1st January 2022 and at 14ºC in North West England it’s been unseasonably mild – more like Easter Sunday than New Year’s Day. I won’t deny that this made our trip to the allotment to repatriate the Christmas tree all the more pleasant. However, I don’t need to be a climate scientist to appreciate that over the course of my 45 year lifetime the UK climate has palpably changed. The long, cold winters of my childhood are a distant memory and anomalous weather such as this is becoming ever more ‘normal’. If all that meant was a few more Spring-like days to bring relief from the bleak mid-winter I’m sure none of us would complain. We have known for some time though that the effects of global warming will become ever more profound and damaging.Continue reading
One of my (not very subtly requested) presents for Christmas 2019 was ‘The Garden Jungle or Gardening to Save the Planet‘ by Dave Goulson which has now become the first book I have read in 2020. The author is a Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex but don’t let that put you off: this is certainly not a dry scientific treatise. It is instead a heartfelt plea for us all to engage with and appreciate the fascinating eco-system existing right under our noses in our own gardens. Yes, we all love an Attenborough documentary showing us the wonders of the natural world in often remote and exotic locations, but what about the fauna outside the back door?Continue reading
London is a city in which I have spent plenty of time over the course of my life, but it’s been a couple of years since my last visit. This recent sojourn was prompted by the birthday of one of my oldest and dearest friends, providing a rare opportunity for a day out unencumbered by parenting responsibilities. There are few things I love more than walking around a city – navigating your way through its streets you really get to experience the details and fabric of its life. So, before I joined up for an afternoon of craft beers, I took the chance to have a meander. The area around Kings Cross, which I remember being fairly grotty in the past, has been undergoing major redevelopment. It is now awash with smart new office and apartment buildings, surrounding public squares with trickling fountains, interspersed with designer shops and high-end restaurants. However, the place that I wanted to seek out was the antithesis of these symbols of modern living.
Although I have always enjoyed watching the wildlife that visits our small urban garden, my efforts in terms of deliberately choosing to include particular features for its benefit has, to date, been fairly erratic. Having followed Kate Bradbury on social media for a while, I was keen to get hold of her new book, Wildlife Gardening for everyone and everything. This a short review for the interest of those who would like to find out more about gardening for wildlife. Continue reading
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling utterly demoralised by the frequent news stories on the continued degradation of the natural world. From the shocking levels of plastic pollution in our seas to the now obvious signs of climate change, and industrial scale destruction of habitats, it’s hard to avoid feeling hopeless about the planet’s current and future state. While it is clear that addressing these issues will require major policy changes on the part of governments and a shift in culture from big business I do believe that individuals can also make a difference by becoming more engaged and changing their own habits.