Tag Archives: outdoors

GE2015 7 Day Blogs: Speaking for Wildlife

A week today most of you will have a good idea on what party you want to vote for and why you want to vote for them as the polls have opened and you have until 10pm that night to vote. Maybe some of you have no idea at all! For me, I have a great idea of who I’d vote for but unfortunately I can’t as I’m 16.

When we decide who we’re going to vote for we consider many different things. Whether we agree with the parties policies (most definitely) , you support the local MP or perhaps you’re vote is tactical. When I think about what party I’d vote for the first thing that comes into my head is what are they planning to do for our natural world. Do they have an action plan? – As this is necessary. Would their plan be effective? Or do they realise how important our natural world is, is this obvious with what they have said and stand for?

Everyone has different reasons for voting for different parties, most likely it’s because you agree with something they stand for which affects you. As I said, for me that’s nature. But I think more people need to think about nature when they vote. Not just for those who enjoy it and get great pleasure from it but for themselves. Nature helps everyone in all sorts of ways, for most they don’t even know. From the bees which pollinate the food they eat to the trees which reduce flooding and give us the oxygen we breath. It also helps us in a way that we enjoy being outdoors, whether it be due to illnesses like depression or just for pure enjoyment and escaping. At the end of the day, if you look at the bigger picture, nature affects us all in so many different ways which we all need to understand and consider. If we don’t act now though then our nature is going to carry on declining and they’ll be no going back. Due to this it worries me hugely for future generations.

When looking at the manifestos there is a big difference from one to another. Some are very supportive and obviously care greatly about the environment yet others seem to have forgotten that it exists!

Here are some key things I took when looking through all the party manifestos which link to the environment and nature:

Labour

  • The first point I took from their manifesto, to do with the environment, was that a Labour Government would play a leading global role in tackling climate change. It says that this will not be enough to get rid of the threat of climate change but we must adapt to its damaging effects, which are impacting us today
  • They also plan to produce a ambitious adaptation programme and prioritise investments in flood prevention.
  • Deal with the problem of air pollution by giving local authorities the powers they need
  • Keeping forests in public ownership and promote access to green spaces in local planning
  • Support the work of the National Capital Committee to protect and improve wildlife habitats and green spaces, and make them part of our thriving tourism industry
  • End to the badger cull
  •  Improve the protection of cats and dogs
  • Ban wild animals in circuses
  • Defend the hunting ban
  • Deal with wildlife crime associated with shooting

UKIP

  • Not allow the countryside to be over developed with housing. They believe that our countryside must be preserved so it can be enjoyed by future generations
  • Match fund grants made by local authorities towards rural capital projects, such as creating a lake, wetland, repairing traditional stone walls etc. Which will enhance the local environment, encourage rural education, or help recovery from environmental disasters
  • Triple the maximum jail sentence for animal cruelty
  • Keep the ban on animal testing for cosmetics

Conservative

  • Protect hunting, shooting and fishing
  • Give Parliament the opportunity to repel the Hunting Act
  • Put in a ‘Blue Belt’ to help protect precious marine habitats
  • Keep forests in the trust of the nation and plant another 11 million trees
  • Tackle the illegal wildlife trade
  • Spend £3 million, which will enable them, to clean up rivers and lakes, protect stonewalls and hedges, and help our bees to thrive
  • Allow councils to give a fixed penalty on fly tipping,
  • Charge 5p for a plastic bag
  • Go ahead with HS2
  • Tackle international wildlife trade
  • Continue badger culling to control bTB

Scottish National Party (SNP)

  • Continue to support a moratorium on fracking
  • Commitments for carbon reduction

Plaid Cymru

  • Animal welfare law to end animal cruelty
  • Work across Britain and Europe to prevent the spread of invasive alien species, both flora and fauna

Greens (here goes)

  • Protect, expand, properly fund and improve non-car access to our national parks
  • Protect forests
  • Dramatically reduce the pesticides and priorities non-chemical farming methods through improved agri-environment schemes, legislation, education and the promotion of good practise in farming, as well as increased support for organic farming
  • Improve the management of woodland through new planting and the local use of sustainable woodland products
  • Aim to insure through planting that everyone is within 5 minutes walk of a green space
  • Help bees by reducing pesticides, ‘greening’ farming, improving planning guidance to preserve/create bee habitats, and making bees a priority species in biodiversity strategies
  • Promote landscape-scale conservation
  • Repeal the Nationals Planning Policy Framework
  • Work with local communities, scientists, and conservation groups to expand the UK’s network of Marine Conservation Zones
  • Play our part in creating a Southern Atlantic Reserve and champion internationally the protection of the Artic
  • Produce a strategy for capturing carbon and reducing greenhouse gases
  • Creating a healthy water environment
  • Prohibit developers from being allowed to destroy unique habitats by way of biodiversity offsetting elsewhere.
  • Support the conservation of the environment of the Oversea Territories
  • A complete ban on rabbit and hen cages
  • Tougher regulations on animals transportation
  • Action to stop the use of antibiotics in intensive animal farming
  • End of the badger cull
  • End of the use of snares
  • End the practise of grouse shooting and other ‘sport’ shooting

This is just a short list of the policies that the Green party have included in their manifesto about the environment and nature, if you’d like to have a better look, click here.

Liberal Democrats

  • Creating 200,000 new green jobs
  • Planting 1 million trees
  • Introducing a 5p charge on plastic carrier bags

From tomorrow until next Wednesday, the day before the general election, I will do a blog everyday looking at a variety of a few key topics which affects British wildlife and, in some cases, on a world wide scale. Then next Thursday, I will be summarising all that I have wrote about over the 6 day period.

In the posts I will go through why it’s important to deal with this issue, who it affects, what will happen if we don’t address the problem, see if there’s been a mention on any party manifesto and much more. With this I hope to help people see some problems we face within the natural world, what parties have said they’ll do to solve this (if anything at all) and be an eye opener. I then plan to share my blog with party leaders and MPs (etc) in the hope they’ll see the problems with these issues and why they need to be dealt with.

Another reason why I’ve decided to do this is because nature and the environment has been barely mentioned during general election campaigns. This is quite upsetting, it’s obvious we don’t understand that nature is extremely important. Therefore its important to express the issue in any way we can.

Obviously there are many issues which face our wildlife in the UK and world wide but unfortunately I only have six days and because I’m currently extremely busy revising and taking my GCSE exams so I’ve had to focus on them a lot too.

The topics include:

Friday – Saving our Oceans. In this blog I’ll be including the massive impact oceans have on all of us, why they need our help and how we can help.

Saturday – Snares. In this blog I’ll be including how evil snares are and why they should have been made illegal years ago!

Sunday – The badger cull. Where I’ll be including all from the badger march in David Cameron’s constituency, Witney, from the day before.

Monday – Helping our bees. In this blog I’ll be including problems facing bees, why we need to help them and how we can help them

Tuesday – Wild persecution/Wildlife Crime. In this blog I’ll be including a range of subjects, from birds of prey to foxes. Also how we need to stop the persecution through things like the police and the general public (which we bring me nicely onto Wednesdays topic).

Wednesday – Inspiring the next generation. Where I’ll be including the replies from my local MPs regarding my Vision for Nature

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Act for Nature.

Today I came across a campaign which has recently been set up by The Wildlife Trusts and RSPB. It is also backed by a number of other organisations which include WWT (Wetlands for life), Butterfly Conservation and many more. The campaign is called Act for Nature and it is a proposed piece of legislation to bring about the recovery of nature in a generation for the benefit of people and wildlife.

The joint campaign is asking politicians to act for nature and call for a Nature and Wellbeing Act in their Party’s election manifesto. The new laws would ensure protection and enhancement of nature as an investment in our nation’s prosperity.

You may ask, why do we need to act for nature? Well, the answer to that is for many different reasons! The first one is that we are loosing it at an alarming rate and something needs to be done. There are four principal causes of damage: habitat degradation, over-exploitation, pollution (particularly global climate change) and the introduction of invasive non-native species. The State of Nature report found that 60% of our UK species we know about are in decline. Habitats are becoming more fragmented and their condition is worsening to the extent that only 37% of the best sites are in good condition. These are just two of the worrying statistics about the alarming drop in our UK nature. From here though, at the moment, things aren’t looking too good for the future as only 1 in 10 children regularly play in wild places, compared to almost half, a generation ago. Without more young people growing an interest in the natural world and fulfilling a career in years to come the state of conservation will be lower and these statistics could decrease more and more. From my experience, at school I don’t know anyone who has any real interest or knowledge about nature. Then when I listen to stories of my Grandparents they explain that when they were at school everyone had an interest and everyone would regularly play in wild places. Also throughout my education I have never had many lessons about nature except for a few biology ones explaining the basic food chains – in my opinion this really isn’t an encouraging way of getting more kids involved and interested.

Nature helps us in every way possible, without it we wouldn’t even be here. For example the bees that pollinate the crops which create the food that we eat and just generally being outside that helps our wellbeing. It really does have a profound effect on our day to day lives. Currently we are facing increasing numbers in obesity and physical inactivity, and one in four of us will experience a mental heath problem at some point in our lives. Physical inactivity affects 60-70% of the adult population. The physical fitness of children is declining by up to 9% per decade. Many heath issues are linked to environmental inequality. Considerable evidence show that contact with nature can help to prevent and reverse poor health and wellbeing.

My last point, but certainly not the least, is the how much pleasure myself, and many others, get from being outdoors and observing the natural world in many different ways. From appreciating our endangered Hen Harriers fulfilling their distinctive sky dance to nature lovers feeding and caring for their garden residents. Like many others I experience the beauty of the natural world everyday. Whether it be the simple things like the change in colour on my local patch as the Autumn arrives or filming timid badger cubs emerging from their sett for the very first time.

From a young persons prospective the plummeting decline in our British wildlife is very worrying, whether it be as a whole or just individual species. It’s very scary and I often think about. Will anything be done in time? Will our wildlife ever be able to thrive within our landscape or will we carry on fighting for it’s survival. I want to do my best to make sure the natural world around us goes onto teem and be appreciated and noticed by everyone.  This campaign could help a lot by putting nature at the heart of how our country is run, so everyone can enjoy the benefits it provides in our everyday lives.

Within the Nature and Wellbeing Act, some of the changes that would be created for wildlife and nature include:

  • Wildlife in Neighborhoods
  • Making caring for nature a key purpose of schooling
  • A call for everyone to live no longer than 10 minutes walk from a natural space
  • Make access to nature and wild places part of preventative and treatment-based healthcare
  • Set new targets for increased wildlife and raise the nature baseline
  • Make sure our existing wildlife protection laws remain strong and continue to defend threatened species and habitats from harm.
  •  Create an Office of Environmental Responsibility in government to ensure targets for recovery are met

To support this campaign for a Nature and Wellbeing Act, take action and find out more please click here.

actfornature

Derbyshire effects and edits.

Last Saturday I went on a day trip around different towns and villages in Derbyshire. As always I brought my camera to photograph all the wonderful scenery and landscapes. However from the photos I took last Saturday I have edited and added effects to them in a different way.

Here are some of the photos that I took.

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Surprise!

On Friday night I decided to set my trail camera up in my Nan’s garden. A few weeks back she noticed a hole had been dug underneath her fence and we weren’t that sure what had done it so I decided to set my trail camera up in her garden to find out. When I collected my camera yesterday morning and looked at my footage I was surprised to see that I had recorded a rat! This was the first time that I had properly recorded rats on my trail camera. We think I may have recorded more then one but we’re not sure. Unfortunately I hadn’t set the settings on my trail camera right so I only have some screen shots. Here they are.

rat rat3 rat2 rat5 rat4

pigeonAnother visitor that I had before collecting my trail camera in the morning.