Tag Archives: climate change

2015: An overview

2015 over and already the third day into 2016. So far a good start although I’m slightly concerned about my first bird of the year being a wood pigeon, hopefully it’s not a sign of things to come this year. I’m sure it isn’t, after all I did see a buzzard shortly after which was considerably more exciting!

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get out onto my patch on Friday but yesterday I joined about 50 others on a walk around Chasewater in the bid to save our Staffordshire countryside. Even though the weather wasn’t great, as always it was wonderful to be surrounded and chat to others with similar mindsets and passionate about our countryside here in Staffordshire. This is something I discovered for the first time in 2015. Back in February I went on my first ever march which was against the badger cull. At the end of 2014 I remember wanting to go along to a march in 2015 as the ‘badger army’ do an amazing job of travelling the country to put there message out there. As Birmingham is only a 40 minute train journey away I was eager and sure to attend. The march started up by the library, where there were a few stalls, then went down into the town. At this point we went off to have some lunch but I was desperate to go back and join again as the vibe was just amazing.

It seems that day I caught the bug, I realised how easy it was to go along and support what I’m passionate about through peaceful protests. Obviously the marches are just one ingredient for the fight that needs to be continued for what we’re passionate about, whether it be the badgers, climate change or hen harriers. These events attract media attention, make the public more aware and send that powerful message out to those making the decisions. I believe 2015 was quite successful for creating more awareness through such things as social media. We saw trends on Hen Harrier Day, the start of the driven grouse shooting season (Inglorious 12th), for badger Monday, ‘for the love of’ marches, the ivory trade and much more. These are trends anyone in the UK may see. As well as this, the Thunderclaps. Some of these last year reached thousands and thousands, if not millions, of people. Not only that but the signatures on petitions, and so many amazing people going out of their way to tell anyone and everyone about the issues our natural world is facing. One real glimmer of hope and realisation that finished my year was the rally in London back at the end of November to mark the start of COP21. 50,000 people! Incredible and a day to remember. Unfortunately the result of COP21 wasn’t as it could of been but it goes on and the power of those people is obviously not going to be fading away any time soon!

However, could this support and action continue and grow into 2016? If each of us dragged a friend onto a march, persuade someone to sign a petition or even got a few people to write to their local MP expressing concern then that’s a start. On quite a few different occasions I went on a march or to an event and I spoke to someone who was interested in similar issues but was perhaps unaware of other campaigning that was going on or perhaps why the campaigning was happening. Even more so, to just ordinary people who were unaware of ongoings but made angry when they realised.

Above I mentioned about my first march against the badger cull. As you will know it was an extremely sad year for such an iconic and beloved species as the cull went on once again and the blame game continued. The Tory ‘win’ back in March makes the outlook for this year even more bleak. I’ve read and heard already that this year the cull will not be lasting for six weeks but could start June 1st and go through to February 1st 2017. Not only that but in more areas too. This has turned into their long term strategy and therefore needs attacking on more fronts then ever with direct action, campaigning, public awareness and much more. Whether it’s on a national or local scale, everyone can be doing something. Fortunately this year saw the rise of National Badger Day which was a great success and saw many people from all around the UK raising awareness for badgers. From activities in schools and fundraising to the short film created.

The Badger Trust does a fantastic job of keeping up the pressure and working extremely hard. Their events and marches are always very popular and they never seem to have a day off! In 2015, I met many inspirational people within the trust, all of which are very passionate about the animal and show no sign of giving up! I thoroughly enjoyed meeting many of them this year as well as joining them on marches, at the conference and the seminar.

Of course another successful day, and one to remember, this year was Hen Harrier Day. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to the event back in 2014 but I know that the numbers grew and more was taking place all around the country. Again, put together and held by fantastic and inspirational people from across the UK as well as those that attended. The persecution of raptors continues in this day and age which is somewhat difficult to believe but as many grasp onto their idea of ‘tradition’ and ‘fun’ the fight continues. However, as I mentioned, after this years turn out at the events across the country and work being done for hen harriers and wildlife upon our uplands, the pressure is always increasing.

Just last week I was reading a review that was published just before Christmas by RSPB Scotland on crimes against birds of prey. From an area in Scotland, the report showed shootings on hen harriers and buzzards, as well as illegal pole traps, poisoned baits left out and, unfortunately, so on. New techniques to catch these criminals are being taken on-board though. After the shooting of the Red-footed falcon, which surprised many birders, a fund has been set up to help catch the criminal who killed it.

We’ve learnt of many acts of crime like these this year but the fight and determination still goes on. A highlight of my year was back at the Birders Against Wildlife Conference in March which was a fantastic day with lots of inspiring speakers, of which I look forward to later on in the year. It’s always wonderful to follow the hard work of BAWC and co as they set out with their strong intentions to end wildlife crime. I’m very certain this will continue into 2016, and beyond, as well as growing support.

One of the very last times I got out onto a local patch last year was with a junior wildlife group I help out with at the National Memorial Arboretum. It feels very odd as I have been going along and acting as a ‘leader’ for almost three years now but it’s something I enjoy very much. They’re a fantastic bunch and no doubt made me realise how important nature is to young people. From when we go pond dipping and the delight on their faces, which is beyond describable, to the stories they share about the wildlife they’ve seen recently. This year the idea around nature and young people has crossed my path many many times and it’s something I’m very interested in as it’s us that will be doing our bit to help nature and give it a home in the future. It’s so important, yet something that has become incredibly apparent to me this year is how scary the situation is. When I go into schools or talk to children that haven’t been given the opportunity to roam free it’s very sad and worrying. It’s as simple as if they don’t know or understand nature then why are they ever going to care about it?

Just before Christmas I received a few letters from a local primary school. The children there were practising their handwriting and wanted to write to me about why they loved nature and that they’d been watching my trail camera footage. The letters were truly heart warming and really made me think and realise how important nature was to me as a child. In one of the letters, my favourite quote was ‘I like nature because it’s not man-made’. It’s such a simple thing to say but just shows their true feelings and illustrates ours too.

Last year I visited quite a few schools, groups, out of school lessons and so on. It was great to have this opportunity and share my interest with other young people, some younger and some my own age, as well as make them more aware of how modern day issues are harming what we all treasure. I couldn’t not mention the young people my own age I’ve met and become friends with this year too, those who are working very hard for what they love, whether that’s through recording, some campaigning, speaking out or just simply doing what they enjoy. I look up to many of these as it can be tough sometimes being surrounded whilst at sixth form or out and about with my other friends and defend my interest which is sometimes not accepted by others. This was more of a big deal in secondary school but I still experience it from time to time. I also read a wonderful write up from a fellow young naturalist about her story last year – click here.

Throughout the year I was all over the place, everywhere! One of the most popular destinations had to be London, not a month went by I hadn’t been down to London a few times, it’s now become the norm’. Amongst many, one of my favourite trips down had to be for the march against the amendment of the Hunting Act. It was quite an exciting day with all the energy about and the amount of people as well as it being around the actual time decisions were going to be made. Luckily the vote was called off but that didn’t call of the reason of why we should of been there.

It will be very interesting to see what happens next regarding the vote. The tories promised one in their manifesto but there’s lots of controversy over whether it will actually happen or if there will be an overall ‘No’ vote as many, even Conservative MPs, are against a repeal. Or as they put it, an amendment.

Another trip down to London which I will never forget from last year was the rally which marked the start of COP21. First of all, I’d never been on a march so big and I felt very proud to have made the effort to be there and show my all-out support. United all around the world but most of all making it clear why this matters. Not for 50/60 years time but now.

It was quite a build up for myself, I’d been ‘looking forward’ to the day and to see what COP21 would bring. Throughout the weeks that ran up I was involved in many events and meetings locally. Although acting on a national scale is very important, locally is too. It’s a way in which we climb the ladder to build up and is all part of the whole process. The outcomes may not be as big but nonetheless, it counts. I went along to a few meetings in the run up, no specific action has been taken just yet but there’s that idea of keeping in touch and sharing information about each others causes or any events taking place.

Above I’ve touched on a few different events, days, times and causes that I dedicated a lot of my time to throughout 2015. This is because they mean something to me and I’m passionate about them. There’s been plenty more but I’d probably end up going on all day. 2016 is yet another year to work and fight back for the hope of our natural world, whatever the aspect may be. However the drive which makes me get up and go is obviously getting out in the first place, understanding nature, appreciating it and wanting to do my part for something which has been so positive for me. This year I had the opportunities to go on lots of wonderful outings. From new species I saw on my local patch and recording them with my camera to watching the conservation work of others when I went down to Bath and spent the day with a friend ringing owls and kestrels across Wiltshire.

I didn’t share it as much as I have in the past but I had a great Spring out with my trail camera this year at a local badger sett. By far I got the best footage of cubs which was the most wonderful thing ever. On one clip I had the mother exiting the sett then followed by two of her cubs, later on another two appeared. After I set my camera up throughout the Spring and well into Summer I watched these beautiful animals grow in size and become more independent. This is why I fight for badgers, the possibility of culls in Staffordshire within the next few years is frightening. It wasn’t just these animals, we discovered a new sett this year where we could watch the badgers from a fair distance but still get an amazing view. I’ve watched badgers before but here I got to have a fantastic sight of them without them realising we were there.

I also had a dream come true when I found peregrine falcons at the cathedral in my local city centre, just a 20 minute walk from where I live. I went down many times to watch them and to see what was happening, especially throughout the breeding season. I remember very well going down the one time and there was calling between a male and female which was very vocal and went on for what felt like hours!

Two other real highlights of my year when I was able to learn about the conservation work of others along with learn from their knowledge and understanding of their topic was my week at Spurn and the day I spent ringing kestrels and owls in Wiltshire.

 

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.

Baked Alaska

You’ll be delighted to know that this is no cooking blog. Well in some ways it is and by that I mean the cooking of our planet. Of course I’m talking about rising temperatures and climate change.

Inspiration for the blog title comes from a show I went to watch last Friday night at Lichfield Cathedral by the theatre company, Riding Lights. I’m not one for theatre really but when I heard about this it sounded very interesting so I decided to go and see what it would be like and I’m happy I did! It was very good. A few words to sum it up would be compelling, comical, entertaining and educational. I don’t find many things educational and comical but this was and it was done very well. Definitely something EVERYONE needs to see!

Over the past few weeks and months my thoughts and actions have been targeted at the run up to the climate talks in Paris this December. Of course our changing climate is having a massive impact on our wildlife and their habitats worldwide. Just yesterday I read an article about how more then a third of the snow leopard’s mountain habitat could become uninhabitable for them due to warming temperatures. It’s worrying stuff and it’s not just putting species at risk but it’s also changing the behaviour of others. Take the cetti’s warbler which has moved 150km further north within the UK over the past 40 years, in a response to the changing climate.

It’s not just wildlife and their habitats either, it’s the environment as a whole along with people. A very clever scenario from the show was that there were two neighbours and one was having a party. However in the garden of the one who was having the party there were lots of rubbish bags that they’d created. To move them out of the way so it was convenient for them and so their party ran smoothly they chucked the bags over the fence to discard of them. To their ‘neighbours’. This was very clever and illustrates how we create lots of rubbish (carbon) which is having a great impact on our neighbours. Which happens to be those in the poorest countries of the world. Their reaction is that they simply can’t do anything about it. No one can deny, we’re all carbon junkies. Perhaps through no fault of our own as it’s what we’re surrounded by and what we’ve turned into but there’s nothing stopping any of us from changing this.

The run up to the Paris talks is major. However it’s very difficult to find a positive streak of me that thinks something progressive could come from it. It’s scary, perhaps the end of this battle or maybe just the start of us pushing even further for a healthy planet.

I’ve been quite busy with A-level work over the past few weeks but obviously I’m trying to balance the books. Some may not agree but this is important. I may be a tiny, tiny voice behind millions but that’s what counts, adding your voice and doing your part. I could still do more but then again everyone can. A couple of weeks ago I went along to a discussion type meeting in Sutton Coldfield that had been organised by the Eco-Sutton group. I not only went to support their work, as Sutton is only a short train journey from me, but to see how they’re working as well as to hear the views and opinions of the local MP, Andrew Mitchell. I imagine many of you may recognise that name from the not so recent ‘pleb-gate’ scandal. Anyway, it was very interesting. Andrew Mitchell is a Tory and not as bad as I thought he would be. He applauded the work of Eco-Sutton and also understood and recognised the problems caused by climate change, to some extent anyway. As you’ll be able to imagine this only went so far.

He went onto criticise the talks from the other two on the panel, Mark Letcher (Operation Noah) and Jamie Peters (Friends of the Earth), and expressed his attitude of ‘we must be realistic’ as well as shove such rubbish down our necks as ‘David Cameron is passionate about climate change’ and ‘the UK is leading in this field’. What he came out with was only to be expected but then again he wasn’t a climate change sceptic which says a lot compared to my MP, Michael Fabricant. At the event it was also quite delightful to have the issue raised about actually looking to the future and the next generation, which caused some discussion. Myself and another girl both stood up and expressed how it is throughout the younger generation, something that is again quite worrying but could well be reversed.

There needs to be a massive movement. There isn’t just a couple of hundred of us who are adding to the problem but pretty much everyone. Nevertheless I shouldn’t go without saying that there is a lot of positive stuff going on but will it be enough? It isn’t all about leadership as quite frankly if we leave it to them then there won’t be much hope at all. This isn’t something we can shrug off or brush under the carpet, it’s serious and crucial stuff.

I wanted to write this blog as I haven’t really wrote many about the matter except the one from the climate rally back in July. I hope to write many more over the next few weeks and months as it is something I’ve been putting a lot of my energy into recently and there’s plenty to write about!