The scientific community, governments and the United Nations agree that we have to act on climate change now, acting in several ways as quickly as possible, or face escalating consequences. A growing number of bodies, including local councils, have responded by declaring a Climate Emergency . So what can be done locally to slow down and turn around the speeding juggernaut?
What does this have to do with wildlife?
As well as impacting humans through extreme weather, rising sea levels and limitations on our lifestyle - for example what we eat, climate change is one of the main reasons we are seeing wildlife declines globally and locally.
Wildlife is struggling to adapt to the unnaturally fast pace of climate change in a broken landscape which desperately needs a Nature Recovery Network to allow it to move freely and for populations to recover from decades of decline.
But nature also provides one of the best solutions to tackling climate change. At the same time as reducing emissions, changing our lifestyles and embracing technology to help us reverse catastrophic climate change, allowing nature to recover will help lock away huge amounts of carbon currently causing the problem.
Natural Climate Solutions
Much of our local landscape has become degraded and devoid of wildlife. Huge swathes of farmland have lost their soil quality and must be sprayed with fertilisers to keep them productive; our coastline has become modified and erosion is causing natural stores of carbon to be lost to the atmosphere at an alarming rate. Natural Climate Solutions means allowing natural processes to capture carbon efficiently, at the same time creating a multitude of benefits for people and wildlife.
It’s not just planting trees we’re talking about – though that absolutely has its place – turning intensive arable fields back into flower-rich grassland locks away a huge amount of carbon; allowing wetlands to be restored will not only stop peat from releasing CO2 it locks more away; allowing a coastline to realign naturally creates natural habitats which are immensely productive and good at sucking in carbon.
Making it Happen
Natural Climate Solutions can be a reality in our local area and whilst bigger is certainly better, small local projects can play a meaningful part too.
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is totally committed to making Natural Climate Solutions a reality and will acquire new land, restore nature, and calculate how much carbon has been captured in the process. We will also be able to demonstrate the return of lost and iconic species like the skylark, wildflowers which support pollinating bees, and more healthy air and clean water as a result. Nature benefits, humans benefit.
What is needed?
Those of us who are making change happen in response to the Climate Emergency must carry on working towards reducing emissions and making society less carbon-hungry. Pushing for investment in Natural Climate Solutions is also a fundamental piece of the jigsaw with so many other benefits and we are poised and ready to deliver it now. We cannot afford more ‘talking shops’ a -climate emergency requires rapid and coordinated action.