Lockdown 3 #11

July 10th, 2021

This is a bittersweet time in my family life at the moment…..

There have been a number of big global news events since I last wrote, not least the Gulf of Mexico on fire due to oil, but I’m going to start with the ‘small’….

I’m trying to re-train my mind and view common household ‘pests’ as all part of the Earth’s rich tapestry of life. Rodents and insects are all wildlife, with a vital part to play in our ecosystem. As Laura-Lisa Hellwig, at the vegan charity Viva!, says: “Some of them have been here for a much longer time than we have. Really, we should find a peaceful way to live together instead of eradicating or cruelly killing some of them.” Tim Dowling (Guardian, July 5th) has written a pest-by-pest guide to humanely controlling them. As he says: “Unfortunately, many pest control products still associate effectiveness with lethality. The ant trap I bought says it ‘destroys ants and their nests!’ I really just wanted them off the worktop.”

With ants, the key is to find their entry point and wait for nightfall! Kevin Newell, founder of Humane Wildlife Solutions, says: “Because the ants will return to their nest at night – they don’t come out at night to forage – you just need a simple Polyfilla or something to block that hole up.” If you keep the whole area clean, with hot water mixed with lemon juice or vinegar, you’ll essentially remove the ants’ scent trail so they’re back to stage one. Clean the kitchen floor so there’s no food to be found – even if the first ant, which started laying the scent trail, comes in again, when she doesn’t find anything she’ll simply go back out, and it will be deemed an area where there’s no food for them.”

Simple solutions!

Now to wildlife outdoors – the People’s Postcode Lottery (we won The Perfect Planet book the other day!) are helping to fund 12 new Wildlife Trusts projects, focused on both climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Great North Bog project aims to put more than 4,000 hectares of upland peatland under restoration management: peat bogs are able to store large amounts of CO2. Another project, in Devon, will create a nature-based solution centre on a farm to show how nature can help reverse the impacts of intensive agriculture.

Craig Bennett, chief executive of the Wildlife Trusts, said: “We urgently need to be thinking about how we can let nature help in tackling the climate crisis and how it can help with adaptation. A lot of that is about holding water back in the landscape: recreating our wetlands, restoring our peatlands and reintroducing beavers.

“We know there is a lot of eco-anxiety and sometimes people feel we are not changing fast enough. If we can establish large-scale projects and actually start to turn things around, we can demonstrate what can be done in the UK.”

On the subject of farmed animals, I have only just realised the extent of the problem of supermarket chicken. Major poultry producers, stocked by all our UK supermarkets (yes, including Sainsbury’s where we shop…and the Co-op which is usually good on ethical issues), have cross-bred and interbred birds to create ‘mutant’ chickens which grow larger in a shorter space of time and need less feed. They end their lives hardly able to stand, and often in filthy conditions. (Franken-chickens, as campaigners call them, grow six times faster than a century ago, and are now slaughtered at only 35 days old…) All to feed ‘our’ billion-a-year appetite for chicken…..

Marks and Spencer has decided to end the sale of these unnatural, suffering birds.

If you want to join the campaign to put pressure on the other big supermarkets, visit the Open Cages website, or just spread the word and get friends & neighbours to stop buying….!

Here is some encouraging news (from the EU!) – the European Commission has announced it will propose legislation to phase out caged farming through the EU. This is a huge step forward in the campaign by Compassion in World Farming to End the Cage Age.

So, don’t give up hope – ‘green’ lobbying can work, not just the immoral kind by politicians and multinationals!

This month is Plastic Free July. 

A special report in the journal Science says that a binding global treaty is needed to phase out the production of ‘virgin’ or new plastic by 2040 (surely that’s manageable…?).

Science senior editor Jesse Smith writes: “The time for preventing plastic pollution is long past – the time for changing the future of plastics in our world, however, is now.”

The report calls for a new global treaty “to cover the entire lifecycle of plastics, from the extraction of the raw materials needed for its manufacture to its legacy, pollution”.

A report by Tearfund last year revealed that just four companies, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle and Unilever were responsible for more than half a million tonnes of plastic pollution in six developing countries each year, enough to cover 83 football pitches every day.

We have such a duty to ‘clean up our act’ in the rest of the world….

And there is so much to think about…!  The new traffic-light system of ‘eco-scores’, to be piloted on British food labels so we know the environmental impact of our food and drinks, is welcome. Apparently, together with British brands, Nestle is backing Foundation Earth, a new non-profit organisation which has put together this scheme. 

Mm, the same ubiquitous polluting Nestle, who are also draining millions of gallons of waters from California’s aquifers and selling it back to people in plastic bottles…

We must beware of the climate crisis being cynically used by ‘big business’, as just another opportunity – greenwashing….

Boots, for instance, has started making ‘eco’ nappies – is this to switch customers away from buying ‘Eco by Naty’ nappies? And Its own brand are not as good, only containing 40% eco/bamboo fibre…..

Or shall we just be grateful that companies are competing to be ‘green’ nowadays….?

Finally (sorry this is long – but I’ve been quiet for a while..), if you just do one ‘eco’ thing today,

please check out MakeMyMoneyMatter.co.uk – the most powerful thing you can do to protect the planet is to make sure your money is being invested ethically…..

See you!

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