This weekend representatives from 195 countries met at the 2015 World Climate Summit in Paris. They reached an historic agreement. In a nutshell their plan is to combat the rapid warming of Earth by switching from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. Here are the key elements of the agreement:
- Keep global warming temperatures well below 2.0°C and try to limit them to 1.5°C
- Limit greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100.
- Review each country’s contribution to cutting emissions every five years.
- Rich countries to help poorer nations switch to renewable energy.
Waiting until 2050 to achieve a balance seems wrong to me. I heartily agree that action needs to be taken but when I read the timescale I was truly horrified. The problem is that wildlife is in decline around the world RIGHT NOW. I am sure that you know that already.
Did you know that it’s likely that we have already lost somewhere around 50% of our wild creatures and wild flowers in the past 40 years? Statistics vary according to location and type of wild animals and plants surveyed by various well respected wildlife groups around the world. The World Wildlife Fund says that populations of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish have fallen by a whacking 52% in the past 40 years. It seems likely that industrialisation, pollution, and rapid changes to the environment as humans advance into wild areas are major causes of animal and plant death.
In the UK 2/3 of all our plants and animals are in decline.
In fact some of our most well loved animals are under threat because we are removing their homes and food supply. Fifty years ago every county across our land had fields full of wildflowers buzzing with insects surrounded by hedgerows alive with wild birds. Things are different now. Some animals and plants have already become extinct and many more are endangered. The creatures affected are some of our favourites.
- Brown Hare – Population down 80%
- Hedgehogs – Population down 90%
- Honey Bees – Population down 30%
- Tree Sparrow – Population down 97%
- Wildflower Meadows – 97% lost in the past 50 years.
- Water Vole Habitats – 94% lost. In fact the Water Vole is our fastest declining species.
And there’s more, our Garden Birds, Bats, Butterflies and Moths and Amphibians such as Frogs, Toads and Newts are in decline too.
What are we doing about it? I have already mentioned that there are organisations at work here at home and across the globe. They are doing their best to change things by raising awareness, raising funds and running conservation programmes. And that’s brilliant.
I would like to help. In fact I just know I HAVE to help. I can’t simply standby and watch our wild creatures disappear one by one. The problem is that there is so much to change that it’s overwhelming. As an individual it’s hard for me to imagine making a difference to the wildlife in another country. After all I’m just one woman.
But I know I can make a difference here, at home in my own garden. I garden without using chemicals. I find it impossible to believe that something that can kill slugs won’t harm wild birds or anything else for that matter, so I don’t use them. The simple changes that we have made mean that our garden is full of beautiful insects, all sorts of little mammals, amphibians and wild birds. If you let it, nature will find a balance. You can read more about ORGANIC GARDENING here and MEET THE LOCALS in my garden.
From my own experience I know that it is possible to change things. We can reverse the downward population trends. In our gardens insect populations can recover quickly given the right sort of food and habitat, particularly creatures like butterflies and bees.
This new worldwide agreement to reduce global warming is great. But after all it is just one step in the right direction and big plans like these take time to implement. It could be years before we see any of our governments making positive changes. We all know that time is something that our wild animals and plants just don’t have any more. So it’s up to us now.
There are things that we can all do to help starting today.
Here are five things simple things you could do this winter that will really make a difference to the wildlife in your neck of the woods. Most of them will also mean less work for you!
- Provide food and habitat for birds, insects and small mammals by leaving some seed heads on plants over winter and fallen leaves under hedges.
- Grow a variety of plants that flower and set seed in different seasons throughout the year so there is always a supply of pollen, nectar, berries and seeds.
- Don’t use chemicals. They are designed to kill. Why would you want to do that?
- Allow some plants to decay and die down naturally. Dead wood is food for lots of insects. Try not to disturb nesting creatures or hibernating insects.
- Plant a bare root tree or a hedge.Winter is the perfect time to plant new trees and hedges. Bare root plants are available during the dormant season from October to March for as little as £1 each.
What more can I do? I am offering free flower seeds to you. If you live in the UK and would like to grow some beautiful flowers and provide food for British Bees and Butterflies then just CONTACT ME to let me know. We have to do something to help put things right. After all our wildlife is suffering because of what we are doing to planet Earth. Please help if you can. Thank you! Gillian 🙂
28th Feb 2016 My free seeds offer has finished so I have removed the links. Thanks very much to everyone who requested seeds. They will be sent out to you in March. I am looking forward so hearing how you get on and seeing all your photos. Thanks again Gillian 🙂
17 thoughts on “Wildlife In Danger”
Super post, Gillian. The agreement is far worse than most media outlets pretend. There is no binding language just a whole lot of urging, aiming and welcoming going on. I absolutely agree that ordinary people will have to step in do the work. All your suggestions are brilliant. Some easy things to add onto your list that could make a huge difference: reduce or eliminate meat and dairy products from your diet, compost food scraps and garden trimmings, use public transit and reduce household use of electricity. Getting political at the local level wouldn’t hurt either.
Thanks Debra. I do think it’s up to us now! Everyone can find a way to help out I’m sure. We all need to do something quickly!
The focus with these things is usually on animals if anything at all and the plight of the poor old plants often gets ignored. Glad you’ve highlighted some of the issues.
Where would we be without plants? Beautiful, useful and tasty too!
The numbers are so disheartening. If everyone gave up a bit of their yard and replaced it with native plants, I’m sure it would have a great impact. Thanks for spreading the awareness!
Yes Eliza I agree that it’s quite a shock to realise just how much wild animals are declining because of our activities.
What a great post Gillian! I agree entirely – we can start in our own homes and gardens and spread the word. I am always trying to make my neighbours feel bad about using slug pellets and weed killer on their lawns. Every little helps, and it does rub off on others around us, I am sure!
Thanks very much Cathy. I have been trying to do that for years but our neighbour uses a backpack to spray chemicals around his garden! The message just isn’t getting through to some people. Anyway I just feel that I have to do more to demonstrate easy things we can do to improve the situation for our wildlife.
An excellent post, Gillian and you’re so right! All homeowners have it in their power to improve their local environment–no matter what the politicians and “leaders” say or do. Obviously, we can’t control the trend of fossil fuel use on a large scale, but we can provide for our beleaguered local and migrating wildlife. Thanks for helping to spread the word!
Thanks Tina. I will do whatever I can to help out.
Good post, I agree completely we all have to do our bit. I think gardeners are more aware of the direct impact on the wildlife and plant life already. Just look at the vases this Monday full of Spring blooms. The timeframe set in Paris is wholly inadequate but it is a start of sorts.
I agree that some gardeners are but sadly sales of garden chemicals are booming. Some people don’t think that what they do in their own little patch of Earth has any effect on the rest of the planet!
Thank you for posting!
Thanks for reading!
I don’t think a lot of people realize that without bees there is no food supply. I swapped seeds with several gardeners here in the US last season. If everyone did a ‘little’ something, together we might make a difference. 🙂
Brilliant Judy. I quite agree!
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