This time last week I was feeling a strange mixture of distraught, angry and empowered. The latter emotion primarily because nothing else seemed to be very important anymore, compared to the task in hand, i.e. sorting out the mess we’re rapidly making of our planet.
If you haven’t seen it yet, please watch Before the Flood. It is an honest, hugely powerful portrayal of the challenges we’re facing with living “sustainably” on Earth, conveyed through the eyes of a very talented and passionate environmentalist*. As UN Messenger of Peace for the Climate, Leonardo DiCaprio travels around the world for two years, observing the impact we are having on it, from the melting of the Arctic ice sheets to the burning of the peatlands of Southeast Asia. It’s as beautiful as it is harrowing.
There are so many different ways we’re doing damage to the natural and semi-natural environments of this world; in some circumstances with a (dwindling) level of ignorance of the impacts and in some cases with full knowledge (and abandon) of them.
Hypocracy Money rules. Trump got in. The burning continues.
If we don’t all consider what’s going on out there, how we’re contributing to it, how we’re implicated in it (it is in our back yard) and tell the people above us that we care, the ecosystems on which we completely depend will continue to go to s**t.
Please watch it.
*As much as a multi-billionnaire (I presume, since millionnaires are old hat) can be an environmentalist….but he doesn’t shy away from the incongruities/inevitable hypocricy. (If only a few more of the celebrity billionaires out there were as useful as this great chap.)
Every month, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology releases several publications, known as POSTnotes, that aim to provide an easily digestible overview of research in different areas of science and technology, as a tool for policy makers. One released this month is all about securing UK soil health, in additional to the principally-important parts about peat. I’d definitely recommend reading it if you’re interested in learning of the current status and threats to this ‘renewable resource’.
Renewable is a slightly misleading word. Peat is a renewable resource if we wait about 3,000 years between harvests. Fossil fuels could also be renewable if we could hold off popping the kettle on again for another 300 million years or so. There should probably be a time frame attached to each use of renewable, and a conservative one at that, based on the Precautionary Principle.
A maturing sugar beet field in East Anglia.
We basically need some, or even one coherent and policeable policy that governs sustainable soil management in the UK (and Europe), so that we can adhere to the Government’s plan to “grow more, buy more and sell more British food” over the next 25 years. The world needs our sugar beet and broad beans. And we all so desperately need our soils.
Every so often, the legend that is Corey Bradshaw publishes a Cartoon guide to biodiversity loss. This one made me especially sad. Perhaps because I saw several great people of the trees, stretching between bars in 4x4m round cages that they had been in for 20+ years, almost non-stop, in an orangutan care centre in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, last year. They didn’t have a home to go back to, and couldn’t be let out into the small patch of enclosed forest that the smaller orangs could hang around in during set ‘play’ times, in case they caused a problem. Did we not cause their problem?