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Latest Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change report must herald new era of action, says Erin McDaid of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust



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When taking in news as negative as that about the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the world’s leading climate science authority, it can be difficult to focus on slivers of positivity, writes Erin McDaid of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

However, even the fact that the report received so much coverage could be a positive sign.

Since the first of these reports was presented three decades ago governments have largely accepted action is needed to tackle climate impacts, but political expediency and survival has come before commitments to actions to secure the survival of people and planet.

Buff Tailed Bumblebee on Dandelion at Kimberley Cutting Nature Reserve NottsWT cpt Al Greer.jpg (50343801)
Buff Tailed Bumblebee on Dandelion at Kimberley Cutting Nature Reserve NottsWT cpt Al Greer.jpg (50343801)

This has to change.

The lack of collective action means the latest headlines are inevitably worse than those about the last such report in 2013 and surely must now trigger a response.

Gatekeeper Notts WT cpt Mike Hill.jpg (50343795)
Gatekeeper Notts WT cpt Mike Hill.jpg (50343795)

When news is so stark and scary, plotting a path of hope can be difficult; but the level of coverage combined with the tone of initial reactions from politicians suggest that the wind of change may at last be about to blow in.

In November, the UK will host the COP26 international climate conference and we must challenge our government to shift from talking the talk and urging other to act, to walking the walk.

Future targets are needed but have no impact unless backed with action plans and the political will to make change happen.

Flying Lapwing Notts WT cpt Mike Vickers.jpg (50343799)
Flying Lapwing Notts WT cpt Mike Vickers.jpg (50343799)

Some would argue that in the face of a global catastrophe our efforts as individuals are too small to matter and that even the collective efforts as a relatively small nation are too little too late ­— but what is the alternative? Give up and do nothing and continue to make matters worse?

Alongside the realisation that we have damaged our climate and need to reduce our carbon emissions, we now have a clear understanding of the impacts on natural systems and the wildlife we cherish.

Great White and Little Egret Notts WT cpt Mike Vickers.jpg (50343803)
Great White and Little Egret Notts WT cpt Mike Vickers.jpg (50343803)

We are facing both climate and ecological crises, but there is room for hope.

While our personal efforts to limit and reverse climate change may be too imperceptible to notice, direct action for nature can bring fast, visible results.

In addition to enhancing wildlife habitats in our care Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is working with farmers and other landowners to create, restore and connect habitat ­— providing opportunities for nature to move through the landscape as it adapts to climate change and cope with other pressures.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. (2682719)
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. (2682719)

When areas are given over to nature wildlife often moves in quickly.

On an individual level installing a bird feeder or nest box or a more considered investment such as creating a garden pond will provide welcome habitat for many species, comfort that you’re doing your bit, and reward you with welcome sights and sounds of wildlife.

Prior to the pandemic it finally appeared that enough individuals were determined to demand our political leaders take action on climate change ­— so let us hope this report can focus minds on the long-term challenge we all face.

There is still hope and taking action is the right thing to do, but we can no longer present a rose-tinted picture of the parlous state of our local patch or the planet.

More of us need to take action and we need to start today.

More details of how to take action for nature can be found at nottinghamshirewildlife.org/Actions.



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