Thursday, 30 May 2013

The state of nature...

I’ve been very lax on the blogging front of late – blame it on a manic workload combined with too many bank holidays (I work Mondays which means that my 3 day weeks have been reduced to 2 day weeks in May – makes a big difference when you’re working part time!), too many bugs (grrr), and my husband being away a lot on fieldwork (or being paid to go on fieldwork for tv documentaries – nice for some! Check out his work on dolphins co-operating with fishermen by herding fish into their nets).

I’ve been asked to be a panellist on a ‘State of Nature –the next step’ question time at Bristol’s Big Green week, and I accepted (with a certain amount of trepidation!)… so I’m trying to make an extra effort to keep up with all the science behind the nature news stories.  And it’s been a pretty awful time for nature in this country… I feel like going on a rant about politics, but I’ll try not to.  I’m not sure whether I’m just more aware of all the depressing nature news now that I’m keeping up to date using twitter, or that there is just lots of depressing nature in the news:

* badgers are to be culled to reduce the spread of TB to cattle – this is due to start on the 1st June, so if you don’t want the government to go ahead with the cull – please sign this petition (& here is a bit of background to the petition).

* lots of dead seabirds being washed up on our beaches either linked with pollutants or the cold prolonged winter – is this normal or was it particularly bad this year?

* our trees are under attack from a disease brought in from tree imports attacking ash trees and processionary moths are attacking our beautiful oak trees (oak trees have a special place in my heart from my childhood)... and more tree diseases threatening.

* All topped off by the ‘State of Nature’ report put together by many of the nature NGOs, reporting massive declines in most species that we have sufficient data for (and a few success stories for species on the increase).

So in the lead-up to The State of Nature – Next Steps Question Time, I will be taking each of the main topics and looking at the science behind the media coverage & giving my personal take on the news stories.  I will start with the background to the badger cull since this is due to start 1st June.  So watch this space!

And because it’s not much fun to have a blog with so much depressing news, I’ll end it on a couple of positives…

We can make a difference! Through campaigns like ‘Hugh’s fish fight’ we have managed to bring in measures to reduce fisheries discards, so we can make a difference if we push for it! 

Ford Park Cemetery in early spring (a well delayed early spring!)
And… it’s spring! It’s hard not to be joyful with fresh green leaves bursting forth, birds in full song, a multitude of colourful flowers topped off by the beautiful glowing bluey-purple carpet of bluebells in verges & woodlands :) Spring, a time for rejoicing in nature :)

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