The latest David Attenborough series, Perfect Planet, finished with stark warnings as to how precarious the future looks.

The world is now in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, with 500 species of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles on the verge of dying out. Half of all insects are believed to have been lost since 1970 due to the destruction of nature and heavy use of pesticides.

The way human beings live is causing untold damage. The green lungs of the planet, such as the Amazon rain forest, are rapidly being felled. These precious biodiversity resources cannot be restored in the short term once they have gone.

The repercussions for humans are also pretty horrific, with the Covid-19 pandemic an example of what could increasingly happen moving forward, destroying the natural environment around us, so animal life moves closer to humankind.

The Attenbourgh programme did show some signs of hope, where positive developments are contributing to save and develop biodiversity, as well as cut global emissions.

One positive development has been the rewilding movement. This has seen whole areas being returned to more like their natural state.

In places like the Knepp estate in West Sussex, original species like Dartmouth ponies, Tamworth pigs and longhorn cattle have returned and prospered.

Locally, Redbridge has been seeking to increase the amount of land given to wilding. The growzone initiative started in Wanstead has been one notable success.

Now, the extinction threat has been picked up with the Endangered in Wanstead campaign, highlighting ten species that are struggling to survive in our area.

The project, organised by Wild Wanstead, the Wren Wildlife and Conservation Group and London Wildlife Trust has singled out the house sparrow, hedgehog, skylark, swift, common toad, pipistrelle bat, smooth newt, tawny mining bee, stag beetle and common blue butterfly as at risk.

The campaign will seek to involve local stakeholders to play a part in preserving and promoting the future existence of these threatened creatures. It is incredible to think how many species that used to be plentiful have diminished. Some 30 or 40 years ago, house sparrows used to be a common sight around Wanstead gardens, now much less so. Then there are the hedgehogs, which are now a rarity.

If we begin to act to help out by creating the sort of environments where these creatures can prosper though, they can come back.

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Paul Donovan is a Redbridge Labour councillor for Wanstead village and blogger. See