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New film asks Scottish Government and public to choose rewilding

By Lorna Thompson

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AN ALLIANCE of nature charities is ramping up its call on Scotland's people and government to choose rewilding with the launch of a new short film.

Despite Scotland’s reputation as a place of natural beauty, the Scottish Rewilding Alliance says science tells a very different story and that Scotland is one of the most nature-depleted places in the world.

As part of its campaign to make Scotland the world’s first Rewilding Nation – a move backed by more than a dozen MSPs – the alliance is hosting a free online event tomorrow, Thursday, July 22, to launch its new film "Choices".

The film presents its Scottish audience with a number of choices about their relationship with nature.

The 22-member alliance aims to build on support for rewilding – the large-scale restoration of nature.

An osprey fishing at dawn in the Cairngorms National Park. Picture: SCOTLAND: The Big Picture.
An osprey fishing at dawn in the Cairngorms National Park. Picture: SCOTLAND: The Big Picture.

Mark Ruskell MSP, from the Scottish Greens, will deliver the event’s keynote speech. Last month, Mr Ruskell submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament to make Scotland the world’s first Rewilding Nation.

Steve Micklewright, convener of the alliance and chief executive of Findhorn-based Trees for Life, said: "As Scotland readies itself for the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow later this year, the Scottish Government needs to demonstrate global leadership by prioritising rewilding.

"If the SNP makes a deal with the Scottish Greens to create a majority in Holyrood, we’re asking that it includes a promise to rewild at least 30 per cent of Scotland’s land and sea by 2030. This can be achieved by restoring and expanding woodlands, moorlands, peatlands, rivers and marine habitats, and without loss of productive agricultural land.

"A community fund to make rewilding accessible from towns and cities, creating pollinator corridors and urban wildflower meadows could improve the population’s mental health and wellbeing, while reducing pollution and making urban areas more enjoyable places to live."

Peter Cairns, director of SCOTLAND: The Big Picture and host of the live event, said: "As a nation we’re only just beginning to experience a baseline shift in our perception of Scotland’s environment.

"While open hillside is still deemed by many to be beautiful, there’s an increasing awareness that our celebrated landscapes are dramatically lacking in biodiversity, native woodland and wildlife.

"Despite many superb conservation initiatives, Scotland is lagging behind other countries, with its nature in steep decline."

To sign up for the online launch tomorrow from 7-8pm, visit https://bit.ly/ChoicesLaunch.

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