Last week felt like I was on a real roller coaster. Some fantastic experiences, lovely family time and real excitement for future plans; other bits less good. Let me share.
Beautiful Seal Pups!
On Saturday we took a trip down to Cornwall to support the work at the Seal Sanctuary. We often visit during the summer holidays but we haven’t visited when there are young seals in the seal hospital or convalescing before release. That was the purpose of our visit. Not just because seal pups are tremendously cute but because I wanted my boys to understand some of the reasons pups need rescuing. Abandonment and injury top of the list. It is easy to assume this is just what happens to baby animals out there in the wild – its a rough place – until you actually listen and read the stories about some of the pups rescued this season. Injuries from boat propellers and abandonment because people disturbed mum and pup on beaches. One of the early rescues this season was of a pup abandoned on a beach. The pup was lying in a big heart drawn on the sand around it. I hope it made a lovely insta picture because they most likely scared away Mum in order to get it and she didn’t come back. Please everybody, keep your distance.
At home for Mothering Sunday
A lovely day of family time and time spent in the garden, making plans for the year and marvelling at the patch of crocus which are the first things to flower in our garden. I love spring for that first flush of new growth. Early flowers are great but I think the promise offered by tips of new leaves starting to show is the real star at this time of the year.
IPCC Synthesis Report launched
Monday saw the release of the Synthesis Report of AR6 – the UN IPCC climate change report which reviews the current effects of climate change against the 1.5 degree celsius target and the progress of developing and employing the potential solutions for limiting the causes of climate change to keep to the target. The release of the report seemed to get very little coverage in the media, and even less take up in terms of questioning politicians. If you are interested but don’t have the scientific stomach for reading the IPCC report itself try this summary on the World Resources Institute website. Its grim, but maybe we have to go to a really uncomfortable place before we garner the desire to take action.
Rather than sinking further into the anxiety that climate change can induce I chose to look again at my personal efforts to reduce my carbon footprint. If you need reminding, we should all be trying these ten actions. The WWF (WorldWide Fund for Nature) has a carbon footprint calculator so does The Global Footprint Network if you want this list in a more visual friendly format. There are many different sites that you can sign up to take action The soil association – Make a Pledge, and Take the Jump being just two.
A Plan for Nature
Also released last week in the UK was the Peoples Plan for Nature – a collaboration between WWF, The National Trust and The RSPB with input from people around the UK. The desire is to draw up ‘a plan too big to ignore’ to support wildlife and nature and promote biodiversity in the UK. I’ve added my voice to the plan, could you support it too?
At the end of the week was Earth Hour. A campaign started by WWF to show support for the environment and nature and all the issues affecting them around the world. It started with the iconic ‘lights off’ moment but is now part of a much larger movement for change. I confess we didn’t join in.
By the end of the week I was even more determined to shape our garden into a nature friendly space. Rather than concentrating on a food bar for visiting birds and insects as I have done in previous years, this year I am planning more habitat creation. We have taken down a number of trees over the winter some which were rotten and threatening to fall down others had taken over space they were never intended for (‘dwarf’ conifer I’m thinking of you – 40m tall and shading the whole garden in the afternoon). We have saved slices of the rotten lime tree as this was and still can be habitat for beetles and grubs. The crocus came up better than ever this year now the lime tree is down and I hope they will expand into an even greater area. We plan for two new apple trees and a mixed hedgerow at the far end of the garden in the new space available. We have saved some of the dead wood and prunings for a dead hedge project to screen a work area near the shed and greenhouse. In place of the conifer we will expand the flowerbed and I’m hoping to add trellis or posts to encourage new plants – honeysuckle and clematis to grow. We feared that the birds would suffer without the tall trees but the opposite seems to have happened. We have seen more small birds visit the feeders and frequent the hedges at the boundary. This partly might be that we see these birds where as they were always there before but hidden by the conifer but I think that actually we have fewer pigeons, crows and magpies in the garden and therefore the small birds have a safer visit?
What are your plans this season? I hope the weather lets you get outside and enjoy wildlife near you.
What a lovely week in so many ways, the plans for your garden sound exciting and I’m sure an abundance of wildlife will appreciate everything you do. Habitat creation is so important: I recently received a 10-year analysis of the January and May garden birdwatches that take place here in France and destruction of habitat leading to a decline in many species was a constant theme. Let’s not even start on insects! It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed, frustrated and angry but I think you are right in your approach, taking steps at a personal level which hopefully will inspire others to do the same. Your boys are certainly having the best education possible in that respect. I also strongly agree that people will need to feel uncomfortable and wake up to reality if there is to be real progress made in tackling climate and environmental issues and I don’t think hiding David Attenborough because he might upset sensitive BBC viewers is a great step in the right direction! Hope you are feeling well and strong, I’ll look forward to seeing how your plans develop. Happy gardening! 😊
The garden keeps me going when other aspects seem really difficult and it’s the thing I return to when we’ve had trips out, ready to try out new ideas! Habitat is overlooked I think. It is easier to plant a tree rather than thinking about the woodland or plant flowers for butterflies to feed on for example but forget what feed plants the caterpillars might need. A habitat supports the whole food chain. Slightly painful when that includes our veggie produce ! but I’d rather that than the bugs being gone forever.
I think my boys wish I’d stop my climate change conversations sometimes but they are getting old enough to see the difference between what we choose to do and how aware other people are. It’s important to me they understand what sustainable options look like and the impacts we have on the environment. I’m frustrated that action for the climate is still portrayed has having to give up things – give up eating meat or give up your car. To eat a more varied diet or travel by a variety of different means aren’t really hardships but these changes need to be supported by new information and infrastructure so they become easy. Hoping the politicians and local leaders start feeling a little more uncomfortable to spur them into action!
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You are so right! I was having a similar conversation with my husband yesterday about how to persuade people to reduce all the driving about in their big SUVs, much of it being pretty pointless (we have retired neighbours who turn out five times a day ~ where are they going?). It has to be a question of positives if it’s going to appeal to people, giving up or cutting back aren’t attractive ideas . . . and I know from experience that simpler lifestyles that are rich in time and creativity are wonderful if we are allowed to pursue them.
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