A recent report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) shows that human activities have destroyed more than half (60%) of the world’s wildlife in the last 50 years. There are many causes for this shocking statistic, chief amongst them deforestation, plastic pollution and pesticide use.

Wildlife is now on life support. The report says ‘ Current efforts to protect nature are not ambitious enough to match the scale of the threat our planet is facing. We are calling for a new global deal for nature and people .’ This matters, not just for the species concerned, but for our own survival. We depend entirely on a healthy, functioning and diverse ecosystem for food, regulating the environment clean air and water.

The problem not only concerns places far away, such as rain forests and deep oceans, or only needs action in the countryside. The decline is happening everywhere. Look around your neighbourhood: how many once verdant gardens are now mainly paving, decking and, increasingly, artificial ‘grass’. When did you last see a hedgehog? Surprising as it may seem, 131 threatened species are hanging on in Birmingham and the Black Country. They include water vole, otter, skylark and kestrel, and desperately need our help.

In response to this the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country has launched its ‘My Wild Neighbourhood’ action plan. This is designed to reverse wildlife decline and improve neighbourhoods for the benefit of people and wildlife. People are being asked to help create wild neighbourhoods, linking in to a national nature recovery network. Amongst the targets are more wildflower verges, green roofs, garden ponds and street trees.

Trust CEO Georgia Stokes said ‘ We are calling for a wilder future through an ambitious new Environment Act to ensure that our environment is safeguarded for future generations and that everyone benefits, no matter where they live. We are inviting people to share their stories of community change, so we can work together, creating wilder neighbourhoods that benefit us all. We want to challenge our MPs by showing what we can achieve as individuals, and ask them what they are doing to save our wildlife and environment as leaders, law-makers and decision-makers. Together, we CAN reverse wildlife decline’.

Full details, including dates for public events in Birmingham, Dudley, Smethwick, Walsall and Wolverhampton, are on the Trust’s website: https://www.bbcwildlife.org.uk , and the full WWF report is at: https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/living-planet-report-2018

Twitter: @PeteWestbrom