A day to remember

Yesterday was a remarkable day. For me, on a personal level, there in London, it was just mind blowing. I joined around 50,000 others in the streets of London as we marched through giving out a strong message of how we not only care about the future of this planet but want it to be a safe and sustainable place for everything which lives on it. Now, along with in many, many years to come. All through my body, I felt hope. The smile on my face was beaming as I was surrounded by so many passionate people who are fighting for what they believe in. That’s the thing with climate change, everyone has different stories and reasons why they’re so provoked to take action. Whether it be for those in the poorest parts of the world who’s homes could be washed away permanently with a 2-3 degree rise in temperature or for our wild friends and to protect their habitats. At the end of the day though, this is what brings us all together and shows we’re all the same.

One of the reasons why I did feel so hopeful was due to the amount of people there, no one can ignore that! At the end of the day it was announced as the biggest climate march that’s ever taken place in the UK! But what about elsewhere? Well, in other parts of the UK there were events taking place in York, Wales, Southampton, Manchester…everywhere! Then further afield, they were taking place all around the world. Sydney, Manila, South Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Yemen, Greece, Austria, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Ukraine and the list goes on. Paris was also another city where protests were taking place but after the recent attacks, they were told that people marching and gathering was not allowed. Instead, the people here did something even more powerful. They left a pair of shoes to symbolise those that would of stood their. The sight of this must be so overpowering. Each and every pair representing someone. It made me think more to the core of why everyone may of attended a march. All with their own story and the path they’ve taken, perhaps the sadness they’ve come to contact with or what they’ve witnessed and has therefore made them come to terms and fight.

But was the message clearly shown? Well, if none of these marches or people happened or gathered around the world over the weekend then it wouldn’t of been shown how important this is. Letting leaders know that the whole world is watching. Regarding COP21, we have some hope. The fact it’s happening and the aim of the outcomes already are to put a cap on rising temperatures and the use of none-renewable energy. But, how far will this go though? Will it be enough to tackle the rising temperatures? Is it just going to be for the next 30-40 years or will it be established that the impacts of climate change and aims for a healthier planet need to be taken beyond that and into many, many years to come. Above everything, we need change.

Being part of the march in London yesterday was beyond imaginable, it was simply so inspiring and powerful, the sheer number and drive from all those people. There has been quite a build up too. For me, I’ve been doing lots of writing for numerous blogs, this blog and some more as well as attending local events. I believe local scales are very important as it’s about approaching ordinary people and encouraging them to get involved and do their part. Whether that just be things around their house, spreading the message to friends or perhaps they go on and write just a simple letter to their MP. It’s all important and adds up to the bigger picture and this massive wave we want to send to those who have the power to make a change. Some of my friends or people I might talk to believe that the rising temperatures are no big deal to them, yet they pose bigger threat, if big change doesn’t happen, then many of the issues which they believe do.

In fact, this wraps up with something that makes me mad about the attitude of many. The fact that it isn’t acted upon in ways that similar issues or maybe ones that are arguably not as important. Why are they issues that are classed as something not as vital as others? Not only by politicians and leaders but by ordinary people too, is it because we’re so disconnected? Aren’t looking to the future? Or perhaps because they’re classed as long term issues that are fast becoming short term issues? But when that time comes it will become too late. There are so many different elements to it, another may be profit and money which boils down to the fact that some would rather kill off natural environments to get some pounds in their pocket.

The whole world has it’s eyes on Paris from today until the 11th December. Young , old and from all around the world. Climate change is a global issue that we all must unite together to tackle. There are a number of topics that I’d like to write about on this post about yesterday, COP21, some of my views and so on. Also there’s so much that’s going to be happening over the next 11 days so to add my support and my eyes on Paris, I’ve decided that I’m going to write a series of blogs through the 11 days. Perhaps not everyday but covering a range of topics as the climate talks in Paris are very important and I’d like to highlight that with my blog.

 

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And of course, those hen harriers! (Richard Ebbs)

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The Peoples March – let them know!

Recently I’ve been fairly quiet on my blog and social media. This is partly down to the workload for sixth form that’s taken away quite a lot of my free time, as well as something exciting that I’ll be sharing hopefully within the next few weeks or months. Anyway, something that I’m really looking forward to is this weekend.

For those of you who don’t know, from the 30th November until the 11th December it will be the Paris climate conference and this upcoming weekend events will be taking place all round the UK to mark the start of the talks as well as emphasising that we’re standing for a positive change and outcome.

Climate change is an issue that is very controversial, but in quite different ways and for a number of reasons. Quite often I come across those who are climate change sceptics. This may be down to the fact that they believe it’s a natural occurrence, it isn’t that big a risk or perhaps it’s just easier to ignore so it’s not a worry and their lifestyle isn’t effected. As someone who is prepared to stick out and do what I can , it’s quite overwhelming. There’s so many different causes and aspects to it. From pension divestment into none renewable energy to the impacts from the food we eat. So for someone who has a busy lifestyle and has many different things to focus on which aren’t exactly effected by climate change, it doesn’t really cross their mind and I suppose they don’t see that ‘duty’ of doing something. As well as this, in the world today there are a lot of problems. You turn on the news and in the last few weeks it’s been very full on, from ISIS and air strikes to the NHS and junior doctors. These are all mainly short term issues which people believe will have an impact on their life and how they go about. Climate change is something that is considered long term, but what is not recognised is that it is all too quickly becoming a short term issue.

When I was younger, I think I remember hearing about climate change in one of my geography lessons. It’s something that is mentioned due to it’s effects. In fact in my last A level geography lesson just last week we were learning about how climate change is having an effect on flooding, even here in the UK. A few weeks back I went to a climate event at a local town. There was a panel and debates went on, it was very good. The local MP turned up too so it was quite successful and there were some positive outcomes. Whilst sitting there, after all the panel members had spoken, there were some questions from the floor. One of which was a young girl who was a year older then me. She spoke about similar points that I would make, for example young people’s attitudes, what’s going on in schools and the effects it’s going to have on her generation in years to come. After she spoke, I did too and I thought it was only right to elaborate on what she’d said and to show that young people are there and that the future matters. For the next 10-20 minutes, there were plenty more comments from other floor members. Anyway, the younger generations do care about the planet. Why wouldn’t they? It’s the one they’re going to grow up on! But for many, this comes after they’re educated and made aware of what’s happening.

To me, climate change is also something that questions the idea of leadership. We can all do our little bit to decrease our impact but there’s only so far. For example, you can’t exactly control where your everyday appliances come from or how they were manufactured. You can to a certain extent by not buying them or buying the best options but for many that may become too expensive or they simply can’t live without them. Therefore this is when the step of authority and leadership comes in so there’s stricter regulations and impacts to the environment aren’t as bad. This example is small scale but overall the message I’m trying to make, from this odd example, is that it’s everywhere. However, on the other hand, anyone can lobby, push, encourage governments, leaders etc to take a step and make changes that will have a much larger impact.

Being someone who’s interested in wildlife, it’s difficult to ignore the impacts from climate change. Whether that be here in the UK or much further afield. From the species who are loosing their habitats to those that are changing their behaviour to adapt. This was one of the main reasons how I became so aware of the issue, from this I researched and found that it’s not just something that is threatening wildlife and the natural world but people and many different aspects of the planet.  As I mentioned, this weekend events will be taking place all around the UK and I’m off to London on Sunday!

See you there?

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Taken at the #fortheloveof Peoples March back in June.

Volunteering adventures

Throughout the time I had off during the summer, one of the things I decided to do to keep myself busy even more was volunteer at a nearby RSPB nature reserve, Sandwell Valley. Then once the summer was over, I kept in touch and last week I went along for the day to help out.

RSPB Sandwell is a superb reserve and whilst volunteering there last week I was given the task to do a write up for their blog about what it’s like during the Autumn and what the reserve’s like from my perspective as a volunteer. For this I tried something out, a bit more of a ‘creative’ writing style compared to normal so I’ve decided to share it on my blog too.

A Search for Autumn at RSPB Sandwell

Last night left dew on the grass which continued through to this morning with a drizzly start. As the clouds parted and it began to dry up, a damp undertone was left along with a somewhat chilly feel, but not as much as you’d expect for this time of the year.

However this had no effect and wasn’t to stop it being a delightful walk on the reserve. When stepping out your left ear drum is hit by the sound coming from the feeding station which stands just metres away. Happily getting on was the usual great tits and blue tits before a swarm of greenfinches and chiming goldfinches battled in. The amount of space on the feeders was limited with the numbers that had arrived. Birds caught in mid-air and frantically moving their wings. A scene which was quite different compared to the summer when I saw it thriving with the bright pink colours of the bullfinches. Below the table and feeders, were the usual suspects including the odd pigeon and of course a squirrel stumbling in.

In the distance, further down the reserve, you can see the lake where white blobs float and beckon you. As I make my way down to the hide to see what other birds I can discover down by the lake, the path takes me down through colourful woodlands and paths which weave and show of views of the valley.

Whilst listening carefully I could hear the distant traffic but this did not last for long as a robin right above me bellowed its heart out, enough to blur out any traffic sounds. Looking further down, to the greenery at my level and there’s a host of berries, including the distinctive late autumn crop of rose hip as well as sloes. Some of which have just been feasted on by the blackbird which bolted out.

Looking to the ground and how can we give the autumn treasure of fungi a miss. Whilst I kneel down, I investigate the scattering of dead bark. A common type I came across was turkey tail.  On closer examination it’s pretty obvious why it has this name. While the upper surface comprises of centric zones of red, yellow, green, blue, brown, black and white, the underside, which is covered in tiny shallow pores, is white.

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Whilst still in the search of other fungi species I come across a sign saying ‘mini beast hunting’ however something tells me it’s rather quiet at the moment, not many of the smaller kind around! Nevertheless, I stumbled across a hedgehog house. A very important house, perhaps there’s a little fellow fast asleep in there right now. Enjoying the peace and quiet as the cold weather starts to kick in! There’s no doubt that RSPB Sandwell Valley is truly giving nature a home.

Further down the path and you’re presented with a view which could only match to that of an artist’s painting. With what looks like a hundred different colours, all different tones of orange, red, yellow, green and even some pink. On the path before me I’m taken through an arch with a floor of similar colours and tones. After a wet night, the smell is very distinctive. The smell of wet leaves seems to have some sort of ring about it, definitely a key smell of autumn. With the gentle breeze, more shapes, patterns, colours and tones are added.

Before entering the hide I’m rung deaf by a volery of long tailed tits, all squabbling in the tree above but a delightful sound.  Once sat in the hide I’m not only greeted by the regular bird watchers here but also some of the usual bird suspects. I’m also told about the morning’s sightings of a pintail which was part way through maulting, wigeon, shoveler, snipe and the kingfisher from earlier which gave a display which can only be classed as showing off! As I look out from the hide, in front of me stands six cormorants balanced on one of the platforms. One of which was bathing itself in the mid morning mist and making the occasional rattling call. I also spotted a few goosanders, some to early to identify as either male or female. However those in the hide did get some good sites as one flew right over to go and sit opposite on one of the platforms, mixed in with the gulls. I also managed to see a shoveler out  on the lake, with the startling white colouration on its body as well as plenty of teal.

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As the drizzle begins again another squabble occurs within the group of gulls and a couple of lapwing hop around the island. On my way back up to the visitor centre, the rain clears away once more and the rich, golden autumnal landscape continues to glow.

http://rspbsandwellvalley.blogspot.co.uk/

Deep breath, and let it out: #RantsforChange

Do you ever find yourself sitting with either a friend, relative or whoever else having a strong debate about an issue which is very important to you? Throwing out the facts, figures, your opinion and what you think should change.

For me, this happens all too often. I’ve got into a habit now of writing the issue down if I find myself ranting to someone else about it. Perhaps I said something that made sense and I thought could be quite persuasive, or maybe it’s an issue that’s never really occurred to me before so I want to go and research it.

Although finding yourself in these situations is often good exercise, sometimes I can’t help but think that I’m wasting my time a bit. I mean what am I going to get from going on about something to someone who agrees with me? This is one reason why I enjoy writing my blog or putting comments on social media. For some subjects it gets it off my chest and helps me progress, maybe there’s something I can do to help make some change.

Anyway, there’s something new on the block. Maybe you don’t have a blog but feel as though you get your message and impact across better in person. Sometimes I feel like that, however a new YouTube channel has come about so you can do just that. Rants for Change! The channel is dedicated to inspiring people to put their face to the camera to encourage visionary thinking. It was set up by Emma Websdale and you can find out more by clicking on the links below.

I believe it’s a brilliant idea and so far it’s had a successful start. Already it’s got a fantastic portfolio of rants on the channel about a range of issues from a range of people. For example, videos about those rather annoying people who hang dog poo bags on branches to some about plastic bags and the 5 pence charge. They’re well worth watching and sharing. I’ve even done one! Mine is about something that annoys me quite a lot, which is the media’s reporting of environmental issues. Issues that are so important that they’re arguably headline worthy! An example of what I go on about is the ‘eco-apocalypse’ that’s taking place in Indonesia. Something that’s being described as a crime against humanity and nature yet the media are nowhere to be seen.

Please do take a look at the selection of videos and if you would like to get involved and maybe submit a two minute rant for change then do check out their Twitter account too.

Twitter – @RantsforChange

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRz1n0FlcdedL1EtZGL6mOA/videos