To mark the 10th Anniversary of the England and Scotland Climate Acts that came about in 2008, we take a look at just some of the work we have done (and continue to do) to tackle one of the greatest threats to wildlife, and arguably the big issue of our time.
1) Helped bring about the UK and Scotland Climate Change Acts (2008) in the first place!
And we continue to work on strengthening the UK and devolved government's commitments to tackling climate change.
RSPB at The Wave climate march in 2009, where an estimated 65,000 people took to the streets of London
2) We are one of the founding members of The Climate Coalition and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland
Together we raise awareness of how climate change is impacting the things people love; and work to influence governments in the UK.
3) All our reserves are now managed with resilience to climate change in mind
We work to help wildlife thrive and adapt, including allowing for species shifting their range, and formerly occasional visitors moving in more permanently from continental Europe (e.g. spoonbills).
4) We are restoring valuable peat bogs across the UK
Our reserves in England alone save more than 90,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. In Scotland, long-term engagement with the Scottish Government has been key to securing a commitment to restore 250,000 hectares (equivalent to 250,000 international rugby pitches, or 350,000 football pitches!) of damaged peatland by 2030.
The critically important peatlands at Forsinard, in the heart of Scotland's Flow Country
5) Creating new inland wetlands to provide new homes for wildlife such as bitterns, whose coastal habitats are threatened by sea level rise
The RSPB reserves at Ouse Fen, Ham Wall and Lakenheath Fen are prime examples of this.
6) We are future-proofing coastal communities to minimise flooding risks whilst creating new habitats for wildlife
Our best examples of this can be seen at Medmerry and Wallasea Island.
7) We have shown how the UK can deliver very high levels of renewable energy in harmony with nature
Take a look at our Energy Futures report.
8) We have put up a wind turbine at our UKHQ which produces enough energy to meet half of our total electricity needs
We're also about to invest £1 million pounds in LED lighting and renewable energy on our own buildings, as well as adding a further 8 solar panel systems to 25 existing installations.
The Lodge wind turbine
9) We have built super-sustainable buildings
For example, the visitor centres at Saltholme, Rainham Marshes, Arne and the brand new building at Sherwood.
10) Through our work with Ecotricity, RSPB supporters have already saved over 3,500 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide
It would take 1,737,000 trees a whole year to store that much carbon! The average RSPB customer saves 704 kg of carbon dioxide every year they are supplied by Ecotricity.
But what about the latest reports from the Met Office and the IPCC?
Well, that is a very good point. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is both scary and hopeful. We do need to take urgent action but the good news is that we, by and large, already have everything we need to tackle climate change. This report from the BBC gives a summary of 5 key things to take away from the IPCC report, whilst the Met office focuses on what we can expect to see in the UK.
I'm not going to go into detail here about all the things you can do to help tackle climate change. If you are stuck for inspiration a quick google will come up with lots of useful tips, from making your home as energy efficient as possible, to switching to renewable energy suppliers (two of the top things you can do, according to my brilliant climate colleagues).
Above and beyond that we need the Westminster Government (and all three devolved Governments) to massively up their ambitions on reducing carbon emissions. The current target in Westminster is 80% emissions reduction by 2050. We absolutely need that to be net zero emissions by that point in time, and ideally a lot, lot sooner.
That's why The Climate Coalition is celebrating the 10th anniversary of The Climate Change Act by calling on all MPs to stand up as Zero Heroes. See if your MP has already signed the joint letter calling for greater ambition, and if they haven't why not drop them a line and ask them to get involved. For the sake of all our futures, and the future of the wildlife and wild places you love.
Take part in the Be a Zero Hero campaign
A quick note on Show the Love 2019
Show the Love is just around the corner again, when we celebrate and raise awareness for all the things we love that we could lose because of climate change. As always we'd love everyone to get involved and take part. I still feel a warm fuzzy glow when I remember all the amazing crafted hearts you made for Show the Love 2018!
For 2019 please do keep an eye on The Climate Coalition's Show the Love website for all the latest news and ways to take part. For those of a crafty persuasion, if you want to make hearts again, please do. You can either send them to your MP along with a personal message, or by all means send them straight to The Climate Coalition along with a message of what you are showing the love for, and why. They will use them with celebrities and politicians, to help raise awareness and showcase the public support for action on climate change. Don't forget to take plenty of pictures and share them online using #ShowTheLove
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