COP26 On a misty Saturday morning in October, fuelled by tea and biscuits, a lively group of people of all ages were to be seen marching 1.5 km through the lanes and fields of Milborne Port, led by drums and flanked by the Grim Reaper of Climate Change. People all over the world have committed to walking 1.5 km before the COP26 talks between 1st and 12th November as part of the World Climate March – a coordinated global march for those who cannot go to the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, and who want to show their concern about keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees. A photo and video montage of these World Climate Marches will be shown in Glasgow.
Members of the Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group will also be joining the rally and march through Bristol at noon on Saturday 6th November on the Global Day of Action for Climate Change. We will catch the 9.36 train from Yeovil Penn Mill to Bristol Temple Meads that day to join us. For details please Google Global Day of Action Bristol. Email us if you‘d like to link up.
Hedgehogs By the time you read this, Guy Fawkes night will be upon us. Please think of hedgehogs, beloved by children of all ages and now a species vulnerable to extinction, and reassemble or relocate any pile of wood before you set it alight. Piles of wood are favoured nesting and hibernating places for hedgehogs. If hedgehogs visit your garden (lucky you!) providing food for them (complete kitten food with protein as the prime ingredient) will help young hedgehogs put on enough weight to start hibernating, and all hedgehogs wake up a number of times through the winter and need to feed.
Hedge planting in the village More volunteers needed. Please email if you’d like to help.
The march is organised by a partnership including Christian Aid, Oxfam International and The Climate Coalition, and is supported by the RSPB, the Woodland Trust and Fridays for Future among others.
People all over the world are committing to walk 1.5 km to show their concern about keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees. What happens is that we take a video of the march and send it to Oxfam who will use it for publicity ahead of the COP 26 talks in November.
Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action are taking part in the World Climate March on Saturday October 9th.
We will gather at 10.15 am on the wide grass verge on Wick Road where it is joined by Court Lane, heading off at 10.30 am along the path that runs on the north side of Manor Road and New Town towards (though not necessarily as far as) Vartenham Hill.
If you like, do bring placards (bold letters on the back of an empty cereal packet is an easy way to make one that shows up in photos), dress up and / or bring a musical instrument to join in! Or come as you are! Let’s make a song and dance about our climate!
Wellies or walking boots probably needed. Walking is entirely at your own risk.
Please spread the word to your family and friends whether or not you can make it yourself.
Join us afterwards for an informal pub meeting in the Tippling Philosopher at 12 noon.
Fighting climate change and inequality is for everyone.
The next decade is critical to putting us onto a safer track.
Today’s targets are a long way off what is needed to keep global heating below 1.5°C and prevent the worst impacts of climate change. At COP26 leaders must commit to delivering the 1.5°C goal and their fair share of action. Governments across the world are now making important decisions about how to
By joining the World Climate March you can join other communities and changemakers around the world, and show leaders you want action on the climate crisis and inequality.
Every one of us can help and spark a change for people and our planet.
The World Climate March will mobilize people around the world to march for climate justice.
Just one rule: Record any part of your march and send us the video.
The World Climate March will mobilize people around the world to march for climate justice. Participate by filming your march, and make it your own by use of costumes, placards, chants, ANYTHING! You can complete the march in any way you like, with your friends, family, by yourself, even during a local or national march!
The eyes of the world will be on the UK at the end of the month when we host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow. COP 26 provides a real window of opportunity for global cooperation in tackling climate change at this critical juncture in the history of our civilization as there is lots of progress still to be made to avoid a catastrophic break down in civilization.
In reality we are not a leader on climate. Because greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere what our tiny nation has emitted over the years is a mountain compared to that of many countries – a whopping 4.7% of the global total. So, it’s great that our emissions are coming down as we have a huge responsibility for those historic emissions. However, because we are decarbonizing from a very high level and are not yet doing it fast enough we are not world leaders, especially as we are not on course to keep within our promised climate targets.
It’s also worth remembering that when countries set targets or measure or compare CO2 emissions, they tend to focus on production-based emissions – CO2 emitted within a country’s own borders. However, this fails to count emissions from international aviation and from traded goods – the CO2 emitted in the production of goods elsewhere, which are later imported. And of course, most of our goods are made abroad.
We still have a lot to do – we are making progress on decarbonizing our power but transport emissions have been rising quite sharply, for example. How much will Net Zero cost? is a question that is both the wrong one and not a real question either! The only relevant question is whether it is worth doing. To which the only answer is that it is literally and starkly vital. And will bring huge health and well-being benefits over and above tackling climate change. The government can channel money from fossil fuels and action the necessary policies and retrain skilled workers. In a non-agricultural nation like ours, as Keynes said, if we are able to do it we can do it.
Unfortunately, any excuses we make for delaying action make no difference whatsoever to the physical consequences of the greenhouse gases we continue to emit and the UK has yet to adopt and implement the ambitious policies necessary to achieve its 2030 target and firmly set itself on a path to net zero whilst the total fair-share contribution of the UK – domestic emissions reductions and emissions reductions achieved abroad – would need to be equivalent to the UK reaching close to zero emissions by 2030.
So, we continue to put written pressure on our MP and our PM and will have supported our young people’s Global Climate Strike on Friday 24th September. We also plan to take part in the Global Day of Action during COP 26 in November. Do join us. More on Facebook or email us.
*Bonfire warning! An early reminder that one or more of our few remaining hedgehogs in the village may be nesting in any piles of wood that have been sitting in your garden. Please dismantle / move them before setting them alight. *
When thinking about the environment/climate change, it’s easy to focus on what we need to give up or cut back on. It’s so important to focus on what we gain as well.
Transport around the UK (and further afield) is a great example of this. Currently in many parts of the country outside of London, public transport is expensive and unreliable. If you’re one of the households with access to a car, you have more mobility but still face traffic jams, and cars unfortunately are a leading cause of air pollution and climate change, with busy roads being noisy, smelly and dangerous.
A recent article on the BBC asked what the future of transport would look like in 2050. This focused heavily on self-driving cars, but many people pointed out that a sustainable future transport system looks a lot like the past (UK in 1900s and 1920s): electric trains, electric buses and trams, walking, biking and few cars. We have had the technology we need for over a century!
As well as lowering our environmental footprint, transport infrastructure which prioritises public (buses, trams, trains) and active (walking and biking) transport would dramatically cut our air pollution. The equivalent of 100 people die every day in the UK from air pollution. Having safe cycle networks that everyone could use would benefit our physical and mental health. The Parisian mayor, Anne Hidalgo, has increased cycle lanes and decreased on-street car parking in Paris with a boom in cycling as a result. Cheap or free public transport makes society fairer and more accessible to everyone, particularly those on low incomes. Free public transport is offered in Luxembourg, Dunkirk (France) and Tallin, Estonia (where it’s halved private car use) giving more freedom and better job opportunities/access for residents. In Scotland, under 19s – as well as over 60s – will be able to travel free on buses.
One can’t have an inadequate and unreliable system and expect lots of people to use it. Public transport has been privatized and run by different operators, so it’s neither integrated nor cheap. Free public transport gives everyone freedom and the opportunity to access and engage in all that is on offer in their regional area with benefits for all!
Please sir! Can we have some more? Ask our representatives for a free, integrated public transport system fit for our future.
It is a matter of how bad we’re willing to let it get
We’re already effed (as an eminent climate scientist put it on Twitter) and it’s rapidly getting worse – our changing climate that is – how much worse we let it get depends on how many of us act. It won’t go away if we ignore it and the task is now two-fold as we have delayed for far too long – we need to adapt to the changing climate as well as change our energy supply and shift our diets towards a far more plant-based one. The massive climate catastrophes not only in the Global North (Siberia, northwest America and China to name a few) but also close to home – Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Belgium – are shaking people out of their denial, where it was unfortunately easy to feel ‘safe’ when such disaster seemed confined to the Global South or was predicted for even just a few years in the future. But neither awareness, nor hope nor fear alone, will fix anything. Act. Now. Choose to burn less fossil fuel.
What’s going on? One factor is that our formerly strong Jet Stream used to be fuelled by a pressure and temperature difference, keeping cold weather on the north side of it and warmer weather on the south. Now, fossil-fuelled ice-free open water in the Arctic allows it to get much warmer when exposed to the sun and constant higher-than-normal temperatures, and the Jet Stream is weakened, allowing colder weather to push down further south or hotter weather to push up further north. It becomes like a slow meandering stream; and the equivalent of oxbow lakes may break off and get stuck in one place with disastrous consequences. So, when the Jet Stream wobbles, an extreme in one place is accompanied by extremes of different types elsewhere as we have been seeing. We need to save all the ice we can. Governments have made commitments but the gap between the words and the action is widening. As well as reducing our own personal emissions with every choice we make, it’s literally vital that governments (and organizations and businesses) also tackle this crisis with the urgency it needs. What can you do? Protest; provide financial support to organisations such as Greenpeace or Transport Action Network who are mounting legal challenges to the government’s plans to ignore our predicament. It’s especially timely to do so now as we approach the COP26 talks which the UK is heading up; the UK is not showing climate leadership at the moment, as the government’s own Committee on Climate Change makes clear. Raise your voice for those you care about. We’re at a pivotal point for human history and the future of our loved ones.
Wow! The survey we have been carrying out, thanks to the Hunt family, has taught us so much. I underestimated hedgerows! And, despite having my own hedges, took for granted they’d last for ever regardless of their management or lack of it. But no. Hedges will eventually die if not rejuvenated by laying or coppicing at (long) intervals and also if they are always cut to the same point. The data recorded through hedge surveys generates tailored recommendations for management and there is a splendid diagram of what and how to rejuvenate an overgrown or overcut hedge.
Hedges flower on the previous year’s growth so cutting every autumn or winter means no flowers next year; cutting every other autumn means less shelter and no winter berries and nuts for birds and mammals, and so a 3-year cycle, cutting back slightly less than the previous cut, is best.
As well as sequestering carbon and being fantastic habitat for wildlife (their leaves, flowers, berries, nuts and seeds providing food, shelter and breeding sites for birds and other wildlife throughout the year, with potential for over 2000 species in one 85m stretch) and vital corridors for species dispersal, hedges provide so many other benefits too:
Natural beauty and a sense of history in the landscape
Shade and shelter for livestock
Shade and shelter for walkers
Pest control for adjoining fields
Shelter and food for pollinators
There is lots more information on hedgerows on the People’s Trust for Endangered Species’ web-site, including details of how to carry out either a brief or more detailed survey.
Hedges, field margins and roadside verges alike are vital relics of wildlife habitat so we all need to remember they need to flourish and understand it’s important they aren’t kept cut and neat as gardens – but that equally, management outside the flowering and breeding season time is necessary! We’ve a lot to thank farmers for when it comes to hedges!
Globally; in the UK, and individually, we are not cutting greenhouse gas emissions anything like as fast as is now necessary nor, in the UK, are we adapting and preparing ourselves for the chaotic impacts of climate change. Nobody likes change and disruption but experts warn it will be nothing compared to the impact, difficulty and unnecessarily crippling costs of delaying further. Climate change will place pressure on all our supply chains and put our food, medicines, goods and services at risk. As the UK moves away from fossil fuels, we’ll need more electricity for our heating, lighting and transport and power cuts because of extreme weather will be more harmful.
Although climate change is a defining challenge for every government, the government’s independent Committee on Climate Change reported recently “there is only limited evidence of the present UK Government taking it sufficiently seriously; both on reducing UK emissions and adapting to impacts from global climate change”. So why is this the case? And what can we do about it? Has the Prime Minister heard from you?! And you? And you?! To help the future, email our Prime Minister and our MP requesting they take the climate crisis sufficiently seriously and act fully on the advice of the CCC, their independent advisors. https://email.number10.gov.uk
What’s not to like? We will benefit considerably and in a number of ways by acting now to tackle and adapt to climate change. Our country needs investment in low-carbon technologies and means of adapting to climate change; the UK could be leading new and expanding global markets. UK businesses have opportunities to gain competitive advantage as they shift to the future zero-carbon basis required in the UK and the world.
In a world where, in the future, the financial cost of emitting greenhouse gases becomes high, action taken now to reduce emissions will save enormously on those costs (as well as reducing the costs of damage from climate chaos). Inadequate action, in other words, is doubly costly.
Not only will action now reduce the number of climate refugees and conflicts but it will also lessen the risks of flooding, infrastructure failure and increasingly costly food, and in so doing the UK will be supporting global efforts to fulfil climate commitments and combat climate change.
Everyone’s health will benefit from a healthy natural environment, more greenspace, reduced air pollution, greater peace and quiet, more active travel and a shift to healthier plant-based diets.
Many measures make great sense even without climate change to consider: reducing dangerous levels of air pollution; reducing water use; adapting homes to keep cool in the summer; protecting biodiversity and habitats, increasing greenspace to reduce the risk from flooding and heatwaves whilst also improving our mental well-being.
What can we do? Grow creepers up our walls to shade them; fit shutters on south-facing windows; minimize heat-absorbing, flood-worsening hard standing of any kind around our homes (grow grass or plant shrubs in tubs to remove the heat instead); let hedgerows grow taller and wider; allow some trees to grow uncut; urge councils to grow more trees along our streets and plant more in our own gardens. Trees soften the impact of heavy rain and their roots help take water into the soil. Such measures will help offset the hazards of increasingly extreme rainfall – with steep hills and a river through the village, everyone who is not without a garden can help prepare our community.
Verges Many front lawns, areas of roadside verge and banks in the village have been uncut and their wildflowers look beautiful as well as being vital for wildlife! When you do mow later in the summer / autumn remember to remove the clippings to keep fertility low (this benefits wild flowers).
Protecting the river Himalayan Balsam is an invasive plant that has spread around the country and can choke streams and rivers, causing bank erosion and smothering our wild flowers – not only beautiful but also essential for wildlife. If you adjoin the river Gascoigne, please look out for it and pull it up before it has a chance to flower this year. This web-page ahs a photo and more details: https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/discover-wild-plants-nature/plant-fungi-species/himalayan-balsam Please contact us if you need help.
New dates for your diary
With the kind permission of the owner: a geology walk on Sunday 11th July pm led by Geoffrey Rowland and a butterfly / nature walk on Sunday 18th July pm led by Nigel Spring. Please email to book in case we need to limit numbers, and for details to be sent to you nearer the time.
Understanding climate change & the future is in our power
When we dig up and burn fossil fuels, we are wrapping a blanket of carbon pollution around the earth. This pollution blanket is trapping heat in our atmosphere that would otherwise escape back out to space.
That trapped heat causes more damaging downpours and droughts that wipe out farmers’ crops. It powers stronger hurricanes and storms that devastate our coasts. It means hotter temperatures that fuel wildfires and cause crippling heat waves. It causes sea level to rise, which will flood millions of homes.
As for the science, 99 percent of climate scientists agree: it’s real, it’s human-caused, it’s serious, and there are solutions that will benefit us all. The faster we cut our carbon pollution, the better off we’ll all be.
The climate has changed in the past but what’s different is that the rate of change now, over a few decades, is unprecedented and too fast for most of life on earth to adapt.
The good news is that as the climate crisis is man-made so each of us has the power to address it.
What a lot of people still don’t understand – and need to, as soon as possible – is that we humans are the biggest source of uncertainty in determining how serious climate change becomes. Collapse is not a foregone conclusion. We are the problem. That means we can be the solution. What happens is down to each and every one of us. The International Panel on Climate Change didn’t say we had 12 years, 11 years, 9 years to act – it said “every action matters; every choice matters”.
So, yes, there’s lot to do but it can be done. Some recent good climate news:
US to develop 30GW offshore wind by 2030
Biden to commit $85b to public transit, $80b for rail, $174b to EVs
China to make world’s no.1 steel industry green
Japan to end support of coal power exports
South Africa ups 2030 emissions target 28%
Greece shuts down 1.2GW coal plants
US to align tax policy with climate goals
Sweden’s Polestar to build world’s 1st carbon-neutral car
US considers 50% emissions cut by 2030, Japan 40%
During WWII, we acted collectively for the common good. People gave up years of their lives or lost their lives to fight for the future, food was rationed, everyone contributed. The challenge now is far greater but involves far less. In fact, the necessary changes will lead to a fairer, cleaner, greener, healthier world with nature restored.
We’re becoming part of the solution by cutting our greenhouse gas emissions: eating far less meat and dairy, flying and driving far less or not at all, buying fewer things: reduce, reuse, repair, recycle. Whatever you can afford to do, we hope you’ll join us in doing it. Insulating your house, installing a heat pump or swapping to an electric car too expensive? Then lobby our PM and our MP too to play their large part by stopping pouring money into a fossil-fueled world and to do far more to support clean, green power instead.
We are each responsible for the future. What will we say to our children?
We will be starting our hedge survey in June. Do get in touch if you’d like to help.
It’s been a really tough spring for wildlife. Please help all you can and leave wild plants to flower and set seed until July if you can – to provide food for butterflies, bees, birds, hedgehogs, bats. Will there be blackberries and sloes this autumn for us? Please be aware that children enjoy nature and many people take great solace from it and are upset, for example, by seeing needless verge cutting with all the resulting loss of wildlife. Please avoid using pesticides and watch out for nesting mammals, especially hedgehogs which don’t flee from danger. Thank you.
Did you know thatwild plants, rather than garden ones, are needed to enable many insects and invertebrates to breed and overwinter, as well as for pollen and nectar? It’s been inspiring to see so many front gardens and verges in the village resplendent with the sunshine-coloured flowers of spring – not just a joy to people out on their walks and a lifeline for bees and other insects but for all the birds and other species, including hedgehogs, that feed on those insects too.
What a difference we can make!
“It’s up to every one of us to help preserve our planet for the future” said David Attenborough. As a human being living on this unique planet, you are already the perfect person to care about climate change and our natural environment, and when a community works together, that difference can really show, and give a real sense of agency, achievement and community spirit.
Postponed to Thursday 6th May at 7.30pm, you can register for the Launch and Q&A of the
Milborne Port and Sherborne Solar Streets scheme at www.SolarStreets.co.uk/MPS (There was an error in last month’s link but these new details will work!). Email your questions any time to Info@SolarStreets.co.uk. The webpage also has contact details for questions at any time, or if you want panels now.
It’s vital that we provide for nature throughout the year in our gardens & roadside verges
Why? 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost (through ploughing or fertilizing) in recent years – and many younger people may not have experienced their beauty – but we can each manage some or a part of our gardens and support the management of roadside verges (unploughed relicts) and garden grasslands for the benefit of wildlife and people. People need nature for their mental well-being; research has shown this for a fact; especially with all the lockdowns people have realized their need to be able to enjoy nature – birds, bees, butterflies and wildflowers – close to home. We all love to see swallows in the summer, and hear bird song around us; but remember that birds are vanishing as wild flowers disappear and insect numbers plummet. Let’s roll our sleeves up! Or rather, do less in the garden!
Please stop poisoning wildlife! Pesticides and herbicides are putting bees, birds, hedgehogs, butterflies, beetles, frogs, dragonflies and more at risk.
Cut and Collect! Collect up your mowings to bring fertility down and stop courser grasses outgrowing and smothering wild flowers; you will then be able to mow less and less often. (In Dorset, verge cuts have come down from 12 x per annum to an astonishing 2-3 x.) Wild plants then have more time and chance to flower and set seed – benefitting pollinating insects and all the wildlife that depends on these insects. And you have more time to put your feet up!
Join in No Mow May, a nationwide campaign to leave all or a part of your lawn uncut in May to prolong the spring flowering period; it’s incredibly beneficial. Aim, best of all, to reach the point over a few years through Cut and Collect where the fertility is sufficiently low in part or all of your lawn for wild plants to be left to flower till the usual hay cutting time in July. You can achieve a cared-for look by keeping a path cut through larger areas, and cutting round the edges. https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/discover-wild-plants-nature/no-mow-may
Photo credit: Matt Pitts, Plantlife
Let it Grow – mow less often throughout the season to let wild plants flower and help stop the loss of nature.
If you must use a strimmer, please do check carefully for hedgehogs first. Their response to danger is to curl up in a prickly ball; not flee. If anyone finds an injured hedgehog, please contact the local hedgehog rescue in Hazelbury Bryan on 01258 818266.
We are delighted that Milborne Port PC’s Planning and Environment Committee has supported our request to reduce the costs of verge management and increase biodiversity with Cut and Collect and No Mow May. This is in keeping with Britain in Bloom, as one of the three areas that judges focus on is environmental responsibility, looking for evidence there is a commitment to environmental issues including conservation, maintaining wildlife’s natural habitats, and improving pollination. Three roadside grassland areas that the Parish Council are responsible for managing will not be cut in May. These are the area on the A30 corner of Bathwell Lane; the triangle in Rosemary Street, and the area of grass at the end of Springfield Road opposite the Recreation Ground.
There is a great appetite for more nature. Across the country, the edges of playing fields, sports grounds, churchyards and so on are being managed to enable wild flowers to thrive again., whilst cutting costs. Let’s do all we can to bring more flowers and wildlife back into everyday life in Milborne Port! Please leave the verges outside your property uncut for the summer for wildlife and people to enjoy.
New! Find us on Facebook where you can find tips on helping nature thrive and combating climate change. (And, fingers crossed, follow the fortunes of Max the hedgehog if his current absence is temporary and due to him being busy finding a mate, and not to him having come to any harm).
Action on the climate and ecological emergencies is still possible; our future is, to a great extent, still in our hands. Time to act!
Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action and EuCAN volunteers joined forces and spent a great day on East Hill beginning to open up grassland habitat for the uncommon butterflies and plants which live there, with the agreement of the landowner. We hope the wildlife and walkers alike will enjoy the benefits.
The Solar Streets scheme is coming to Milborne Port! Details of the scheme and how to register for the launch presentation on the 15th of April 2021, are here:
Humble invertebrates play a vital role in sustaining the web of life, and the fate of humans and insects are intertwined at numerous levels. Human survival is impossible without healthy, insect populations.
The Wildlife Trust have provided a guide to taking action for insects. You can download and share the guide via the link below: