What in the world is going on?

Sometimes more than we can ever imagine, says Mike Stentiford of the Jersey National Park

FOR anyone still choosing to shrug a disinterested shoulder at the temperamental power of our global climate, then the summer of 2021 should instil a serious measure of wake-up reality.

The havoc caused to lives and livelihoods in parts of Northern Europe, America and Canada should, say scientists, act as a worrying vision of the guaranteed climatic unpleasantries lurking ahead.

While Belgium and the Netherlands received more than an unfair share of rainfall, it was Germany that took the brunt of devastatingly mobile flash floods.

It is difficult to comprehend 12 weeks of rain falling in just 48 hours, yet this is precisely what was recorded in parts of Germany.

The irony of this natural calamity is that forecasters issued early-warning alerts beforehand.

As the finger jabbing gets under way, governments around the world are once again being told to press down hard on the green accelerator pedal and get serious if CO2 emissions, the prime cause of such calamities, are to be cut.

A shameful scientific postscript to this is that the UK is now considered less prepared for extreme weather conditions than it was five years ago.

WHILE flash floods did their damnedest in parts of Europe, unprecedented heatwaves in America have meant that, for many, ‘keeping a cool head’ has been rendered impossible.

The month of June, according to meteorological statistics, saw the highest temperatures ever experienced in the United States since record-keeping began 127 years ago.

Despite increasingly clear signs of future extreme weather patterns, the jury is still out as to when, exactly, those still ‘sitting on the fence’ will become actively engaged.

BY way of counteracting all of these doomsday prophesies, a welcome smidgen of eco brightness has emerged courtesy of the hyper-optimistic City of Edinburgh Council.

Taking the colour green very much to heart, planners have recently approved the creation of Scotland’s largest net-zero housing development.

As part of an ambitious £1.3bn regeneration plan, 3,500 new homes are to be built over the next decade.

Of eco-green significance is that every home will be built with improved insulation, low-carbon heating plus all things renewable and sustainable.

Whether Glasgow’s imminent COP26 eco-conference, scheduled for November, is raising the environmentally tartan bar to a higher level is neither here nor there. The prime reality is that there is obviously a visionary willingness for Edinburgh to achieve zero carbon by 2030; surely something that’s to be widely applauded.

ONE of the uncomfortable side effects arising from the albeit worthy ‘rush’ of global tree planting, is the often necessary use of plastic tree guards.

As a protective shield against nature’s ‘sapling nibblers’, these guards are obviously vital during the fledgling years of forest regeneration.

The downside, of course, is that plastics are part ingredients in the making of the vast majority of them, a fact that rather diminishes the environmental benefits of tree planting.

Understanding this somewhat contradictory issue is the UK’s Woodland Trust, a charity that obviously knows more than a thing or 20 about forest management. Apparently, their men in green suits are currently looking into the whys and wherefores of manufacturing tree guards using recycled cardboard, wool and plant starch.

With their pledge to plant ten million trees a year by 2025, using alternative plastic-free tree guards should certainly go some way in ‘extra-greening’ their woodland efforts.

THERE must be scores of ongoing opportunities for the arts to offer a loud and valid voice on behalf of climate change although one particular theatre group is evidently taking its green responsibilities mega-seriously.

It’s an all-female troupe, ingeniously known as HandleBards, who travel around the UK on bicycles performing Shakespeare. While most of the lightweight props are carried on the backs of the ladies in question, the stage itself follows in an electric van, the only vehicle allowed to be part of the ensemble.

While it’s an ambitious initiative that clearly illustrates how travelling shows can help cut emissions, there could be an element of sympathy for the young saddle-sore cycling thespians.

AND finally..

After a disappointing result for England in the Euros, a rather nice sweetener has cut through the acidic aftermath via the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate in Somerset.

It is here that a handful of released beavers have been transforming some six acres of unmanaged pasture into a more bio-diversified wetland.

Proof of their success has been officially documented by the birth of the first wild-bred Exmoor beaver kit for 400 years.

Following a ‘name that kit’ competition, ‘baby beaver’ is now beavering away under the handle of ‘Rashford’.

It has also been acknowledged that, in true football fashion, the winning title gained the highest score.

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