Bath Voice News: Extraordinary ‘Funeral for Nature’ creates a stunning visual procession through the streets of the city with wildlife TV presents Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin present

By Harry Mottram: In a week when the Scottish Government abandoned its commitment to net Zero by 2030 and last year when the UK Government delayed the phasing out of diesel and petrol cars by five years you might wonder if saving the environment and nature and halting global warming are no longer on the political agenda. Obviously, the Green Party garners up to one in ten voters at elections with their ecology-based politics, but the criticism aimed by some at the main political parties is they are not wholehearted behind environment issues.

A reminder that many people haven’t forgotten the destruction mankind has and does meat out to nature and the environment was dramatized in Bath on Saturday, April 20, 2024, with a Funeral For Nature. Organised through Code Red For Nature and coordinated by Red Rebel Brigade with support from groups like Extinction Rebellion, the procession of red and black clad mourners moved from the Bath Percy Community Centre on New King Street and wound its way through the streets to an assembly in front of Bath Abbey. Several hundred people took part including a substantial number of Bath residents with a centre piece of a willow funeral bier carried, with a ‘Mother Earth’ figure created by artist Anna Gillespie clearly visible.

Television presenter and environmentalist Chris Packham addressed the mourners at the end of the procession. He said in an interview with Extinction Rebellion: “It all sounds a bit grim but what we are doing today is giving a warning, as we don’t want to be attending funeral for nature either now or in the future. We need to start fighting for nature as we live in one of the most nature depleted countries in the world and we are seeing many species becoming extinct. But we have a tool kit and can restore habitat and reinstate and reintroduce threatened species. We need to care, but we need to take action, and that is what today is all about.”

Mr Packham was joined by his daughter the zoologist and TV presenter Megan McCubbin. Cllr Saskia Heijtjes described the demonstration as ‘incredibly moving,’ while Angela Ward who was one of the drummers described it as ‘One of the most ambitious silent protests against biodiversity loss.’ And the event was coordinated across Europe with similar street theatre funerals for the disappearing world of nature with several thousand people involved. Dom Tristam of the Bath Green Party summed it for many when he congratulated the organisers of the event for raising the issue and said: “Needless to say I and all Greens are all very much behind the message.”

Although some residents complained on social media about the disruption caused by the planned and peaceful demonstration which was with the cooperation with the authorities the march moved out of the way at one point to allow an ambulance through.

The message was about how species had disappeared or depleted in recent years with freshwater species down 19% since 1970s, wildflowers down by 54%, and marine seabirds down by a quarter since the mid-1980s in the UK. Wherever you look,flora, insects, fish, mammals or birds have seen their numbers reduced. These statistics are not surprising considering the among of development that has happened across the country in the last few decades. However, we all need somewhere to live and there is a housing shortage, new roads and railways and indeed airport expansions are needed for the public’s thirst to travel so there is a paradox as many of those taking part in the demonstration or who came to support the event will have used traditional transport links. As Mr Packham said in his talk there are ways we can change the environment so nature can survive and flourish alongside 21st century Britain.

For more on Red Rebels:

For more on Code Red For Nature:

For more on Extinction Rebellion:

Photos from Extinction Rebellion and Chris Packham.

Bath Voice Monthly Newspaper is distributed free to thousands of homes and some supermarkets – distributed from the first of the month. Harry Mottram is the News Editor

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Harry Mottram is a freelance journalist. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Telegram, TikTok and Mobile: 07789 864769