While Oz is shamed and roads lead to nowhere, teens get uptight over climate change

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Mike Stentiford, of the Jersey National Park, presents a series of eco snippets from around the astonishing world in which we live.

WITH increasing evidence of global trauma surrounding flood, fire, drought and famine, it could be construed that us humans are getting a timely comeuppance from the natural environment.

Furthermore, if the mind is allowed to go free-range, then one might even go as far as to say that, following centuries of human abuse to the natural world, it is now time, perhaps, for us to question why the environment is getting so angry.

If this has an air of whimsy about it, then the boldest of media headlines from around the globe provide us with the starkest of confirmation.

In a serious attempt to keep green tabs on its various ecological responsibilities, Australia carries out a comprehensive survey every five years.

The latest 2,000-page State of the Environment Report, commissioned by the government, pulls no punches when it comes to outright criticism.

To Oz’s great embarrassment, the report claims that Australia’s natural environment is ‘in a shocking state’ and in peril of ‘further decline from amplifying threats’.

The report states that 19 of its ecosystems are on the brink of collapse and that Australia’s native plants have now been fast-tracked by a surge of incoming non-native plant species.

Furthermore, the country has forfeited more bio-species to extinction than any other continent.

While climate change figures grossly in the report, blame also draws attention to the increasing loss and degradation of natural habitats to invasive species and to pollution and mining.

Each of these threats, the report claims, are receiving nothing like the management levels they deserve and are therefore on track to cause even further ecological issues.

Australia’s recent droughts and bushfires, plus six mass bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef, bring into sharp focus the massive environmental challenges that lie ahead.

ADDING more to the woes of the world comes yet another depressing reality check, this time from the pages of the annual Climate and Weather Report.

The findings from the UK’s Met Office claim that the high temperatures Britain is currently experiencing need to be accepted as the ‘new norm’.

Additional facts clearly reveal the noticeable changes to the seasons and that biodiversity is not necessarily adapting quickly enough.

Putting yet another dampener on the subject are statistics showing that sea levels are rising much faster than a century ago.

This was highlighted following the damaging effects of last November’s Storm Arwen when, along with other meteorological upsets, a number of UK roads to somewhere suddenly ended up as roads to nowhere.

I’m hazarding a guess that with sea levels now rising 3.5mm each year – that’s more than double the rate of increase a century ago – there is a tsunami of unwanted headaches in store for the 500,000 or so owners of seaside homesteads.

FOR centuries, one natural necessity that polar bears always rely on is autumn’s promised formation of sea ice, a natural occurrence that creates an essential platform for hunting seals and walrus.

As increasingly warming temperatures lead to a major reduction in frozen landmass, bears are now heading inland and coming into direct conflict with human communities.

Landfills are apparently proving gastronomically supportive as a Plan B to the animals’ diet although, in desperation for food, all manner of disgusting non-edibles are filling empty stomachs.

Attempting to gain any nutritional value from dirty nappies or food-encrusted ceramic containers clearly emphasises the dreadfulness of the situation.

It’s all a far cry from the days when polar bears enjoyed the freedom of a massive ice-bound landscape where any thoughts of a rapidly changing environment would have been well beyond comprehension.

AND finally…

To end on a far more positive note comes news that an impressively large group of teenage campaigners are demanding that the subject of climate change be integrated into all subjects.

At present, climate change is only included in GCSE geography and science but, because so many lives are being directly affected by such changes, the young campaigners want it brought into all subjects.

In her demands for significant changes to the current curriculum, 18-year-old campaigner Scarlett Westbrook has submitted to Parliament the first student-written bill asking for changes to the Education Act.

As this highly focused young student points out: ‘Climate change isn’t just about natural history. It’s about people, it’s about the economy, politics, history and the arts.’

The message from the students at St Hilda’s School in Liverpool is simple and stark – Teach the Future.

‘There’s not enough information and we don’t get told enough. We’re going in blind’ say
the students.

Wise words indeed from the mouths of such conscientiously concerned young people.

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