Right, this is a topic that I could have a lot to say about so I will try to hold back. I work in nature conservation and am pretty passionate about preserving our natural world- I find the effects that we’ve had on the countryside, environment and wider world really depressing and I wish more people cared enough to make a difference. I try to do my bit day to day like recycling as much as I can, turning plugs off (although there is a money saving incentive there too!) and walking or cycling where I can but I know I could do better.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that nature is in trouble. After all, we see green leaves, birds and insects all around us, but sometimes a few cold facts are needed to face the harsh reality:
297 million farmland birds have been lost in Britain since 1980, including 82% of grey partridge, 52% of lapwing and 53% of starling. More information here.
A study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology showed that of the beetle species examined, 3/4 had declined in number over the last 15 years and the abundance of half of these species had fallen at a rate equivalent to 30% per decade. More information here.
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have reached a milestone of 400 ppm. The last time a level this high was regularly reached was 300 to 500 million years ago. Read more here.
Over a period of 5000 years, the cumulative loss of forest worldwide is estimated at 1.8 billion hectares. The UK is 24.5 million hectares, so that’s an area 37.5 times that of the UK.
According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA, 2005), more than 60 percent of the world’s major ecosystems are now degraded or used unsustainably.
More than 50 percent of all types of forest, agricultural land and wetlands surrounding urban and semi-urban areas have been lost through conversion to other land uses.
In the past decade alone, about 130 million hectares of forest were lost and without forests, the global ecosystem would collapse. Read more here.
We are losing 10,000 species to extincion EACH YEAR. That’s between 1,000 and 10,000 times the natural extinction rate. I find this statistic particularly terrifying. Read more here.
The RSPB is launching a State of Nature report on 22 May International Biodiversity Day which has been produced by a huge number of conservation bodies- you can read more about it here and expect to see some harrowing statistics later this month. You can also find more information on the issues affecting farmland birds here.
As well as my ‘day job’, I regularly support wildlife and conservation charities through both giving my time as a volunteer, and through donations as a member of various organisations. In compiling this post, I’ve realised I do support a lot of charities, in fact rather more than I might have thought given a guess! It does all add up, but if you can’t afford to donate, volunteering opportunities are readily available and the rewards it brings are great. I started volunteering for conservation charities at a time when I was in a dead end job and at a total loss as to what I wanted to do with my life. By getting outside and doing something worthwhile, it gave me a leader towards a potential future career and reinforced my love for the outdoors.
I don’t want to preach or harp on about saving the planet, but the way I see it is that humans have managed to mess this world up rather a lot. We only get one planet, so it’s time we gave something back to make up for the ills already done. Whether you are a climate change believer or sceptic, there is clear evidence to show that nature is declining and humans are very likely the culprit- we’re a selfish bunch really. Here’s a starter for ten of some worthwhile charities which all have different, nature related focuses to one another:
- BTO– British Trust for Ornithology
- ARC- Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
- Bat Conservation Trust
- Butterfly Conservation
- RSPB– Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
- The Wildlife Trusts – these are operated regionally, but you can find your local one here.
- WWF– World Wide Fund for Nature
- WWT– Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
Oh, and the pictures? They’re the lovely New Forest National Park, and me with my bins!
This post represents day thirteen of Blog Every Day in May #BEDM with Rosalilium