Tree-hugging eco-warrior or pragmatic consultant?

The other day a client referred to me and my team as eco-warriors (and advance apologies if you’re now reading this!). Although I’m sure no harm was meant by it, I was very disappointed that after 10 years in the industry working hard to support my clients, ecological consultants are still viewed as tree-hugging warriors wearing tie-dyed clothes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love nature and have always loved nature. Where you find most people sunbathing at beaches, I’m in the rock pools, looking at the weird and wonderful creatures hiding there. Often my peers are excited about the latest technology or trends, whilst I would rather be walking in the hills. Nature makes me happy and fulfilled. I’m sure this may resonate with you, especially when there’s a bright sunny day and spring is in the air after a dark winter.

So why nature?

Nature is the reason we have air to breath, food to eat and shelter to protect us.

Bats and birds control insect populations, which in turn can protect us from disease and protect our crops. Bees are primary pollinators ensuring we have food and fuel. Snakes, lizards and amphibians also control pest populations. Plants provide us with clothes, nutrients, fuel, shelter and most importantly air! Everything around us is connected to nature, even our personal happiness!

All of these factors are the reasons why I am an ecological consultant. When I finished my Masters degree I made a choice, either work in “traditional” conservation or consultancy. Both have the ultimate goal of protecting nature. I chose consultancy as I really believe that this is where I have the most influence, face-to-face with development. Every day I am faced with challenges that different projects pose, I think about how to accommodate environmental objectives with my clients’ needs and ensure that the laws that are in place to protect nature are complied with.

So next time you meet me, remember that I’m someone you can rely on to find the best balance between development (necessary) and ecology (irreplaceable)… and I don’t wear tie-dye!

Thomson Ecology Handbook

This online version of the Thomson Ecology Handbook provides a general overview of current wildlife legislation* and is aimed at helping project managers understand and plan for ecology from the start.

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