New Podcast Uploaded: Tormod Amundsen | Biotope

I do enjoy making podcasts. I love talking with inspirational, passionate, committed campaigners and activists, But it can get a little – er, depressing occasionally, wrapping my head around the latest decline, cull, or wildlife crime…

Sometimes it’s just nice to have a chat, with a birder, about birds, and birding stuff. A birder like Tormod Amundsen…

From the introduction I wrote for this podcast…

Tormod Amundsen is Norwegian, a birder, an architect – and by any measure I can think of, something of a visionary. How so, because in 2009 Tormod decided to move everything he owned to a small, run-down fishing town in the Arctic circle that at the time was languishing at the bottom of a list of the worst places in Norway to start a business – and start a business.

That business was Biotope, which is described on its website as “the worlds first and only architectural office with special expertise on birds and birdwatching. We engage in pro nature projects. We design bird hides, shelters, nature trails, outdoor amphitheaters and much more. We make destination development studies, exhibitions and arrange workshops. We develop new concepts for experiencing nature and wildlife.”

Which is – in my opinion anyway – visionary…

The podcast is on The Sound Approach website right here – enjoy!

Mya-Rose Craig aka Birdgirl

Yesterday I interviewed a remarkable and very impressive young conservationist/campaigner – Mya-Rose Craig aka Birdgirl.

The daughter of a twitching father and incredibly supportive mother, at just sixteen Mya-Rose has a global bird list in excess of 5000 (she’s the youngest person to ever see 5000, which means she’s been birding overseas a LOT: she has a trip to Brazil in the summer lined up as well which could add another 300 new species), but – and in fact what is more interesting to me – she is perhaps as well known as a courageous spokesperson on issues like racism and helping Visible Minority Ethnic (VME) people into nature (for which she receives some absolutely disgraceful abuse on social media)..

We spoke the day after a rather weary Mya-Rose and her mother Helena had camped out at the Extinction Rebellion protest in London, an event that I assumed might have changed her life. How so? For example I’d read in numerous interviews (with an even younger Birdgirl of course) that Mya-Rose’s ambition had always been to see more than 5400 bird species (half of all the species recognised at the moment), but was that still the case? And how do young people who are so aware of the environment, biodiversity loss, and rising sea levels cope with catastrophe hanging over their immediate future?

We spoke for about an hour. I haven’t started editing our conversation yet so it’ll be a little while until the interview is ready, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be worth listening in to find out the answers…