Concern for our vulnerable environment has throughout the lifetime of The Independent been a core issue, with two themes in particular constantly highlighted by the paper: climate change, and the threat to wildlife and the natural world in Britain and further afield.
We did more than any other publication to put global warming on the political agenda in the early years of the millennium, with front page after front page devoted to the climate issue, when the rest of the press still considered it peripheral; and similarly we splashed on nature, in a way unthinkable for any other paper, time and again.
To give two examples, both from 2006: the Labour Government’s proposals to scrap Britain’s leading wildlife research laboratories made an entire front page, as did plans for the first bumblebee conservation trust, giving that project an enormous boost.
One of our most memorable campaigns was that to save the vanishing house sparrow, in 2000: the prize we offered of £5,000 for solving the mystery (never won, alas) made headlines in many countries. But perhaps even more important was our 2011 spotlighting of the dangers of a new generation of pesticides, the neonicotinoids – now a major concern around the globe.
All of these issues and many more like them were not casually treated: they went to the heart of what The Independent stood for.
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