Conservation Conversation

JNCC Committee member Morgan Parry © JNCC

This issue we focus on JNCC Committee member Morgan Parry. Morgan is Chair of the Countryside Council for Wales and a member of the Climate Change Commission for Wales. He was a founder member of Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales, the Sustainable Development Forum for Wales.   


Q. Species that inspired you as a child?

A. I grew up in the city of Liverpool and apart from the usual boyish fascination with worms and daddy-long-legs, I don't remember being that interested in nature!  It was my first journey to South America as a student that gave me my first emotional contact with nature, canoeing on the Amazon and seeing pink river dolphins at close quarters.  I've felt the same way many times since, at home and abroad.


Q. What concerns you most about the natural world in the next two decades?

A. The human race, and our ever-growing wastefulness and greed.  Our ability to push wild nature to the edge of extinction and the margins of our consciousness.  Since we are doing nothing to reduce our use of energy, we will inevitably move into the last remaining wild places to extract more fossil fuels and grow unsustainable energy crops.


Q. What do you do when you're not saving the world?

A. Drink good beer, watch rugby, read history.  


Wildflower meadow © Morgan Parry

Q. What is your favourite place?

A. The summit of Garn Fadryn at sunset, the Ty Coch pub at Portdinllaen in summer, or the wildflower meadow behind our house in May.  With my wife and children, so we can relive the experience later.  I like being on high mountains on my own though...


Q. Who is your human hero in the natural world?

A. Andrew Lees, who was Campaigns Director at Friends of the Earth until his death in Madagascar 15 years ago.  I don't believe in heroes - but Andrew was a determined and passionate environmentalist, often irritating, frequently wrong but the cleverest and most resourceful campaigner for conservation that I ever knew. 


Q. What's your pet hate in nature conservation?

A. The proliferation of tiny, single-issue groups, all competing for resources and attention.  Imagine how powerful we'd be if we all joined forces...


Q. Desert Island Disc?

A. Jackson Browne, For Everyman.


Q. Place you'd most like to visit?

A. Borneo, on route for New Zealand, for next year's Rugby World Cup, on a big square-rigged wooden sailing ship.  The journey would be as important as the destination.


Q. What would you like to achieve in your time at JNCC?

A. Get through the next couple of years as best we can without losing too many good staff, then see renewed investment from our governments in science and in the conservation of public spaces and public assets.


Q. When I'm reincarnated I'm coming back as a ...?

A. Native American, before the European settlers arrived.    

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