Restore Nature Now was just the beginning

With over 60,000 people and 350 groups represented, Restore Nature Now could well have been the biggest demonstration for nature and climate the UK has ever seen. But for wetlands, it marked the start of something bigger. It’s time to speak up.

What an incredible sight the Restore Nature Now march was . Organisations and individuals from Chris Packham and Emma Thompson to Extinction Rebellion and the National Trust, side-by-side calling for the urgent action on the nature crisis we need. Speakers from Arundel to the Amazon sharing powerful stories of protecting nature and rewilding it. And WWT, there in style at our first-ever big demonstration, were armed with reedbeds and lily-pad hats to tell the story of one of the most powerful, yet least understood, habitats – wetlands.

For the first time in our history, we called on you – our supporters, staff and volunteers – to show up in force and speak up for wetlands, and you (literally) blew us out the water. Puns-a-plenty (‘what are you wading for’ being a personal favourite) and some striking reedbed props, a powerful speech from our Chief Executive Sarah Fowler and a terrific interview with Megan McCubbin from our Communications Officer Molly Cheek, as well as a celebrity appearance from our newest ambassador David Gray, ensured wetlands were ever-present on this important day. And with the WWT Madagascar team holding our banner front and centre, it was impossible to ignore our global connectedness to the crises we face and the solutions we need to forefront.

It was a truly rewarding experience, and a deep, heartfelt thanks to everyone who came to this unforgettable display of love for the natural world. But for WWT, Restore Nature Now was just the beginning.

As an organisation founded to protect and champion that valuable space where land meets water, we know that we cannot afford to be standing on the sidelines – we must stand up and work together to speak up for wetlands. And with an era-defining general election round the corner, the work begins now.

We’re already seeing the impact of our collective voice. Labour’s recently announced Countryside Protection Plan includes a commitment to restore nature-rich habitats ‘such as wetlands and peat bogs’, while a number of parties have committed in their manifestos to cleaning up our waterways and supporting nature-based solutions to flooding as we adapt to the increasing impacts of the climate emergency.

But the proof will of course be in the pudding, and it’s our job to hold whoever forms our next government to account. We’ve got plans to make that happen, from ensuring a much-needed ban on the lead-shot ammunition that’s been poisoning our ecosystems to building political support for restoring 100,000 hectares of wetlands across the country. But until then, there are two very important things you can do for wetlands before the end of next week:

  1. If someone knocks on your door hoping to be your next parliamentary representative, ask them what they and their party would do to protect, manage and restore wetlands and the super-powers they hold. Some potential questions you can ask, including a feedback form for your conversations can be found here.
  2. On Thursday 4 July, cast your vote for wetlands, for nature, for life itself. More help on where different parties stand on nature and climate action can be found here.

Put simply, we cannot do this alone. If you care about these brilliant bogs, if you value your local marshes, if you know these habitats and the beautiful species that call them home need our support, then we need you.

You can be part of these plans and lend us your voice by signing up to our newsletter. We hope to see you on the journey.

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