UK weather this week has been hot. Too hot. 40°C weather in the UK is now 10 times more likely because of climate change. The extreme temperatures across much of the UK are a stark reminder that climate change is already having an impact on us and our wildlife.
Wild fire at Snettisham Coastal Park, 19 July 2022 by RSPB Volunteer Les Bunyan.
However, as temperatures rise, people like you are rising to the challenge of fighting climate change while protecting the wildlife we love. Here are some of the ways you can help from your own home.
Nature can play a part in helping us fight back against climate change, we just need to give it the space and protection to do its thing. Here’s how you can help in your outdoor space.
Peatland covers 12% of the UK’s land but stores more carbon than the forests of the UK, France and Germany combined. One of the ways you can protect our peatlands from being dug up is to use peat-free compost. Most garden centres sell alternatives, or even better set up your own compost heap or bin.
There’s a wildlife-friendly tree for every size of garden, and even for patios and balconies. Trees offer shelter, nesting sites and food for wildlife, as well as storing carbon. They also provide cool, dappled shade to hide away from the midday sun.
Water is a magic ingredient in the garden. Even a small bird bath will attract visitors, while ponds are nature magnets. It’s easy to create a mini container pond, and you’d like a bigger project, dig a larger pond to create a wildlife haven. As our weather gets hotter, these sources of water will become even more important for the wildlife in your patch.
With water generally becoming scarcer during summers in parts of the UK, saving water where you can is also a good idea. For your garden, you could cut use by installing a rainfall water butt - a climate-friendly alternative to using mains water, especially during hosepipe bans. Or why not water your plants with water you’ve used to wash fruit and veg, as well as cooled cooking water.
Keeping your outdoor space green helps both wildlife and the planet. Lawns left to grow are a great habitat for wildlife, as are beds full of native flowers and bushes. But a healthy soil is also a benefit, providing places to live for minibeasts as well as storing away carbon. Lawns also absorb rainwater a lot better than paving or decking, helping to reduce the impact of flash flooding.
Pesticides and herbicides aren’t picky – most kill many different living things and damage the environment, despite what they say on the label. Going organic doesn’t have to be expensive or tricky. It's about learning to live alongside the wildlife in your garden and finding natural ways to control pests. Let wildlife-gardening expert, Adrian, convince you.
Discover more ideas to help the Nature on Your Doorstep
Saving energy and reducing waste at home can be hard, especially in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. Any steps we can take, big or small, will all help to fight climate change. Here’s a few starters for ten:
Find out more about green living at home
Fire damage, Snettisham Coastal Park, 21 July 2022
While we can do our bit, it’s also crucial for our governments to step up. The countdown is on to CBD COP15 - the biggest nature summit in over a decade. We're calling on UK governments to invest in nature-based solutions alongside decarbonising our energy sector. This is vital in the fight against climate change.
Nature-based solutions are nature’s way of helping us deal with the climate crisis. By protecting, restoring and creating thriving natural habitats, nature can play a part in fighting climate change, as well as helping wildlife and people.
Natural habitats such as native woodlands, coastal wetlands, peatlands and green urban spaces are vitally important in our fight against climate change. They can absorb and store carbon, which we’ve emitted through burning fossil fuels, intensive farming and deforestation. By protecting, restoring and creating these natural landscapes, we can prevent more carbon reaching the atmosphere and further heating the planet. They can also help to reduce the risk of flooding by absorbing and slowing down rainfall and tidal surges.
Restoring and creating natural habitats provides vital homes, shelter and food for wildlife. With natural meadows and woodland declining in the UK, nature is finding it harder to find somewhere to nest, feed and rest. Nature-based solutions help to rectify that.
But nature-based solutions are also fantastic for humans, too. Being surrounded by green space can improve our health, cool our cities, and clean our air and water. These landscapes can boost our mental health and help us to appreciate nature and wildlife. They also create green jobs, benefit local communities and boost economies.
For nature-based solutions to work, we need the government to create new laws and funding to urgently protect, restore and create natural habitats. In the UK, nature-based solutions counted for 0.5% of the UK Government’s total spend in 2021.
These are big problems, but we have a big plan. All of us acting at home will create a tapestry of wildlife havens throughout the UK. With your support, we can push national governments to make global commitments for wildlife and our planet at COP15 this December.
We have the tools. Together, we need to put them to work.
Find out the latest news about COP 15 and how you can play a part here.
It's when we know that we're doing what we can as individuals but that's not enough that it becomes clear why we see people gluing themselves to things and vandalising The Sun HQ (for portraying the heat wave as a good thing)
"Only this". No. 62% of global emissions were emitted by Europe and North America. It is our refusal to even freeze our rate of consumption that has been the biggest problem. Oil companies have long sponsored reports saying that addressing climate change will "impact the economy", yet for the UK we've done far more damage to our standard of living by leaving the EU than even the oil company predictions of doom.If we do nothing just saying that the only solution is to reduce population, then we're going to succeed in reducing it to zero.
We have done what we can in the garden. We put a pond in over lockdown. A wild grass area and wild garden area. We were amazed how much rain water we collected off the house, conservatory and shed all 6 containers. Trees have been planted over 20 years. Our garden is medium size. What else can we do?? Everything is tinder dry.
Best way of reducing the population is to educate girls and to give women and girls equal opportunities. Unfortunately, often when people say reduce population they often mean that people of non-white races should have fewer children. As it happens in developed countries the birth rate is low (because women tend to be better educated and have opportunities to have a career), but, of course, instead of welcoming immigrants to fill the jobs vacant due to there being fewer young people of working age some countries (e.g. Hungary) encourage women to have more children because they don't like immigrants. However, the people in developing countries actually consume far fewer resources than those in developed countries. The big problem is actually overconsumption by the fewer rather than consumption by the many the richest 1% are responsible for more carbon emissions than the poorest 50% of the world population.If you want to reduce consumption there needs to be curbs on consumption by the wealthy and education, opportunity, equality and justice for all.
I'm thankful that finally RSPB has mentioned pesticides - the catastrophic loss of insects through poisoned plants, soil, - leading to bioaccumulation of these poisons in birds that eat the insects and so on though the food web. RSPB were still using herbicides when I last looked at Hope Farm's accounts. You should be a beacon for best practice of demonstrating farming practices that work with nature not contributing to it's destruction. Pesticides ( a generic term for all synthetic herbicides/fungicides etc) were cited as a major cause of wildlife loss in the State of Nature report 2019 to which RSPB was a contributor
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