An item appeared in my newsfeeds today that got me fuming.
This is was piqued by a piece about the Inter-Island Environment Meeting that happened at Crabbé a couple of days ago. I don't know how long it has been going - I found references to a meeting in Alderney in 2015. Oddly none of the groups in which I have an active role appear ever been invited to participate in these events. After a bit of searching I found the possibly partial delegate organisation list:
Eco Active Jersey;
Plastic Free Jersey;
The National Trust for Jersey;
States of Jersey;
Jersey National Park;
Société Jersiase Marine Biology Section;
Jersey Biodiversity Centre;
Aldeney Wildlife Trust;
Marine Conservation Society;
The Pollinator project;
Durrell Wildlife Conservation;
Jersey Bat Group;
The UK Overseas territories family.
Take off the non Jersey groups and you pretty much have a list of the approved, States sanctioned groups. The ones you are allowed to belong to without tarnishing your soft , safe, conservative image. And most of those have permanent staff, people who can take or day or two at a conference without any impact on their income or business.
According to the JEP "The potential for a Channel Island Environmental Charter was also discussed, which proponents say will help the islands focus on conservation". Most of the conseration they will be doing, certainly on land, is going to have to be with farmers and smalholders. It is inescapable when roughly half the Island land mass is agricultural ground.
But no ,lets not talk to farmers and growers and smallholders. Especially not those spesky certified organic people with their absence of pesticides and herbicides and planting of habitat, varied crop rotations and leys. What the hell have they got to offer. And lets not bother with those climate change nutters. You know the ones who have been saying for years that we need to act because it is going to change habitats and breeding cycles and migration patterns and invasive species and diseases and pollination and crops and all that. What on Earth has any of that to do with conservation?
Of course it isnt just this sort of meeting that gets treated with carefully honed degree of exclusivity. I hear there is to be another Farming Conference in Jersey, probably November 8th. Do you think as a land owner, smalholder or being on the committee of a couple of groups with interests in famring that I have had any indication about it ? I heard from a en passant comment from an aquaintance who isnt a farmer or smalholder when discussing some other topic. As in previous years it seems the organisers are trying to be as tight lipped and intropsective as ever about the time and place and agenda. It one thing to talk about open transparent initiatives, but quite another for the public to expect quango like organisations to actually be so !
No wonder this Island is in such a damned mess. These groups need to be reaching out, not convening in secret huddles. The land and its usage is central in common to both these interest groups. We need common ground and for that we need open dialogue.