Posted on 22nd July 2019

Wendy Darke: Outgoing Head of the BBC NHU Department

I am passionate about the natural world and care of the environment is an integral part of my value system. When you start to explore the natural systems you quickly realise the strength and breadth of the connections between creatures and habitats, climate is an essential component of this inter-connectivity, I am passionate about it too.

Communicating the value of the natural world is core to the function of a public service broadcaster. It is not just about educating audiences about amazing animals but also talking about their challenges for survival. As it is the ambition of all productions I work on to give a holistic and unbiased view, we sometimes feature the man-made challenges facing some species – there is always scope to talk about climate change. This must, however, be done in a way that makes sustainability implicit to everything we do rather than an editorial mandate, this will be the only way we can make cultural change. Our aspiration should be to deliver understanding so that we all can consider climate change as part of everyday living.

We must all be more aware of our own emissions, the NHU have been working to reduce their by filming in new ways and with innovative technology, it is becoming an everyday consideration for everyone. Whether working with solar panels, local crew or methanol fuel cells, most natural history units are working to reduce emissions. A ‘green light’ meeting is a great forum to discuss this; considering a production’s carbon footprint alongside its editorial ambition.

When you think about the diversity, adaptability and resilience of earth’s ecology you soon realise that life itself will survive climate change. As a mother of two I am less confident about the state of planet future generations will inherit, the decisions we make now could not be more important for them. We are all beginning to apply more thought, be more proactive and act more quickly; this is exactly what is needed as our window for proactive action is running out. But thinking about our ability to tackle climate change I am largely positive, humans are capable, ingenious and have an innate desire to make things better. What we need now is global buy-in and we have never had better technology to help us achieve this.