Lockdown 3 #5

March 26th, 2021

To draw attention to World Water Day this week, a giant piece of sand art appeared on Whitby Beach. Created by artists from Sand in Your Eye, for Water Aid (supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery), it was a portrait of 12 year old Ansha from Frat in Ethiopia who spends hours each day collecting dirty water from a river.

Washed away by the rising tide, it is a stark reminder that rising sea levels will lead to flooding, contaminating ill-protected water supplies and endangering lives.

Climate change is happening and those who have done least to cause it are feeling its effects first and most severely.

Another reminder of the existence of the climate crisis is the current situation in Australia – the Warragamba Dam overflowed as a ‘mini tornado’ ripped through a western Sydney suburb.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF, not wrestling…?!) is reminding us about Earth Hour – this year it takes place from 8.30 to 9.30pm tomorrow: Saturday, March 27th.

Millions of people across the world switch off their/our non-essential lights for an hour, showing we care about the future of our planet.

This year, WWF says “we’re also looking a bit closer to home, thinking about how we can make sustainable changes to our own lives and reduce our environmental footprints. The impact of individual actions might seem small but collectively they can make all the difference in the world.”

Please visit WWF UK’s website.

In 2013, the world’s first Earth Hour Forest began in Uganda, an ongoing project to restore 2,700 hectares of degraded land. 

Today marks the day the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill was due its second reading in Parliament. Caroline Lucas MP presented the Bill to Parliament back in September 2020 as a Private Member’s Bill, a law proposed by backbench MPs rather than by the Government.

The Bill was on the schedule in the House of Commons today, but the pandemic impacted parliamentary process, postponing the second reading.

This means it will have a very low chance of progressing in this parliamentary session, due to the sheer volume of Private Member’s Bills lined up to have their second readings – further delaying the urgent climate action that’s required.

Of course, the CEE Bill will be reintroduced in the next parliamentary session in June. 

But Nature can’t wait – it needs protecting now…!!

An inspiring group of campaigners is ensuring today is not going unnoticed – I’ve added to the pressure on MPs, of course, asking for support for this Bill that offers a clear roadmap to tackle both climate and nature emergencies. It already has the support of more than 100 MPs from 8 political parties. But it needs more – particularly Conservatives!

Please do what you can to persuade/engage your own MP, over the coming days.

It’s getting even harder to make our voices heard in the ‘current climate’ – I hope you’ve expressed your opposition to the new Policing Bill in the UK….?

Our government is trying to rush through laws that will mean politicians and police will be able to dictate where, when and how people are allowed to protest, only allowing protests that are not ‘noisy’ or ‘causing a nuisance’. 

As a friend of mine wisely said, “We do need to be able to protest peacefully, but not necessarily quietly!”

Environmental campaigners surely deserve to be listened to: our message is loud and clear – we’re trying to save the planet, for all of us!

Apparently, the average UK family throws out £730 of surplus items a year, and about a third of all food produced globally is wasted. 3.4 million people around the world are now using an app, Olio, designed to encourage people to give away rather than throw away unwanted food. 

The UK’s first food waste action week took place earlier this month. The campaign was fronted by Nadiya Hussain (Bake off winner/television chef) – she said, “Wasting food is a major contribution to climate change. It isn’t just the leftovers on our plate to consider but the many resources that go into producing our food, like water and land. If we each make small changes, we’d dramatically reduce the amount of food that ends up in the bin…”

The first World Rewilding Day was held last Saturday, the spring equinox.

Last month, Rewilding Britain launched a network to promote the process of nature restoration and make the most of people’s desire to ‘build back better’ after the covid pandemic.

The group plans to restore 30% of Britain’s land and sea by 2030, with 5% of this dedicated to core habitats such as native forest, peat bogs, salt marshes and kelp beds.

News of projects that are quietly getting on with tackling the climate and nature crisis makes me feel so much better! A study from the IPPR think-tank (Institute for Public Policy Research) found that community projects, often set up with the aim of reducing poverty and improving day-to-day lives, are also reducing emissions and restoring nature. Luke Murphy, the lead author of the report, said, “Under the radar, there are already flourishing and transformative community initiatives to pool resources and create shared low-carbon energy, housing and natural assets.”

An example is the Ambition Lawrence Weston community group, based in an area of Bristol with high levels of fuel poverty. It is establishing community-owned renewable energy projects, with a solar farm and plans for a giant wind turbine to power 3,850 homes.

And finally, I’m very proud today – my sons are writing an environmental fable in podcast form, with songs, championing Birds! Watch/listen out for it in the summer!

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