What if there was a way to aid unemployment and the environment? The National Nature Service campaign needs your support.

If, during the strictest phase of lockdown, your silver lining came in the form of allowing nature a moment to breathe, you are not alone. The strictures on our lives were, of course extremely tough (and continue to be for some). But that the reduction in noise, industry and activity made us take greater notice of the wildlife we live alongside and as part of, that nature thrived and that even the sky was a more intense shade of blue thanks to the drastic reduction in emissions, was one upside in the terrible situation worth being thankful for.

Our lives are now, of course, amping up again, which is broadly a positive thing and, of course, essential for livelihoods and, in many cases, mental health. Inevitably, however, as we gear up, so too do our emissions. Yet as the world faces up to the worst hit to the economy in our lifetimes, one organisation thinks it may have hit upon a dual solution that will help get people back into work and help the environment.

The National Nature Service is proposing that we concertedly create more jobs to help nature recover across our land, coastlines and oceans, suggesting that ‘if there was focused investment in training and development, people of all ages and backgrounds would face a greener, healthier and more prosperous future.’

The initiative, which is backed by sixty companies including CEOs of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the Badger Trust and the Bat Conservation Trust, is now calling for people to sign the declaration of support, which, at the time of writing, had 6,000 signatures but desperately needs more. It outlines its mission is on the website, and to us, it feels like a no-brainer.

‘Climate change and nature’s increasing decline are interlinked, and their effects are taking hold at alarming speed – the UK is now one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on the UK’s economy and the health and wellbeing of its citizens. Three million people are unemployed and this only stands to rise…. Our long-term recovery from this health crisis is deeply linked to nature’s recovery. We believe that, with the right Government support, there can be more opportunities for paid work in nature restoration. We’re particularly keen to ensure that young people and people in disadvantaged communities can earn a wage by working for nature. We propose a National Nature Service.’

One high profile supporter is the actor and idealist Sir Mark Rylance. His message has been shared again on again on social media, the wisdom of his words surely irrefutable. He writes, ‘‘One touch of nature makes the whole world kin’. Two negatives make a positive. Given the WIDESPREAD UNEMPLOYMENT and given the WIDESPREAD EMPLOYMENT required for essential ecological restoration, I am supporting the call for a National Nature Service, to deal with both crises, to create meaningful jobs and restore the nature of our degraded land, air and water. The global ecosystem restoration called for by the UN is essential to sink carbon, absorb floods and avert extinction of untold species including our own.

‘As the UK recovers from the pandemic the government has to pay us unemployment benefit anyway! Why not pay us to rewild, restore and reverse the loss of our biodiversity. It’s a no brainer! Word is spreading about A National Nature Service, but we want a groundswell of enthusiasm to convince government. If you like the idea, I implore you to visit the website and sign the Declaration: to form a National Nature Service, inclusive of all and benefiting all, old and young, urban and rural, black and white, the diversity of our society gathered together in paid employment, training and vital work building skills, knowledge and experience so that nature can recover, and the UK can make the transition to a healthier greener economy with hope for the future.’

By Nancy Alsop
August 2020

Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.