When absorbing news as negative as that about the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) it can be difficult to find room for hope. Recent media headlines are evidence of the effects the report spells out – events such as wildfires, floods and dangerous heatwaves are clear for all to see, so hopefully action will now follow at pace.
Since the first of these reports was published three decades ago, governments have largely prioritised political survival ahead of taking the urgent action needed to ensure the survival of people and planet. But the level of coverage and the tone of initial political reaction suggest that a wind of change may finally be about to blow in. In November the UK will host the COP26 international climate conference and we must challenge our government to ‘walk the walk’ rather than merely ‘talking the talk’.
In the face of a global catastrophe it can seem that our efforts as individuals are too small to matter – but what is the alternative? Give up and do nothing? Continue to make matters worse? Alongside the realisation that we have damaged our climate and must reduce our carbon emissions, it is clear that we have damaged natural systems and put wildlife we cherish at risk, but there is room for hope.
Whilst the necessary personal efforts on carbon reduction may be too imperceptible to notice, direct action for nature can bring fast, visible results. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is ramping up efforts to enhance wildlife habitats in our care and working with other landowners to provide opportunities for nature to move through the landscape as it adapts to climate change. On an individual level, installing a bird feeder or creating a garden pond will provide welcome habitat and, as well as comfort that you are doing your bit, you will quickly be rewarded with the sights and sounds of the wildlife you are helping.
There is still hope and taking action is the right thing to do, but we can no longer present a rose-tinted picture of the parlous state of our local patch or the planet. More of us need to take action and we need to start today.
Further details of how you can take action for nature can be found at www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/actions.
Image: A quarter of European butterfly species and a third of bumblebee species could lose the majority of their range by the end the century © Al Greer