Interview with Dr Mike Clarke

Published on April 19, 2013 in 2013 Conference Reports, Environment, Video

After his talk at the conference, Dr Mike Clarke was interivewed by RSPB’s Mark Robins.

Mike, you made a very strong starting point about estuaries being the kind of crucible of the industrial revolution and a test bed for where next. Could you just say something about that?
“Yes, I think we’re on the point of a global revolution, like the industrial revolution and it’s how do we remain competitive economically, but how do we actually start improving our natural assets which the estuary is absolutely rich in, rather than for them to decline; and this about actually making sure we’ve got a long-term vision for the economy and the environment.
You can have a world-class economy with a world class environment and in fact you can’t have one without the other and that is where we need to go next and this requires a conversation that is forging new partnerships.
We’re up for talking with business as well as government with other part of civil society and that’s what we hope comes out of today.”

And, Mike, convince us the RSPB, the nature interest are up for this, they want to involve themselves and are willing to play a key role in making this happen.
“Yes, what you have to remember is ultimately we’re here for outcomes and our outcomes are for the natural environment and for benefiting people; and we will work with whoever we need to as a charity in order to do that.”

Do you think you’ve got to those twenty-first century outcomes so that we can do it in terms of nature, but can we do it in terms of the other social goods that are right at the centre of these choices?
“Well, we know already because by the fact that we have a million members says people are voting with their feet as to what is important to them, what they care about; I think actually today what we’ve identified is there needs to be much clearer focus across all of those sectors if we’re actually going to achieve that. So there’s more to go but that’s the conversation has to be generated.

We start with the ecology first. ‘Ecology up’ was a phrase I heard in a room today. Can you just say something
about how you understand that?

“You know its a simple base of fact, a fact of life is that we’ve only got one home, it’s called the planet and you know if you don’t start with that
you’re heading for a car crash; and that’s essentially exactly in the estuary; this is a natural system, huge flows of energy and the transport sediment transport; all those things underpin both the natural environment and the economy.”

What you heard in the room today, do you take a sense of optimism today here?
“Well, there was a big buzz generated and I think what struck me as someone who has come in to this conversation is that people are really up for taking it on to the next step.”