'Is it safe to come out yet?' isn't just the novelty phrase attributed to this week's Photo of the week, it appears to be the question on the lips, beaks, mandibles and in the case of a plants - photoreceptors of every living thing on the planet. Climate change is prompting us all to question our behaviours - much like the early flowering snowdrop - will we ‘emerge’ victorious? Only time will tell… (photo courtesy of Nature’s Home reader, Kevin Mc Laughlin).

Something strange happened at the close of the last decade, and the start of this - the so-called ‘Super Year’ arrived. Amidst the chaos and disaster (the fires in Australiaflooding in Jakarta) a newfound optimism began dancing in the marginals of our minds - will this be the decade we turn things around?

Early 2020 not only signals the promise of Spring, in particular the awakening (or emergence) of plants, animals and insects who, one by one, forego their Winter slumber. It also heralds the arrival of the huge expectations we need to uphold if we're to stand a chance of tackling (more aptly, fixing!) the climate and ecological crisis. The time for ignoring the laments of conservationists is at an end – we’ve reached humanities now or never moment - the mirror has been turned and the reflection is truly terrifying! Nevertheless, the aforementioned optimism pays thanks to this rather scary reveal, as without it? We'd surely fail. 

If we’re being bold, and crucially – honest… even the conservation charities and NGOs, who had previously prided themselves on the role they have played in reversing the trends in nature's decline, have realised (in this last year alone) that even we're not doing enough, and this is despite the warnings spanning over 30 years. The damning effects of the foretold repercussions have crept up on us all so quickly that no matter our background, or vested interest in the problem - we all need to become students of the solutions - and fast!

The truth is, we all need to play our part. We need to UP OUR GAME and choose renewable and nature-based solutions NOW, if we are to stand any chance of success. While we transition towards a greener way of thinking – not only in terms of energy and infrastructure - but also within our own minds and behaviours, let us try our best to negate blame and point-scoring (neither will help the cause) in favour of working together to make the changes all life on earth so desperately needs. We can do this... and we will.

For more information on this topic, please visit Martin Harper’s blog and also a guest blog from Senior Policy Officer, Melanie CoathRSPB verdict on the Madrid climate change talks.

 This Photo of the week (which has unwittingly prompted a piece on climate change!) was sent to us by Kevin Mc Laughlin. Kevin says:

"Hi there, I'm a member of the RSPB and I've been meaning to send in these two photos (squirrel and waxwing) for ages in the hope that one may turn up in the little magazine I get quarterly. The waxwing I took in a doctors' car park a few years back in Derry. The squirrel photo I took in Muff Glen, also a few years back. Hope you like them."

We really do Kevin, thank you. If you'd like to know more about the illusive red squirrel and where to find them, please visit our Red squirrel conservation page on the RSPB website. For more information on waxwings, please visit our bird A-Z.

Don't forget!

Send us the fruits of your labour - you never know, it might be your photos we feature in a future blog. Email: natureshome@rspb.org.uk and remember to submit your Big Garden Birdwatch results, you've got until 16 February to let us know what you saw!