In a Green Shade: The English & Nature

New in 2020: an ongoing environmental portrait project that explores & celebrates our diverse connections to this green & pleasant land.

This project was inspired by a sense of English environmental contradictions:

  • Whether putting out birdfeeders or devouring Springwatch, we see ourselves as a nation of nature lovers, yet we are one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.
  • Our country is increasingly diverse of population, yet the perception of who the countryside belongs to & who can access it lags behind.
  • We have a proud land stewardship history going back millennia, yet climatic, social & technological change is challenging our models for preserving & maintaining those traditions.
  • Our growing population needs food but the evolving economic realities of modern farming are challenging & redefining its functions.
  • The spectre of climate change is a black cloud of despeciation, yet across England successful conservation, rewilding & reintroduction projects are showing we can rediversify our natural world.
  • Traditional ideas of preserving nature locally are being redefined by bold new perspectives that see conservation at a landscape level.
  • With Brexit approaching and the Union in peril ‘Englishness’ is more relevant than it has been for centuries, and yet, rightly or wrongly, it has has become entangled in public perception with ideas of insular nationalism.

Over the next few years, I will be travelling across the country to meet people and be introduced to their farming life, their environmental job, the outdoor pursuit or the eco-volunteer role, or simply the patch of green that is important to them.

From managing the industrial complex of a mega-farm to tending a beloved allotment; from advocating for environmental reform or running a reserve, to leaving food out for a hedgehog; from scaling mountain tops to walking the dog. “Annihilating all that’s made / To a green thought in a green shade.” (Andrew Marvell, The Garden)

To read more about the project, to get involved or to suggest a suitable person or organisation: click this link