Tuesday, December 15, 2015

These problems are real

Hello again! Sorry it has been a while - I have been strategically thinking about blog posts and what to talk about next in amongst a mountain of University work!

Anyway, I have decided to make this post about how nature, wildlife and biodiversity are all very much present in our everyday lives - we just sometimes fail to see that. 

My problem with everything related to trying to teach people about everything to do with saving the planet - rainforest destruction, rising sea levels, climate change - is it is often made to seem so separate from our lives. And it makes it seem like a distant problem that we don't need to worry about.

Let's take deforestation, for example. So they cut an entire forest down somewhere in South America, for example. It destroys the homes of a lot of animals living in that rainforest. But some of those animals are endangered and in need of these habitats in order to keep the species alive. It isn't just a case of losing one - its a matter of contributing to the loss of an entire species. The forests enhance the livelihoods of a lot of people living near them. If they are cut down, those people have nothing and are left empty. Finally, cutting down tree's releases the carbon dioxide they store into the atmosphere, which isn't good for us. We need tree's to absorb carbon dioxide and keep the planet alive. Ultimately, cutting down trees anywhere in the world has a negative impact on humanity and the planet. And deforestation is still a thing right here in the UK.

Still not convinced?

Let's take rising sea levels. The world is getting hotter and the icebergs are melting in the coldest regions. And this causes a lack of habitat for animals living in these regions, and makes the sea levels rise. Other than again contributing to the loss of a species, we are causing the sea to become much higher and erode coastlines faster all over the world. Including in the UK. The shorelines will start to disappear. It is a force that cannot be reckoned with.

Need more? 

Take climate change in general. The melting ice caps come from a hotter planet, and carbon dioxide being released from the trees is being poured into our atmosphere, along with other greenhouse gases from coal and oil burning. Climate change is also to blame for extreme weather conditions and differing temperatures in differing seasons. Ultimately, this is all going to lead to more problems for biodiversity and the world as a whole. 

The Paris conference that has only just finished aimed to find an international solution - keeping climate change below 2 degrees celsius. It has been said that climate change above 2 degrees will have serious consequences - so, countries are taking steps and working together to help reduce this. The action plans include things such as getting all countries mobilised in the fight against climate change, encouraging greener economies and creating country specific adaptations to tackle the problems already imminent. 

I liked this video. It really illustrates all the problems I have mentioned with some statistics that make it all seem a bit more real:


I guess what I am trying to say is that these problems really do affect the entire planet, including you and I.

It might not have an instant effect in your life time while you are reading this, but it most definitely will for future generations. And that is what matters to me. I want to be able to tell future generations about an animal that lives deep in the rainforests of South America. Not that there used to be deep rainforests where animals once lived. I want it to be a reality, not a fairy tale. 

I think what is important to realise is that what goes on all over the world does have an impact on the entire planet and not just where it is happening. We all need to wake up and realise it before it is too late. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Introducing the blog

I ought to start this blog by introducing myself. My name is Katie, and I have always had an interest in the natural world. As a child, my dad always took my younger brother and I to places where we could experience all aspects of the environment up close and introduced us to all sorts of species of mammals, birds, sea life, insects and plants. We even went on holidays to other countries that largely revolved around an appreciation for planet earth and all it encompasses. We still do this, and just last year I embarked on a four week expedition to Tanzania which included safari and scuba diving. 

I will never forget riding a high powered speed boat next to Dolphins in Cornwall, the first time I saw the flash of bright blue that was a Kingfisher at my local nature reserve, my close encounter of the 'Big 5' on safari in Tanzania, or seeing Turtles in Dalyan, Turkey. This is to name but a few of the incredible, natural experiences I have had in my lifetime. And I am forever grateful to have been able to experience these things.

As an extra curricular course at University, I decided to study a Level 1 qualification in sustainability. The course looks at all aspects of sustainable living, however my key interest was about biodiversity and the natural world. Yet, while I knew biodiversity loss was a problem, I truly had my eyes opened in one particular class. I had no idea how fast the natural world was diminishing. At the end of the lecture, the entire class was asked one simple question. And it was this question that provoked me to start this blog:

Why has the societal response to biodiversity loss been so poor? 

Fair point? Why are we all so blind as to what is going on worldwide concerning the natural world? I am just as guilty of this - yes I appreciate and love the natural world, but I had no idea it was disappearing so fast. 

My answer to this question was that there just isn't enough awareness out there to inform us about the diminishing natural world. I spoke about my interests in the natural world, but highlighted the fact that I just didn't know it was in such immediate danger. The fact was, nobody had a clue. And that is worrying. 

Personally, I feel that an appreciation for the natural world is one thing. But an awareness of it is another. I care massively about the natural world and wouldn't want to see it diminish - but I just don't think there is enough information out there to inform people about why they should care. Ok, so we are told things are happening - forests are being destroyed and animals are being made homeless - but what do we have to do with it? There is no link between our own lives and the natural world. And there lie the problem. Seeing the natural world as separate, with no direct or immediate link to our own lives, is desperately concerning. It means that people just don't care or see any biodiversity issues as a direct problem. 

So, this is why I want to start this blog. I want to learn a bit myself and become more informed, but I also aim to make other people aware that what is happening should concern them. The natural world isn't this separate entity that is just for nature lovers and the like. It is synonymous with our everyday lives and should be given consideration by all of us. 

But, I don't want to fall into the trap of making such ideas inaccessible either. I want to use this blog to address little things, from my own experiences and from things I learn as I go, that highlight why we should care about the world around us. I honestly think that if enough people start to care, change can happen. It's small steps, such as changing someones attitude, that will eventually lead to a better world.