Growing up, nature has been integral to my life. When I reflect on my life so far, many of my important memories have revolved around the English countryside. The country is a place beloved to the hearts of the English people, not least because of its stunning array of wildlife.

However, wild animals in the cities of England are given a far different treatment to their rural counterparts. Labelled ‘vermin’, ‘filthy’ and the like, the humble rat and pigeon are driven away, exterminated, and despised. But I have an admiration for the proud pigeon, and the tenacious rat. ‘Vermin’ have adapted to the rapidly changing human world with a skill few can rival. The world which has grown around the rats and the pigeons has not been a hospitable one, but they’ve been remarkably good sports about it. Furthermore, nobody really hates vermin because they’re vermin. It’s more of a culture of revulsion that forces us to distance ourselves from them. And it had a use, back when rats were a primary carrier of diseases, notably the bubonic plague. But, just like the plague, a fear of rats should be a thing of the past. I think we’re more akin to rats than we think. Not only do we share much of our DNA, we’re both audacious creatures who reshape an inhospitable world, and crown ourselves kings.