Preserving the North East’s unique landscape, flora and fauna, and encouraging greater public understanding of their value, remains a key priority for philanthropy.
Doing our bit for the environment can involve helping out with local environmental projects, recycling more or taking a bike to work rather than driving. Community groups need charitable funding to support these activities.
Climate change will affect everyone, but is most threatening for disadvantaged communities. Can philanthropy help us prepare for the challenges ahead?
Rivers, open land, forests, lakes and beaches together with the diversity of plants and wildlife they support, are all part of the region's appeal. So the environment is seen, partly at least, as an economic asset. So its future is likely to be shaped by the speed and nature of the region’s development. This raises questions about how best to protect it from being spoiled.
In County Durham and Northumberland in particular, a priority is to ensure the long-term vitality of rural communities. But ensuring greater engagement in and ownership of the environment is important across the region. As a society we have become disconnected from nature, so supporting communities to become directly involved in local projects to protect and improve the environment is a great way to build awareness of its value.
This can come as a benefit of other activities, such as improving physical and mental health or working with young people. Such activities often provide the only route for people in disadvantaged communities to connect with nature.
Our environment is changing, and the evidence suggests that poorer communities across the North East will be most heavily affected by global warming. There is a case for acting now to build their resilience, and philanthropy could make an important contribution.