Ben Fogle dubs UK stats ‘embarrassing’ after ‘nation was once great’

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Ben Fogle, 49, is urging the UK to “stand up on a world stage” and lead the way in tackling climate change. The presenter is highlighting the need for protection and restoration of the country’s forests and woodlands after it emerged that the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world.

Alarmingly, the UK is in the bottom 10 percent in the world for biodiversity, with only around 50 percent remaining, according to a report from the Natural History Museum.

In addition, WWF states that one in seven native UK species are facing extinction, with more than 40 percent in decline.

On these statistics, Ben told “It’s pretty embarrassing, let’s be honest. I don’t think any of the UK’s stats are standing up on a world stage right now.

“This was a nation that was once great, this is a nation that once led the way.

“But that 10 percent, the fact that we are in the bottom 10 percent, is a terrifying statistic.”

Ben added that “moving forwards”, he believes there needs to be more emphasis on “empowering” and “enabling” people to do their bit to halt climate change.

He continued: “We have had the fear factor, and I’m not saying we don’t need it, but I think that enabling is very important for those whose hands are tied and think, ‘What can little old me do to actually make a dent in those terrifying statistics?’

“The reality is that you can because as a consumer, you can choose what you buy and the impact that has. You can choose a brand or a product according to what their goals and aspirations are.” 

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And Ben is putting his words into action in his partnership with tech company HP and the Arbor Day Foundation.

Together, they curated a film about planting trees and highlighting their environmental importance in the battle against climate change.

On the partnership, Ben said: “HP has got some really bold goals and targets that they want to hit in terms of trying to reduce their carbon footprint, and this is one of them.

“Planting trees, you mustn’t underestimate the cause and effect that has.

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“It’s not just about creating a beautiful canopy that we can all walk under, it’s about creating that biodiversity which is the rich mix of flora and fauna, all of which rely on one another. 

“Nothing is too inconsequential and it’s a bit like a game of Jenga, if you pull out too many bits the whole thing comes falling down. 

“Planting trees is not the only solution, but fortunately there are many other people, charities and organisations doing plenty of other things to try and reverse the changes that we are seeing.” 

You can watch Ben’s short film via his Instagram page.

His followers are encouraged to comment what they love about the natural environment and each comment will pledge a further three trees to help restore UK biodiversity (T&Cs apply). 
As part of its Forest Positive programme, HP has helped plant a total of one million trees globally in 2020/2021, with a further goal of one million more trees planted by the end of 2022. 
It’s important to partner with experts in reforestation efforts, as you can’t simply plant any type of tree you want, anywhere you want. Local teams on the ground make sure that any new trees are in keeping with the area’s existing natural woodland and maintain the biodiversity of the location.

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