Author: Tony Whitehead

Tony Whitehead lives and works on Dartmoor. He has a passionate interest in the natural world and nature conservation and is an environmental campaigner. He is involved with a number of local groups including the Chagford Climate and Ecological Emergency Working Group and Extinction Rebellion. In March 2020 he helped organise the first Dartmoor People's Assembly.

Supply and demand

Tony Whitehead
power station chimneys

We are addicted to fossil fuels, so the news that European oil and gas supplies may be interrupted by the current global geopolitical situation linked to the unravelling humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is focusing minds. ‘Something must be done’ before the lights go out and the home fires stop burning. However, in a myopia we […]

Speaking out, while we still can…

Tony Whitehead
Protesters at the Exeter rally against the Policing and Borders Bills

Reaching out across the seas Hold out our hands to refugees Make the world a better place To put a smile on everyone’s face Stop the bombing, join together International friends forever This poem by primary school children, read by Exeter’s Pete the Poet, opened a rally organised by Stop the War Coalition. More than […]

“Better without Barclays!” Extinction Rebellion in Plymouth

Tony Whitehead
XR protestors, Plymouth

Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion in Devon and Cornwall gathered with Plymothians today to stage a symbolic silent funeral procession through Plymouth to Barclays bank. This was part of a “Better Without Barclays” campaign, a UK-wide movement calling out the investments that Barclays make in the fossil fuel industry. The funeral march, complete with coffin, […]

XR urge Devon County Council to stop funding fossil fuel companies

Tony Whitehead

Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) staged a protest today [Friday 25 February] outside Devon County Hall in Exeter to highlight the county council’s continued investment in fossil fuels through its pension fund. XR rebels scaled scaffolding above the entrance to County Hall and lowered a huge banner emblazoned with “Stop Funding Fossil Fuels”. The […]

For peat’s sake – restoring Dartmoor’s peatlands

Tony Whitehead

Peat is an accumulation of slowly decaying plant matter formed in cool wet conditions. It is a remarkable substance and one of the most important stores of carbon on the planet. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), globally the remaining area of near-natural peatland (more than three million km²) contains more […]

Somerset Levels and Moors – rhetoric vs reality in the nature emergency

Tony Whitehead
Somerset Levels

If you live on the Somerset Levels and Moors, ask simply “will what I am hearing improve water quality here?”. Because unless national policy makes a real difference where you are, it is largely useless. We are in a nature and climate emergency. We need the government to show leadership and ambition that delivers action because they fully understand what this means.

Dartmoor’s wounded land – part 3: what can be done?

Tony Whitehead

In the first two parts of this series I looked at the parlous state of the Dartmoor Special Area of Conservation. I gave reasons for how it came to be in such a poor state, and covered the influence of post war agricultural policy. In this final part, I will look at what can be […]

Dartmoor’s wounded land, part 2: cause and effect

Tony Whitehead
view of Dartmoor, close-cropped yellowed grass

In the second of three articles, environmental campaigner Tony Whitehead considers how Dartmoor’s nature came to be in such a poor state. In part one, I paid attention to two of Dartmoor’s key wildlife habitats: the blanket bogs and upland heaths. Over the past 150 years, Dartmoor’s blanket bogs were cut for peat, drained for […]

Dartmoor’s wounded land, part 1: how meaningful is protection?

Tony Whitehead

Environmental campaigner Tony Whitehead considers the extent to which Dartmoor’s nature is protected, and the shocking condition of its protected sites. On 28 September Boris Johnson committed to protecting 30 per cent of the UK’s land by 2030. A fine ambition, of course, and to be welcomed. In the government statement that accompanied the announcement […]