Shift in climate change awareness thanks to 'Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion', says Norfolk wildlife expert
PUBLISHED: 17:38 10 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:38 10 September 2019
The rise of teenage activist Greta Thunberg and the Extinction Rebellion protestors has sparked a major shift in public awareness of climate change in the last year, a Norfolk wildlife expert has said.
David North, from the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, said the Swedish activist had made more difference to the public's perception of climate change in the last 12 months than he had seen at any other time in his career.
Mr North said Thunberg's efforts as a spearhead of the school strikes movement had raised the urgency of the climate change message.
"There has been a real change in public awareness of climate change over the past 12 months, more so than at any other time in my working career," he said.
"We're starting to talk about climate emergency - whether that's related to Greta Thunberg and school strikes and Extinction Rebellion.
"I'd also like to think it's due to environmental groups who have for decades been putting forward messages about life on this planet if we're going to save."
Mr North, speaking at the launch of the Life Map - an environmental mapping project aiming to empower communities - also discussed habitat conservation and biodiversity.
He said: "Norfolk is not just locally important for wildlife; it's globally important too. 50pc of grey seals on the planet are in Norfolk - which is a rare species."
And Mr North added that 70pc of Norfolk's land area is for food production, with 65pc of that arable farming.
"The health of the planet and our wellbeing is completely enmeshed," he added.
The Life Map, is the brainchild of programme director Edward Darling, also chief executive of the conservation charity Redlist Revival, and aims to create a Google Earth-like programme mapping global environmental data at a hyper-local level, and informing communities about sustainability patterns - broken down into 10k square areas.
Mr Darling said: "My own community contains 4,500 people and we produce enough food for a quarter of a million people.
"You should be able to empower people with this information.
"It's how to make a difference, and about where you are in the world. We're also hoping to make people feel better."