Silent Summer

Silent SummerSome doom laden stuff in the Sundays today, and quotes aplenty from a new book – Silent Summer – about declines in Britain’s wildlife. Sir David Attenborough has written a punchy forward, including this thought:

We tend to focus on the bigger animals and ignore the smaller ones – but small creatures like these are the basis of our entire ecosystems and they are disappearing faster than ever.That loss is transforming our wildlife and countryside.

The largest image in the Times article covering the story is of… a hedgehog. The Telegraph piece runs through a list of endangered birds and mammals, together with the odd butterfly. Don’t get me wrong – I love hedgehogs and small mammals generally. I love birds too. I just think it’s odd that people spend millions on birdfeeders and birdfood and spend so much time and effort worrying about the endearing hedgehog, while they spend so little time worrying about why the food chains these animals depend on have broken down and what they can do to mend them. As this book points out, it’s about habitat loss. One of the things Jenny Steel (see Vinnie the Vole) gives out on her wildlife gardening course, and which I have pinned to my corkboard, is a simple foodchain starting with plants and moving to insects.