Protection, protection, protection – or will the quality of our lives disappear before us?

I consider myself to be a relatively positive person however, lately all I can think about is how our current actions are seriously detrimental to the worlds natural places. How awful that is. I am certain that if you were to do a poll on how much we value and enjoy our natural spaces, wherever you are in the world, that a majority of us would agree they need protection. Wild places are proven to be incredibly beneficial to both our mental and physical health! So why do we pretermit when it comes to joining hands and efforts and looking after these marvelous habitats? I say habitats because one MUST NOT forget the importance of these spaces to the rest of the worlds inhabitants such as the wildlife that thrives in them.  I believe it is crucial at this point in the post to point out the incredible efforts of organisations and individuals who already work tirelessly to protect these habitats. Their work is invaluable. A joined up approach i.e. a collaboration of efforts is going to have to be the way forward in the future, in order to make change.

Air pollution, litter, oil, building, plastic. These are just a few examples of how we are causing harm to the environment. Building I am aware is a risky subject to bring up. Although I am currently living in London, my home is rural Devon, being born and raised there. Over the years I have suffered in seeing the natural spaces I hold so dear to me being unruly destroyed. Housing estates popping up next to the beautifully wild habitats that sit opposite rivers. I do not mean this in any elitist way, for I understand that many people are still suffering without homes and more AFFORDABLE homes are needed. But the homes I see being built everyday in the area I was so privileged to grow up in are by no normal citizen’s means, affordable. Most starting upwards of £350,000. I am also very much aware that Devon is considered a highly desirable place to live, but let me tell you that if all these areas are to be developed as quickly as they currently are being, Devon will not be a desirable place to live. I use Devon as an example, yet I am aware this is happening all over England.

We need/have to act now to make a difference. Species richness across all corners of the UK is in critical decline – 44 million birds have disappeared from the UK countryside since 1966!! Staggering. Frightening.

So what can we individually do to help?

  • Build ponds, whether it be a washing up bowl on the patio with rocks in (so the wildlife doesn’t drown), or a big sunken pond in a space you have available. Ponds are possible with or without a garden and are hugely beneficial to numerous species.
  • Encourage your local council to stop mowing the wild flower verges and cutting down trees in towns.
  • Encourage children to get involved – we need the next generation to put the environment first. Gardening and bug hunts are a great way to get kids involved with nature.
  • Build a hedgehog home or bird box!
  • Get involved with, or organise your own beach cleans, woodland cleans and clear-ups.
  • Campaign! The Wildlife Trusts currently have a #WIlderFuture campaign – link: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wilder-future

If we all work together, we have a chance. So let’s get on with it.

Video I recommend watching (have some tissues present…):

 

Farewell Species #1…. :(

The Morrison government in Australia has formally recognised the extinction of a small island rodent, the Bramble Cay melomys. The first known demise of a mammal because of human-induced climate change. Disgusting news.

It’s not a big, iconic or ‘sexy’ species and therefore it won’t get much coverage in the media. But hold on to your hats, because guys this is seriously important.

The extinction of the Bramble Cay melomys is understood to be the first mammal killed off by human-led climate change.

Image credit: Queensland Government

The limited range of the animal, living on a five-hectare island less than three meters high, left it vulnerable to climate change. However, its 2008 so called “recovery plan”, drawn up when numbers were likely down to just dozens of individuals, downplayed the imminent and eventual risks.

“The likely consequences of climate change, including sea-level rise and increase in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, are unlikely to have any major impact on the survival of the Bramble Cay melomys in the life of this plan,” the five-year scheme stated.

And we laaaaughed and laughed (OR NOT!!!)…..

The federal policy director for the Wilderness Society, Tim Beshara, said preparation for the plan was limited, and it was never reviewed at its completion in 2013 – but why the hell not?!

“The Bramble Cay melomys was a little brown rat,” Mr Beshara said. “But it was our little brown rat and it was our responsibility to make sure it persisted. And we failed.”

Call me a pessimist, but my gut tells me this will be the first of many species to go extinct due to our undiscriminating behavior. We seriously need to buckle up and push our conservation efforts forward, with a more COLLABORATIVE approach. Easier said then done with little government backing, I’m aware…

 

Information taken from: https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/our-little-brown-rat-first-climate-change-caused-mammal-extinction-20190219-p50yry.html

A Coral For Help…

I was reading a recent BBC news article earlier today about the desperate situation at Maya Beach in Thailand. A once idyllic and flourishing beach that became littered and ecologically damaged due to it being a popular tourist destination. A huge increase in tourists was subsequent to the filming at Maya Beach of the feature film ‘The Beach’ during the mid 90’s. A huge conservation effort, including a total shutdown of the beach itself and the surrounding bay, has lead to the local ecology starting to recover. Yay!

But this got me thinking… (always dangerous..)

Perhaps the Maya Beach recovery is a sign that Thailand is turning a page in its effort to preserve its precious natural resources. But for a nation so dependent on tourists and their cash, it could also just be proof of how grim a situation has to get before enforced action to help the local biodiversity. The total area experiencing coral reef damage in Thailand has increased from 30% to 77% in just one decade! Staggering.

Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine scientist from Kasetsart University (who studied Maya Bay and the area for 40 years and was hired by the ministry to survey the environmental damage and lead the rehabilitation) blames polluted water (most often released by beachfront hotels) and plastic waste dumped into the ocean as the main causes of damage to coral reefs in this area.

mayabay2Figure.1. This satellite image shows the huge conservation efforts put in place to save Maya Beach and the wildlife that inhabits there.

Globally, coral reef health is declining at an unprecedented rate and tourism plays its part in this. So in the spirit of this article, I feel it necessary to highlight the need for better responsible tourism at vulnerable habitat spots and I cant help but feel this boils down to three key things. Education, research and of course, funding.

 

Information source and BBC news article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/the_beach_nobody_can_touch