge was a major news story – it got far more coverage than the Restore Nature Now march with 60-100,000 protestors


Not only do we need to RESTORE NATURE NOW, but we need to restore our faith in the media to tell us what is happening and galvanise support for both biodiversity and climate change concerns. They are real. They are serious. They are already having an impact. We cannot afford to go on ignoring what’s happening and only hearing about it when people go to extremes. It will lead to more extremism, more anger, more violence and less action. Come on the BBC – we need your help.

Blood got attention in Paris…
Peaceful march vs more dramatic approach….

Addendum: My old family home in Somerset has been up for sale for a while. Last week I learnt that the current owners had managed to sell off some adjoining fields where they had planted a large number of trees – at least 25 years ago. The trees are no more. The farmer who bought the land immediately chopped them all down. I’m furious! But there’s nothing I can do and of course, nothing to stop the destruction caused by this farmer – and many others…… See Guy Shrubsole – Who Owns England blog.