“Photography has played an important role in my appreciation of the natural world”

  • Posted: 14 Jun 2023

In support of Great Big Green Week, find out what motivates David, our sustainability analyst, to protect our planet and the key role that wildlife photography plays for him.

What inspires you to tackle climate change and protect nature? This is the question that The Climate Coalition are asking us all to share for this year’s Great Big Green Week. Whether it’s spending time in the garden or a deeper concern to protect our planet’s future, we all have our own motivations for acting on the climate and ecological emergencies.

For me personally, photography has played an important role in my appreciation of the natural world and therefore my ambition to protect it. I believe that people will want to look after what they care about and have found that photography can be a powerful tool to engage others. I love experimenting with different photographic techniques, finding new ways to view the incredible wildlife our planet has to offer. Whether it’s capturing birds in flight, snapping a beautiful sunset, or getting up close with a tiny insect, I enjoy the challenge!

Nature is all around us and so it’s exciting that wherever I take my camera out, there will be an opportunity to discover things I’ve not seen before or a chance to capture more familiar species in a different light. Even from my flat in Bristol without a garden, I have spotted foxes, jays, and swifts from my window! Here are just a few of my favourite shots…

Photo 1: Things you can do to help nature – Why not consider building a pond in your garden? It doesn’t need to be big! Healthy garden ponds can support a wide array of species including amphibians and invertebrates. 

Photo 2: Things you can do to help nature – have you heard of #NoMowMay? By delaying mowing your lawn you can help give nature a helping hand. Plants such as dandelions are vital early in the year as sources of food for pollinators including bees, butterflies and moths.

Photo 3: Things you can do to help nature – why not consider putting up a bird feeder in your garden? RSPB recommends year-round feeding, but it is most beneficial in the winter when food shortages are most likely. Just be careful to regularly clean your feeders to avoid risk of spreading diseases.

Photo 4: Did you know that red kites, with their characteristic forked tails, were actually extinct in England until relatively recently, due to persecution from humans amongst other factors? Following official reintroduction efforts in the 1980s, the population of red kites has been steadily increasing to the numbers you see today. A good example of a conservation success story! 

Photo 5: Just a nice photo of sunset by the coast – coastal walks are a favourite hobby of mine and I enjoy spending time in Wales and Cornwall.  

Renewable energy and protecting nature 

My role at Thrive incorporates my passion for nature and enables me to make a tangible difference in the climate emergency. In 2022, Thrive published our Biodiversity Policy, outlining our approach to nature. As Sustainability Analyst, I manage this strategy, considering biodiversity during the different project stages – whether it be our operational sites, projects in construction or those we’re considering investing in. For example, we’ve recently established a detailed landscape plan for our battery storage site in Bristol that focusses on establishing and maintaining habitats such as species-rich grassland and native trees and hedgerows, which will encourage biodiversity on site. It also includes more places for wildlife to nest and shelter including bird and bat boxes, invertebrate boxes and a hedgehog house.

I enjoy making regular visits to the battery site to check in on the progress of delivering this plan, and of course couldn’t miss the opportunity to capture some pictures of our new wildlife boxes during a recent visit… 

It’s clear that climate change and biodiversity must be addressed together as they are inherently related. I’m passionate about the role that businesses have to play in this. It’s been inspiring connecting with other B Corps and sustainability professionals, who like us are working towards net zero and reducing their environmental impacts. It’s incredibly motivating to know that my job is making a tangible difference.  

To see more of David’s photos you can visit his website at David Matheson - Wildlife Photographer.