The question of how we save our planet, the natural world and secure a future for generations to come on planet earth troubles me daily. We have of course many seemingly insurmountable problems, but how to contend with them?
Internationally, there's not much we can do except embarrass companies like Pepsicola (re sumofus doritos campaign) into changing their ways. How often this works is a moot question.
Cities are faced with the effects of pollution much more immediately and are so inclined to react quicker by implementing measures, like no car zones, cycle hire schemes, greenways etc.
As for local rural environmental issues, with my own specific locality Ireland in mind, I think farmers are key. They hold so much of the land in their care. But they only respond to grant aid, or government bribes if you will.
People here are generally indifferent regarding environmental issues and campaigners have a name among farmers for being urban-centric hippies with middle-class accents, long hair and unwarranted grudges against society. A complete re-education will be needed to change this view.
How to go about this? Your guess is as good as mine.
European attempts at environmental protection have been typically ham-fisted and often locally inappropriate. Farmers are generally inclined to believe that these measures were designed to torture them.
Greening schemes are criticised with a mixture of glee and bitterness.
Meanwhile the continued decline of species such as barn owls, yellow hammers and numerous songbirds, various bats, fresh water pearl mussels and even ostensibly common species, such as starlings, is duly noted, but blamed on the actions of others or, more often, economic necessity.
This last with a depressed sigh, for who knows the rhythm of nature better than a farmer? When the natural world skips a beat, as we have seen it do of late through increasingly devastating extreme weather events among other things, the first people to notice are those who spend their lives outdoors.
Farmers and fishermen might just be ready to embrace a new deal, but it will have to come from government, which seems unlikely as centre-right, business-friendly agencies are as yet unwilling to upset large companies who themselves make too much money from the status quo. Who will be brave enough to take the plunge? Time will tell.