Festival Debate will consider the future of nature in Norfolk

Friday 22 March, 2019

A timely and important debate on the future of nature will be the centrepiece of this year’s Festival of Nature, and includes on the panel Norfolk Wildlife Trust Chief Executive, Pamela Abbott.

Running Friday 12 - Sunday 14 April 2019, the Festival of Nature brings many Norfolk wildlife organisations together in the heart of Norwich, with nature walks starting at The Forum on Saturday, and free children’s activities in The Forum’s Atrium on Sunday.

Saturday evening sees the Festival Debate, 6 – 9.15pm, hosted by Guardian writer and author, Patrick Barkham. He will welcome some of the clearest voices on environmental issues today, to discuss the future of nature in the UK and beyond.

Award-winning travel writer, Isabella Tree will talk about her new book 'Wilding', and what the rewilding movement could offer to farming and conservation.

The British Archive for Contemporary Writing at the UEA presents Roger Deakin’s archive, giving an insight into his writing and personal story.

The evening finishes with an open debate, including Patrick, Isabella and three knowledgeable individuals who work in farming, conservation and water management locally: Pamela Abbott, Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust; Henry Cator, Water Resources East; and Jake Fiennes, from the Holkham Estate in North Norfolk.  


Along with the audience, the panel will discuss the future of nature – including issues such as climate change, Brexit, rewilding and how Norfolk’s past can help support its future.  

Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Pamela Abbott said: “We have a history of pioneering in Norfolk, from the establishment of the first Wildlife Trust to the large scale habitat restoration projects across the county. It is clear we need to do even more if we are to have any hope of reversing the devastating decline in wildlife and the use of our natural resources beyond their ability to renew themselves. We need to find a new way for everyone to take action for nature, whether they it is individuals with their window boxes for pollinators, communities creating a patch of wild land or farmers with ambition to transform the landscape for wildlife. Let’s all be bold, be brave and take a heroic large leap to make a difference for nature!”

Patrick Barkham said: “Norfolk’s countryside is going to change more dramatically in the decades after Brexit than at any time for more than a generation. We need to work out how we can all change our county for the better, and put that into action – for the benefit of people and wildlife. The leading farmers, conservationists and thinkers at this year’s Festival of Nature can help show us how. This debate is going to be open, honest and exciting. I’m looking forward to hearing lots of views from our audience as well as from our experts.”

Isabella Tree said: “I think we’ve reached a tipping-point – a moment in time where the world feels ready for change. Environmental catastrophe has been breathing down our necks for decades and we’ve been too oblivious, too stuck in our ways or too damn scared, to turn and face it. But over the last few years extraordinary pioneers in rewilding and regenerative farming - from Alan Savory in Africa to Gabe Brown and Joel Salatin in the States, to Charlie Massy in Australia – have discovered ways to work with nature to reverse desertification, regenerate soils and water sources, restore biodiversity and tackle climate change. All is not lost. For the first time, in a generation, we should be feeling tremendous hope, as long as we can persuade the rest of the world – and that includes the big food and farming lobby – to come to its senses.”

On the Sunday, Norfolk Wildlife Trust Children’s Ambassador, Dr Jess French will talk about her new book 'What a Waste' and shares some of her planet-saving top tips. (£2 per ticket.)

Tickets for the Festival Debate are £12 and the event is sponsored by Water Resources East.  All tickets available online
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