Phoebe Weston (OS 2010) is a biodiversity reporter for The Guardian, writing mainly about British wildlife and key threats to nature, globally.
‘There is now a lot of awareness about the climate crisis, which is great, but much less on the biodiversity crisis, which scientists tell us is equally serious. We are reliant on wildlife to provide us with loads of ecosystem services - an obvious example is pollinators which we rely on to produce crops - strawberries, apples, raspberries, tomatoes, nuts.... to name just a few. If we no longer have pollinators we no longer get those crops. If this happens on a large scale we will struggle to produce food to feed our growing population.
The soil is also absolutely key - it's being degraded across the planet. Our soils are packed with biodiversity, and if you lose those critical soil organisms, the soil cannot function, it just becomes dirt. We need rich soils to grow plants and recycle all our waste organic matter. Soil and insects are the powerhouses underpinning our survival, if we lose them, everything else will come tumbling down. No birds, no mammals, the whole food chain collapses. And this is happening across our planet. It's very scary.
My job is to communicate that threat to as broad an audience as possible. I mainly write news articles and features, but am also getting into audio and video. Reporting on the biodiversity crisis can be a bit depressing sometimes, but it feels good to know I am doing something to help make the situation better.
It’s great that Sevenoaks is doing a Green Week, and the thing that gives scientists more hope than anything is young people, and how much they care about the natural world. I hope that their generation will approach the environment in a totally different way to the ones before, and obviously education is absolutely key to this. I'm delighted to know my old school - which I loved so much - is playing a part in that.’