New lease of life for Buglife

Wednesday 23rd June 2021

Leading nature charity announces new president, new chair and launches new strategy

Steve Backshall has been appointed Buglife President at the AGM, stepping into the shoes of Germaine Greer, who is now Emeritus President following an unprecedented 15 years as President. There was general change and renewal as Dr Eugenie Regan took over as Chair of the Trustee Board from Professor Steve Ormerod, departing having completed his term of office. The meeting also saw the official launch of Buglife’s new ten-year strategy for bugs.

Steve Backshall commented. “It is becoming increasingly clear that our planet’s ecological balance is breaking and there is an urgent need for an intense and global effort to halt and reverse these dreadful trends. Allowing insectinction to become a catastrophe is not a rational option for anyone. I am proud to have seen the progress made in the last 13 years while I have been a Buglife Vice-President and relish the opportunity of helping the charity to continue its crucial work as President.”

Dr Eugenie Regan added. “It is a privilege to be appointed Chair of Buglife, particularly at such a pivotal time for biodiversity conservation. I am honoured to succeed Professor Steve Ormerod, whose chairmanship of the Board and wider work I have much admired. Buglife is an exceptional organisation and I look forward to helping to drive forward our conservation of invertebrates, the small things that run the planet.”

Buglife Chief Executive, Matt Shardlow added. “I would like to record our deep and heartfelt thanks to Germaine and Steve who continue to be passionate and proud bug conservationists. Steve Backshall has been a great leader, including chairing the well-attended launch of our completed B-Lines map.  I and the team at Buglife look forward to working closely with Steve and Eugenie in the years ahead, and I hope that together we will see our solutions to bug decline adopted and delivered widely.”

Bugs make up over half the species on Earth, our planet’s health depends on them, but the rate of loss of bug life is much faster than that of higher profile wildlife like birds and mammals. There are many causes, and they all need to be addressed, but we will not halt the crisis without urgently reversing habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, preventing and mitigating climate change, cleaning-up polluted waters, and ensuring farming methods are less harmful.

The new strategy follows close on the heels of the Dasgupta Review which illustrated how economies are embedded within nature and outlines a direction of travel to change the status quo. The review states that the climate and nature emergency poses a big threat to our economy.

Buglife’s new strategy aims to achieve three things:

1) Room for bugs to thrive – we need to make space for wildlife and reconnect the wild parts of our landscapes.

2) Safe spaces for bugs – we must free our land and freshwaters from pollutants and invasive species.

3) Friendlier relationship with bugs – We need to act now to stop extinction, but the scale and quality of that action required will only be achieved by improving the public understanding and mindfulness of bugs and their conservation.

Buglife will continue to operate in partnerships, seeking to collaborate and co-operate with organisations who make protection of our natural world a priority.  However, to succeed in our aims we will deepen and broaden our partnerships with manufacturing, banking and other businesses.  People and the economy depend on a healthy environment and it makes sense for them to adapt their activities to save and enhance bug populations.

Progress will be made by undertaking practical projects; mobilising, inspiring, enabling and persuading others to act; and raising awareness about the value of bugs and the challenges to their survival. It will also be necessary to shape the development of relevant legislation and policy and help to ensure that it is enforced and implemented. We will challenge organisations and practices that are failing to conserve bugs.

“This strategy is a call for action, a coming together of people and organisations with a shared endeavour to heal our planet’s life support system. We can stop, and reverse the global declines in our invertebrates, but only if everyone pulls together to do their bit. The new strategy is at the heart of Buglife’s ‘No Insectinction’ campaign and we are calling on people across the nations to sign-up in support of these aims .” Concluded Shardlow